Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Roger's Burial

On August 22, 2009, I will finally bury my husband.
On the one year anniversary of the car accident.
Yes, almost a year later.
Twelve months.
Three hundred sixty-five days.

It took me a long time to figure out what exactly to do with his ashes.
He has been resting upstairs on his meditation table since September.
But what to do after that?

I never wanted him to be in a casket.
I hated the thought of it.
Not to mention the un-ecofriendliness of it and the cost.  
And then the photos last year of the floating caskets in Texas. Oh the horror. 
Roger and I had talked about it.
So I knew it was the right decision.  
But we had never really talked about what to do after he was cremated.  
[By the way, spread me into the ocean.  Atlantic preferably. DO NOT PUT ME IN A CASKET!]

I debated evenly distributing him here at home near his banana trees, a little in Miami, a little in the ocean, and a little somewhere else.
Some people did not like that idea.  They wanted him all in one place.  
Okay. That's fine.
But then where?
Naples? Where he spent a lot of time as a kid with his family on vacation.
The Keys? Where he spent a lot of time fishing as a kid with his dad.
Atlantic Ocean?
Gulf of Mexico?
There were lots of choices.
But nothing sounded perfect.
Nothing tickled my fancy.  
And although I would not mind keeping him at home forever with me in a selfish way, some people did not like that idea either. Again, that's fine.
So I kept racking my brain.  
Where o where should my husband lay?

In December, while visiting my good friend Jennifer she gave me an idea.
She told me how one of her aunt's ashes was buried on top of her other aunt's casket.  
The perfect place instantly came to mind.
With Roger's dad.  
He would love to be with his dad.

Roger loved his dad.
They were so close.
Roger dreamed of him often.
Even the week of the accident and last June.  
Ironically they both died in car accidents.  
Six and a half years apart.

I spoke to Grace, Roger's sister.
She thought it was an excellent idea.  
We told his mom.  She liked it.

Now, two months from now, his family, friends, and I will be burying him.
And in order to avoid making a "new" anniversary, I wanted to choose a day that already a meaning.
Thus the day of the accident.
It was my wonderful counselor's idea since I have such trouble with that week each month already.
So a year from the last day I talked to him.
The last day he told me he loved me.  
The last day he was conscious.  

I know I will cry.
I know I will cry a lot.
But I am also hoping to celebrate his life.
Celebrate who he was.
Not his death.

I want to hear stories about him.  Familiar and new.
I want to hear the laughter of our friends and family.  
I want to see the smiles as people remember him.  
I want to remember him.
I want everyone to remember him.  
The person he was.



Suddenwidow said...

Thanks for sharing, Star. Good luck with the day. We are spreading my husband's ashes in the Pacific Ocean on July 5th so I know what you're dealing with. I'm struggling with how to organize the "ceremony/send off" to honour Austin, bring laughter and celebrate his life. If you have any ideas, let me know!

Jyl's Life said...

I've never posted before, but have been reading your blog for a while (via Pioneer Woman).

Just wanted to say I think you've made the right decision. I have tears in my eyes thinking how hard the day will be for you, but it's the right thing to do.

Crash Course Widow said...

You never know, Star--you might not cry at it. I didn't cry at Charley's "burial" at all. (Granted, it was only 6 days after he died, but still...I was happy, somehow. Like I was bringing him home somehow, that he'd be close, and I could visit him anytime. For some reason I had this odd vision of tucking him in for a long nap. (Don't ask; I was loopy at that point from shock and almost no sleep since he died.)) You may find that it's a happier occasion than many might think. That said, it might be awful, painful, and consume boxes full of Kleenex; you just never know.

But it's a great idea where to bury him. Inspired, my dear.

I offer one small snippet to consider: think about whether you want to keep a small portion of your ashes for yourself (or if his mom or sister might want some). I simply interred all of Charley's ashes in his niche, because it never occurred to me not to. (Keep in mind that whole 6-days-post-death part, though, too.) And there have been so many times that I wish I still had some. So if there's any small part of you that, as you said, wants to keep him home with you, it's your right and prerogative. Nobody has to agree (or even know)...but once they're buried and gone, it's rather hard to get them back (impossible, if you're burying him without an urn).

And good choice of dates, too. It's always helped me to choose loaded dates for things too. Maybe don't be too surprised if you end up being a bit overwhelmed by the end of the week's "festivities" or get sick or bored of them before you actually hit the anniversary. Since it was a long, painful week after Charley died until all the funeral festivities ended, I figured I'd need to do something throughout that whole week of the first death anniversary to make it through. So I naively planned about 5-6 different things...for Tuesday night (the night he died), for the actual death anniv. the next day, for something at his usual weekly race on Thursday, and then a BBQ with my closest, most wonderful and supportive friends on Saturday or Sunday. And I was. Burnt. Out. by the end of it. Sick of the whole damned thing. Having to face the death anniversary once was bad enough...but to have to commemorate it repeatedly? I wanted to run away screaming. Turns out I only needed one, maybe two things to "mark" the date. Stretching it out over a week or more just made it worse somehow...only I had no way of knowing that in advance.

I remember the dread of that first death anniversary all too well, and the awful weight of the month or two leading up to it. I hated it. Hang in there (and sorry for hijacking your comments for so long =)).