As you all know, I have been upset over the fact that my father's ashes have still not been spread. I am not sure why, since I know the ashes ( or rather, bone dust and fragments, there are no "ashes" to speak of ) are just what is left, and what truly made him HIM has returned to the Universe.
Still...it bothers me....
When my Mom asked me if I wanted to keep some of the ashes, my answer was of course yes. That was weeks ago. I have been keeping an eye out for a container to put him in, but could never find anything suitable. I wanted something with either a cork or a screw on lid, so if for some reason it ever fell, or was dropped, he would not spill. Nothing presented itself.
Last weekend, we were at the flea market, and once again I had one eye on everything, looking for something. I found a couple of containers but they were high priced ( especially at a flea market ) and as I was about to leave the man's booth, something silver caught my eye. I walked over to his "dollar" (read: junk ) table, and sitting there in the middle was a round, slightly flat, silver container, that, according to the label on it, at one time held BBQ Rub, packaged for Christmas, in it. I smiled right away, as my Dad LOVED to cook, and he was constantly creating rubs for the roasts and other meat he loved to cook. I looked at the lid, which was one that just pressed on top, but I almost needed a crowbar to get the lid off, as the container was old. It was perfectly clean inside, no smell or dust remained from the rub that was in it, so I called Jack over to get his opinion, since it was, after all, a spice container and I wanted to place my father inside of it lol.
He took it from me and looked at it, picked the edge of the label off to make sure we could remove it, and said that is was perfect. So I bought it and peeled the labels off and the matter was solved. We went to my Mom's house after we were done shopping, and showed Mom the container, and told her the story. She also agreed that it was very fitting. So later as we were wanting to leave, I took the container and help it out to her, and said in my best British Oliver Twist ( Please sir, may I have some more? ) voice: " Please Mum, may I have my portion of Fathah?" She cracked up lol.
So we went in to her office where Dad's box was, and she scooped me out two good sized scoop full's of the ashes and put them in the container. I wrestled the lid back on and checked it out, and checked it out to make sure it would not come loose or anything, and it was PERFECT. So we left and brought him home and I set him in the cubby hole of my desk over my head, about a foot away from the top of my head.
I feel SO freaking much better now. No, the rest of his ashes have not been spread, but it no longer vexes me. I have a tangible part of my father, and I always will. I know some people freak out over earthly remains, and maybe think I am talking to blase about it...but you would have had to have known my father and I. I get my love of knowledge and my desire to know as much about as many things as I can from him. Death, and what happens to our bodies AFTER death was one of those things, and it was something he and I talked about from time to time. I knew about being buried, but it was not until AFTER he died that I did any in depth research on Cremation. (WARNING, IF EASILY UPSET OR SQUEAMISH PROCEED WITH CAUTION! SKIP TO NEXT RED LINE OF TEXT! ) I mean, I knew that the body was burned, but I did not realize that what is left is not ash, as anything to burn is burned away in the fire. The tissue and such..well..melts for lack of a better term. What is actually left is bones, and those are put into a big machine and ground up in to dust. I can see my Dad, if he decided to hang around at the time, looking over the guys shoulder as they put the bones in the grinder...as he would have been fascinated to see the whole process. As soon as Dad got home from the crematorium, I burst into my Mother's house and asked where he was. I got the box and opened it, and took out the black and surprisingly heavy box he was actually in, and opened it. Inside the big plastic bag, there he was. Mostly dust, like cornmeal almost, coarse and sightly grainy...with little bone chunks in there. My Mother eyed me warily as I poked at the bag ( through the plastic, don't worry, I did not dig through it with my hands like an archaeological dig or anything lol. ) I know Dad would not have minded, and if it had been anyone else in that box, he would have been standing right beside me, checking it out.
(GROSS PART OVER!)
So anyway, he is home with me now, and it has soothed my soul somehow since he has been here. Yesterday, I had to help my Mom out by following her to town to take her Jeep in to get the a/c fixed, and brought her home, then took her back when the Jeep was ready. As we were loading up to head back to town, she got in the truck and put something in my hand, which she says was from Dad. I do not really want to say what it was, but it was something that was needed, and it solved a huge problem I was having, and it made me cry. It made me feel that Dad was still here, still looking out for me, even though he could not physically be here anymore. In that simple gesture, and the time that it was given to me, let me know that he loved me, and we would be okay.
So Daddy came home ( Every time I say that I think of the song "Sunny came home" by Shawn Colvin lol ) and the next page has been turned. The final chapter is yet to be finished, which is the scattering of the rest of the ashes, but now I am no longer trying to speed read to the end of the book, so to speak. It will be finished when it is finished, and I will always have a page of that book here with me, sitting in a spice container on my desk. Thanks for pointing that container out Dad, good one. ( He always did have a weird sense of humor! )
The pic below, the containers looks just like the one Dad is in, with a solid metal lid covering the thing. I COULD just take a pic of the actual container, but somehow THAT seems wrong. Yes, I just totally wrote about poking at my Dad's bone dust with no problem, yet taking a pic of the container with him in it gives me pause. What can I say, I am weird too *winks*
What a great post!
I am so glad that you found such an awesome "house" for your dad.
It's funny how something so seemingly simple, brings so much peace and comfort.
Everyone grieves in different ways and if having your dad next to you on your desk hutch helps you, then that's fantastic. I'm so glad that you were able to recognize what it was you needed to feel that sense of peace and follow your intuition to make it happen.
You are not "weird" for being curious about your dad's "ashes". For those of us who interact with spirits and are not afraid of death, remains can be very fascinating.
When my mom died I used a tablespoon and sifted through her remains to look at them up close and personal.
She was cremated with her glasses on, some flowers clasped in her hands, and a spiritual ring on her left ring finger I had given her to help with the transition.
I guess some part of me wondered, as silly as it sounds, if I would see a flower petal, part of the ring, or the stem of her glasses in there while I was sifting around.
When I was done I closed the box and it was three years before I got to spread her ashes. It was a beautiful ceremony with my sister and my mother's two best friends.
There was white sage burning in my mini-cauldron, a braid of sweet grass, some nag champa, and some wild flowers.
After we each said the words we felt needed to be said, my sister and I knelt on the dock and together, held the bag and spread her ashes into the lake.
I did not feel any sense of peace or comfort from spreading her ashes but I know my sister did and that is what's important.
My peace and comfort didn't come until years later and it is still coming slowly.
Her death shattered me and I wish I had thought of a way to bring to me the comfort that you are now experiencing.
I love you and I am so proud of you. Your dad is too.
)O( The Crabby Witch
I'm glad you found peace with getting your fathers ashes and if it comforts you then keeping them close is what you should do.
I had to smile at your story about the container. When my mothers ashes were returned to me the undertaker brought around in what looked like an old fashioned sweet tub. My mum loved sweets so I thought it was very fitting and I could imagine her smiling down at the image. I scattered her ashes because that's what she wanted but I kept the container.
We all grieve differently, take your time and enjoy your memories, they will never leave you.
Dear Bella, what a wonderful post! So glad that the most suitable and intimately appropriate container came to you, and your dad came home. I have my father-in-law in an urn on our mantle, and the presence of his ancestral memory-field has been uplifting and protective. Thank you for sharing your latest adventures with your dad!
Beautiful post Bella! I'm a daddy's girl through and through, and we have much the same relationship. I think, no wait... I know, I would want to keep him close to me too. Even knowing that the important parts of him may be gone, it would be like a tangible tether anyway.
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