I sit at the table having lunch. I’m looking at 5 little urns that line my fire place mantel. They need to be dusted.
We gather around the table. The kids have a friend for dinner.
Axel: ”Can H hold Tuesday’s urn?”
Um, why not. Kids love to hold things, right?
Me: “Here you go. Be careful.”
He holds it with this confused smile on his face.
I fake some sort of normal reaction and say nothing.
Me: ”You bet.”
I wipe my sweaty hand on my apron and reach for my wine.
No one mentions that the little jar he’s holding hold’s 1/5th, (minus the 1/2 that’s under a weeping cherry tree in North Carolina,) of their buddy’s sister’s remains. I don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean. Does he wonder why the hell he’s holding this jar? If he knew would it freak him out. Would he run screaming from the house? Would he not want to stay the night if he knew she died here? Could he ever begin to understand that it was a beautiful, sacred moment? Not the scary thing it sounds like.
I dust those 5 little urns, because 5 urns made sense when we had 16 hours to plan for “arrangements.” I’m sure we should have given it some forethought, but well, you know.
Now I’m thinking about painting a wall, because I’m always thinking about painting or re-painting some wall to make this space in which we live feel different. Better? Should I take the urns in to consideration? They look nice there now. We can’t have the new wall clashing with the urns. Will I always have these 5 little urns on my mantle? Isn’t that where you’re supposed to keep your urn? I read of a family who put their beloved’s ashes on top of the tv, but we’ve got a flat screen and that just seems f’d up anyway. It makes so much more sense to have them on the mantle, where you see them in movies about people with dead people in their family.
If you don’t have a mantle, than you are forced to have the same conversation we had while living in the RV. Where do you hang the stockings? You wind up taping them to something that makes some sort of sense to you, and that must be the reason the urn winds up on the tv.
I think I imaged that the kids would move out someday and want to take their sister’s ashes in the little urn they picked out when they were 2.5 and 5 and 7, to what, college? Their first apartment?
“Yeah, I picked up the couch on Craig’s list and it’s my parent’s old t.v. and that little, tiny urn on the milk crate next to my docking station, oh yeah, that’s my sister’s urn. I painted the wall to match.”
So here I sit, at the table having lunch, looking at those little urns. I guess instead I could be sitting here thinking about the faded, fake flowers that someone left at her grave that I need to go dust off.
*If you have a judgmental comment you’d like to leave, please feel free to stick it up your ass.