10 April 2007

Remains

In a macabre dedication, Dorcasina, this one goes out to you.

A little while ago, GH and I talked about what he'd like done with his remains.* GH is not at all religious, and he expressed a desire to be cremated and then put in some kind of container that I could move around with me. (Dorcasina: beleive it or not, this conversation happened maybe a day before you made a comment on this subject. Eerie.) Basically, his wish boils down to being wherever I am. I am all in favor of this.

After some thought, GH decided that he wants to be put in two boxes: one for me and one for his parents. I'd rather have all of him, but I understand where he's coming from and I want to honor his wishes, so OK.

It's taken some discussion, but his parents have agreed to this plan. Today, GH's dad and I were talking about how we will each honor "our share." GH's parents plan to have a traditional funeral and burial, and GH's dad talked about what kind of ceremony they want, etc. Then he asked me, "What do you plan to do here in Boston?"

Um. Uh.

I told him that I don't know yet because I knew the real answer would flip him out. I'm sure we'll have some kind of memorial service, but I plan to keep GH at home. I suppose some people, even many people, might find that creepy, but not me. It's what GH wants, too. I know his parents will find that odd and perhaps even offensive somehow, but they will get over it.

Here comes the gallows humor . . . GH and I are both avid travelers. He's always been somewhat annoyed that I've been to more US states than he has. We both love to cross new states off our list. Today he told me that he'd like it if, when I travel to new states after he is gone, I bring him along for the ride.

Happy to oblige, my love, happy to oblige.

*Aside: remains is such a creepy, detached word. I'm not sure what would be better, but remains? Sounds like the leftovers from dinner. Yuck.

38 comments:

Melissa said...

I think a bit of morbidity between lovers is realistic and refreshing.

Rah, gallows humour, rah!

Take care, Snickollet. You're (constantly) in our thoughts over here. ~

Christine said...

I don't think that's creepy. He is your husband, and you want him with you. I'm glad you were able to talk about it and get a clear understanding of his wishes. You are continually in my thoughts.

And I agree: Remains is a yucky word. Maybe body instead?

erk said...

Frankly, "remains" is better than
"cremains."

bg's Little Sis said...

I agree, a yucky word....that you have your sense of humor about is so amazing given the circumstances, and once again speaks to the stregth of the relationship you and GH have...thinking of you all don't hesitate to let me know if I can help out at all!

Lots of love to each of you!

-Lil'sis

DoctorMama said...

What's wrong with "ashes"? I also get confused when people say someone "passed" -- I'm like, passed what? Gas? Ohhh ...

I went to the link, and I loved the "aside from your pancreatic cancer, how's your health?" question. I will use it as an example of dumb things not to say to patients. (I give a talk to students on delivering bad news, and it will fit right in.)

I'm so glad GH's parents are being flexible on this issue.

Lisa said...

Is it morbid of me if I think the idea of you travelling throughout the country/world with your kids and your husbands "remains" is kind of funny in a romanticly cute kind of way? I think it does show an example of how close and fun you two are together.

My mother wanted no funeral, and to be cremated and her ashes spread somewhere we would like to visit. My dad always liked the Maroon Belles in Colorado, so that is where they were spread. But it is actually illegal and we couldn't do it for about a year, because the place was snowed in and we waited till the next summer. Her ashes were just sitting in a box on a bookshelf for all that time. Then we went to Colorado and snuck around and spread them on the sly. It was fun in a weird sort of way.

So, whatever works for you guys!

Magpie said...

I love the idea of taking the ashes with you whenever you travel.

My uncle, years ago, was renovating a house. They pulled some wallboard down, and up over a doorway, tucked between the 2x4s, was an urn. Of ashes. They had no idea how long it had been there. Or whose they were. And I don't know what they did with them when they found them.

Dorcasina said...

I think you should write a book, "Travels with my husband." I would, if I hadn't foolishly agreed to the "interment" (it's above ground). And I HATE the ludicrous glossary of death.

You are inspiring me to call the "memorial park" and see if they would leave the inscription, let me have the lovely pewter box I chose, and bring him home. I already paid for a plot for two (they hated it that I called it a "doublewide," so when the time comes, we can both be put in...

I'm honored by the dedication/direction. Thinking of you constantly...

The McMommy said...

Came over from Doctor Mama.
You are amazing.
Thanks for sharing your life with the world.

Yankee T said...

Oh dear dear dear. Definitely I would use the word "ashes" over remains.
Sending my love, as always, to all 4 of you.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I are working our way through all the states, too. So taking GH along totally makes sense to me. Thinking of you.

kim said...

Everyone in this area is so transient nowadays... I'd want the exact same thing for me or DH. I think it's quite touching that he'll be so close to you.

Dorcasina said...

P.S. I think we should bring our husbands and kids and meet somewhere in the center of the U.S. for a camping trip. We can celebrate our families, and these fantastic men we love so much.

Suz said...

I agree with so many others - ashes, definately more than remains. And I love the idea of your driving around with GH by your side. Not creepy at all.

Snickollet said...

Dorcasina, what a wonderful idea about the camping trip in the middle of the US. I'm there.

yatima said...

Here from Doctormama. She's right, those are two of the cutest twins ever born.

I love the camping trip idea. And how about Puerto Vallarta?

Yankee T said...

Dorcasina and Snick, please send post cards!

Anonymous said...

We did this with my mom -- we got a small covered disk (actually, it was to bring Communion to sick people) and each of the 5 of us daughters got some of the ashes. I had it vacuum sealed and I carry it with me. It's what my mom wanted.

