David was cremated November 27 at 2 p.m.; exactly a week after he died. Jews, particularly those who are religious or traditionalists are buried within 24 hours of death, not cremated. We all know David was neither religious or traditional. The one time David attended services at Kehilla occurred during the first High Holy days we were courting. He did this, I learned from others, to make an impression on me. After that first Rosh Hashana, David, Jessica and I went out for lunch at the former Scharfenbergers (sp?) where Jessica and I jumped on him after David ordered a pork sandwich. David would call himself a “cultural anthropologist,” who attended Yom Kippur services only as he’d put it, to observe the rituals. Despite being tired, hungry and irritable David insisted in the true spirit of scientific inquiry that we stay until the bitter end – something I never do. I’m not especially observant myself, I’m the kind of Jew who goes to services to find solace; to reach a place of spiritual peace inside myself that has in the past allowed me to commune with Stew. I hate to tell you this, David, but from now on you and all your glorious atheism will also have no choice but to attend synagogue with me.
Long before he got ill, David and I would discuss how to dispose of his remains when the time came. We’d joke that we would stuff his body in the green bin where the community puts our compost. To scatter David’s ashes on top of Stew’s grave in Jones Pioneer Cemetary in Portland did not feel like a compelling option. Now David will be with Donna, and what’s left of me will some day lie next to Stew; each of us together in death with our long term partners as we were in life. David and I used to say that, had we met forty years ago we might not have liked each other much, but that we were the best people to be with each other at this time in our lives. Now, that too is gone. Rabbi Joey from Portland called to say it was a gift for me to have had the love of two such amazing men. In the midst of my pain, I cannot question: Joey is right.
I will bury David’s ashes next to Donna’s on the Inverness Ridge at the home of friends. It will be a private ceremony attended only by a David’s closest friends and relatives. A more public memorial is planned for the spring. I’ll keep you posted.