Usually. But he wasn't satisfied with yesterday's post. Partly, because we grieve quite differently and it's hard for him to remember those things, let alone understand why on earth I would feel compelled to write about it. (as if he somehow thinks I can just self-lobotomize and not remember things? like I said; we grieve differently.)
But in yesterday's post, it was not just that.
I didn't tell the end of the story. The real end.
"But that part's not funny at all," I said.
He answered, "But it is ironic."
That, it is.
So, for those of you that skim, the joke was true. Not the actual event. No flour scoop.
The truth of the ashes is that we never actually could go to the funeral home and get them.
I was seeing a therapist friend of mine for grief counseling at the time, after trying to get by without one for the first four months following Elijah's death, clearly wasn't really working. I was in a
Laura knew that I was not going to go pick up those ashes. She knew also that dh said he would, wanted to, intended to...but really couldn't. She said it was too much to bear. She would deal with it. She was friends with the director of the funeral home. She begged him to release Elijah's ashes to her, where she would keep them safely for us until we were ready to bring them home or scatter them. He was reluctant (something to do with the law?), but with our signatures and his own compassion, he finally relented.
At my next appointment, she told me very gently that she had picked up Elijah's ashes, and would I like to hear about it?
Umm...yes? I think so?
She told me that she had been rather surprised to receive just a plain plastic box, so she had placed him (she said 'him') in her home office on a shelf next to her old baby shoes and draped a small handkerchief over the box, and had allowed her ten year old son (I had been his teacher, and he was completely informed) to put some dried lavender and a few special crystals on the top ('because he knew Teacher Gwendomama would really like that').
I did. I did like that.
The next week, I brought Laura a light blue playsilk; one that matched Elijah's eyes, the best I could remember. I asked her to put this around the box too. And thanked her for taking care of...him. She hugged me.
It was only about two months after this, that on a sunny Friday morning, Laura wasn't feeling well. She had abdominal pain, and then she died. She was 45 years old, and suddenly, she was dead from an AAA.
Which totally sucked for a lot of people, most of all her son.
It was her office-mate, another therapist, who had called us with the horrifying news.
And it was this person who I called when I suddenly realized, a few days later, that...the ASHES! Were at...Laura's house! And Laura? Was dead. And I imagined her family needed to find a box mysterious box of ashes in her house almost as much as they needed a flaming meteor in their lives. So, the office-mate therapist had to arrange with Laura's neighbor to go in and...well...retrieve the cremains.
See? Not funny at all.
But you know, there was one more detail that remained.
I had to then, finally, be the one to pick up the ashes. But I figured, how bad could it be? I was sure the therapist would just make it go as smoothly as possible. Since she was, after all, a therapist. Right?
We arranged to meet at the office. I had to have Supergirl with me when I went for the pick-up.
I introduced Supergirl, saying, "This is Supergirl, she is three. And thank you so much for handling this," I said rather cryptically and pointedly at the same time, as I reached for the paper bag in her hand. I made eye contact with the woman and glanced exaggeratedly at Supergirl, the bag, and back.
Apparently I am not as good at those silent pleading eye-messages as I thought I was.
She handed me the bag as she said, not quietly, "Here are Elijah's ashes."
Yes, Supergirl heard.
I think I said something like, "HEY! WHO WANTS ICE CREAM?"