Picking up David’s ashes from the funeral home today felt fine. Liberating in fact. I arrived back home with a tremendous sense of relief. At last, I had a David I could talk to.
The black box filled with David’s ashes looks a lot like a speaker from a 1980s stereo system; appropriate for a man who spent the first 20 years of his career in the sound business. Just as I keep a lock of Stew’s blond curls in an engraved glass box from Mexico, I will hang onto David’s box of ashes until I feel it’s time to transfer some to one of the multitude of baskets I now possess in which Donna kept scraps of fabric with which she made her art. The rest of David will be buried next to Donna up in Inverness at the mountain home of friends. Even with the advent of green coffins, cremation is clearly the most ecological way to go.
I chose to wait two weeks and make only one trip to the funeral home. Delaying may not have been the best decision; at first my sadness returned. I wondered if observant Jews do it better: stick ’em in the ground within 24 or at most 48 hours & after that start shiva. Then I walked outside to go & get what was left of David. When I told Raines, my neighbor across the path, what I was about to do, he said, “Want some support? I’ll drive.”That’s not a bad idea,” I replied, tearing up. Next Raines’ wife Betsy presented me with a small plush eagle. “The eagle has landed,” she said, reminding me of David’s words after he came downstairs to his hospital bed for the last time. Living in community, as we say in cohousing, can really help.
My honey now is home. The toy eagle and black box with David’s ashes reside in my living room at the top of one of David’s two CD cabinets. There they will remain to give me peace.