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.