Bereavement

A locket, a box of ashes and a flu bug.

FOR LESLIE

How strange the things we do with our dead.  When Eoin died we had a five-day wake at the house, followed by the traditional funeral mass (in Irish), burial and reception.  It was such a fog, really, and mercifully so.  Leslie was cremated and the majority of her ashes were scattered at a place in Utah where Leslie enjoyed hiking and camping trips.  Very generously and sensitively, her husband put aside a portion of ashes for me and my mother posted the ashes, plus a small locket with a tiny urn inside that contains another smaller amount of her ashes.  I wore it all day today.  The box of her ashes rests in a drawer in the spare bedroom, for the time being.

It’s been a weird week.   I interviewed for a fundraising position a couple of weeks ago.  Late last week I was notified that I had the job.  I have a two-day training next week in Dublin, and if I’m lucky, enough fuel to make the commute.  Meanwhile, I also caught the flu last week and still feel a bit rough from that, and I have a box of my sister’s ashes in a drawer.

I feel anxious about the box of ashes — as if I need to do something about them, or as if by putting them inside the drawer in an unused room, I can avoid accepting that Leslie is gone, because if nothing else, those ashes are irrefutable proof that she died and I can’t call her on the phone anymore.  I really miss talking to her.  This drawer strategy isn’t working so well for me.  I thought, at first, I’d put her ashes aside for awhile until I came up with the perfect spot to scatter them. Then, I would come up with some meaningful time and ceremonious method for scattering her ashes, and some form of closure might ensue.  I may need to rethink that though.  Keeping her in the drawer doesn’t feel right.  Nothing feels right.  I miss her; and the box of ashes, no matter where I keep them whilst I inevitably procrastinate the scattering, just amplifies this feeling of longing and loss that has no simple cure.

Today I took the dogs to Ferrybank for a walk.  I was watching them play in the water and thinking about Leslie’s ashes and it suddenly struck me that I simply must make a decision and get on with the scattering.  Soon.  I haven’t decided exactly where yet, but somewhere close, somewhere I visit regularly enough so I’ll have a place to go when I need to feel close to her — somewhere I might have taken her to see if she were still alive.  I need to do it soon though.  She wouldn’t like being inside that drawer.  I don’t like it either.

 

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About tilliemom

My name is Heidi. I am an American born mother, grandmother, and long-distance friend to some amazing men and women I don't see often enough. I live in West Cork with my partner, four cats and two gloriously sloppy, spoiled dogs (including Tillie). My interests are feminism, politics, literature, photography and psychoanalysis (or a combination therein). Oh, and I work in a tiny grocery shop in a tiny village at the most southwesterly point in Ireland, where you can buy tea bags and butter before you dive in and swim towards America.

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