Writing is so much fun when I am inspired by an issue that is sitting like a big elephant in the room. I love to communicate about things that are really happening, so fiction is not as appealing as non-fiction for me, although my husband laughingly insists that it’s all fiction anyway. Friends have told me I should write a book about some strange events that have occurred recently in my life, which I am doing as part of a much longer project that will manifest later, but for now I just wanted to practice a little.
Because I am involved in business with internet marketing and an online store, I often Google words and phrases. I had not googled my own name for a long time, so this morning that is what I did, and the results were the inspiration for this article. The most difficult task was figuring out which category to use. If you saw the results, which are really not necessary to babble on about here, you would understand my dilemma. Suffice it to say they range, over two pages, from online stores to a church that I am no longer affiliated with, and would like to have the references off the result page at Google or any other search engine, to a news story about my mom donating her body to research. Aha, we have arrived at the little purple suitcase, and even better we are now talking about the main topic: closure and peace. I may have even picked the correct category, home and family, because it is true that a big part of my family, my mom, is finally home.
Last October, Mom and I met with a person here in town who offered ideally a very neat program. Mom was not a religious person and the idea of her body potentially being useful for research indicated as a great solution for her remains. After the research, she was to be cremated and returned to us. It all sounded so easy and with no monetary cost, she liked it even more.
On February 18, 2010, early in the morning, I guess Mom, who was 89 years old, decided it was not worth getting up to deal with her many physical issues. Sometime between 6:30 AM and 8:00 AM she left us. She was alone, and knowing her, that is the way she wanted it. Fortunately, I had spoken to her the night before on the phone, and I had lunch with her two days before as well.
The last four months have been very interesting to say the least. After Mom’s death, my sister came here from Oregon where we are all from originally. We had talked before about putting Mom’s ashes in her favorite little purple suitcase and taking a trip on the train from New Mexico to Oregon. My mom loved that trip on the train and always did it first class, so it seemed appropriate to take her back to Oregon to put her cremains with our Dad’s, her husband of sixty three years. So much for good intentions!
The business that did manage to pick my Mom up in a timely fashion after her death was apparently a bit overwhelmed with its duties, and possibly very underfunded, not to mention having issues with honest business practices. After six weeks of no ashes and no death certificate, and a lot of waiting, the news broke with some pretty far-fetched details concerning our Mom and several other people. It is not my purpose here to explain all those details, you too can Google them if you so desire. Here, I only need to say that Mom was not all in just one place and she did a lot more traveling than she probably thought possible after her death. Please keep in mind that she had a great sense of humor and is probably laughing wherever she is.
So what is my purpose? I have never put a lot of attention on bodies after death or even funerals, even though I definitely respect others who do. The thought of having a loved one’s remains disposed of properly was never on the top of my list. In fact, I may have judged others harshly a time or two in my mind because they put more significance on the subject than I did. Isn’t it amazing how we change? When it happens to us, we feel that connection with others and often see things a bit differently. After months of very bizarre pictures in my mind, and weird dreams, and listening to my brother’s and sister’s similar thoughts I actually now have a much better understanding of why people yearn for closure. In the future, I will see that need much clearer and do anything I can to contribute to others finding whatever situation provides that closure. When we walk a few steps in another’s shoes we learn a lot about respect, kindness and forgiveness. And, those three qualities definitely foster peace.
All of Mom was finally identified after 4 months and her remains were cremated last week. My dear husband, on his birthday no less, picked up her ashes and brought her home in her little purple suitcase. She, and I say she because I think she is probably hanging around too, is sitting by the front door waiting for her train trip to Oregon, which will most likely not happen until next spring. I even cleaned around it as I dusted and vacuumed. Not sure where I will keep the little purple suitcase until we take the train trip. Right now I just know it brings me peace right where it is.