So I think it's a great idea. Maybe have some at your home and some 'to go!'

Flicka said...

I agree with Erk...when my BILs (both funeral directors) use the word "cremains" it creeps me out. Makes me think of cream of wheat cereal gone bad.

Thinking of you and GH...

Ruby said...

Doctor Mama sent me. Hubby and I have discussed this and have come to the same conclusion--he will hang out in a container of my choice, probably in the foyer, once he is ...er...smaller.

Pantheist Mom said...

I keep thinking of the movie Elizabethtown and Orlando Bloom driving across country having long conversations (laughs, cries, etc) with the ashes of his father.

I don't think it's creepy at all. I think it's strongly symbolic and a way for you to feel that closeness.

Thinking warm thoughts of you.

Jen

PS - I do hope you and Dorcasina drive across country to camp and meet and let the kids play and talk about their wonderful, marvelous fathers. What a way to keep them with you. :-)

susan said...

Thinking of you...and glad that you are finding the time to be together, sad as so many of these decisions are. Gallows humor is a great thing.

Denise said...

Stopping here by way of Doctor Mama...I'm another former PCV (Tunisia 91 - 94), also living in Mass. I think the idea of a trip hitting states he missed sounds like a great idea. It certainly sounds like you're going through a lot, and you will be in my thoughts.

Caminante said...

CAll things what they are for what they are. The euphemisms just make things worse. Lots of thoughts for all of you. Hope spring can at least come instead of all this snow.

liz said...

What about relict? I love the idea of him traveling with you always.

lala said...

Totally unrelated to this post but I think about you and GH often throughout the day...

buddha_girl said...

I think keeping him at home is a great idea.

Bottom line is this:
It doesn't matter if people find your decision macabre or touching. It only matters that YOUR and GH's needs are being met.

I think GH's idea of splitting him for maximum share-age will help you avoid any further conflicts with your in-laws. What a SMART man!

Anonymous said...

I've been reading for a while and want to say that you are in my thoughts.
Having been employed in the Jewelry business for many years I would like to add that they sell small pendant viles that can be used to contain ashes, locks of hair etc. and be worn on a chain. They can be ordered through a reputable Jewelry store. A distributor named Rio Grande sells them. Most stores who carry sterling silver will have this catalog.

Anonymous said...

"Cremains?" Oy! No!

Gallows humor is one of the keys to staying sane, in my opinion.

Thinking of you and yours.

Kathleen

Sam said...

I move my father around with me, people say "hi" to him and we joke. I'll honor his wishes and bury him some day, but for the moment he hangs out with me. I think what you and GH are doing is wonderful. Ignore everyone else.

Em said...

Oh goodness, you are making me cry. In a good way. I guess.

And no it isn't creepy at all.

Angela said...

Snickollet, I just got back from my vacation, and came straight to your blog. Words cannot truly express how much I wish your blog entries had different words and outcomes.

You are one amazing woman. Judging from the comments, you have to know that you have touched so many people and we are all out here in cyberspace praying and sending good thoughts. I hope you will keep on writing and letting us share in your journey.

Rev Dr Mom said...

What Yankee T said, Snick.

And do whatever helps you.

Holly said...

Just a thought. When my stepdad was cremated two years ago, the place had necklaces that one could have filled with the ashes of a loved-one. This might be a way to have your beloved husband with you, without the need to tote around an urn.

He could stay with you and the rest of his "remains" could be buried by his parents.

It's an odd thing to think of, but I wanted to let you know of that option.

Peace be with your husband, you and your family.

Cricket said...

Concidentally, I just saw the movie, Elizabethtown, last night. That's what Orlando Bloom's character did with his father's ashes. He drove them to significant states to his father and he'd leave a hand full of ashes here and there. It was a beautiful tribute, regardless of whether anything is scattered.

I was never much for burials, but since becoming a genealogist in the last decade, I cannot stress how much I appreciate having a place to connect with my third, fifth, or seventh great grandparents. To me now, it's for the descendants benefit.

I found you via Tertia's post and wish you all the best. You all have such grace and strength.

Shane and Jessica Olson said...

About a year ago I too would have though it was a little "crazy".

In August I love my grandma (68 years old) and her wishes were to be cremated. We all split her too remains as well. I have a little urn in my kitchen where she can see the heart of my home. I see it, I feel like she is with me, and I remember her.

My husband is a little weirded out by it but I don't care and he has gotten over it.

Good for you to make such a decision!

tana said...

When my grandma died my grandpa had her ashes in a pretty box on the mantle. When he died we mixed their ashes and scattered them off a cliff in Big Sur where they used to like to park their motor home and 'pitch woo' during storms.

When my Dad died the Navy was supposed to pick up his ashes and have a burial at sea, but it was during the Gulf War and he was forgotten so my mom's friend tracked him down and she has them at the house in a box with his Navy 'stuff', so I think when, in the far off future, my mom dies I will mix their ashes and scatter them somewhere they loved to go together.

My hubby drag races semi-professionally and I have already told him that I am going to scatter his ashes at the drag strip where he wins his first big trophy.

Evie the evil Evelyn said...

Great day new friend :-)

Having ones loved ones ashes is not at all creepy.

I have a small urn of my Dad, Dad in law, and uncle .... hmmm now maybe that's creey?

... and warning ... if you are an editor. My writing will probably make you bonkers :-)

Oh - and I found you through the CNN story ... thank you.

I think the universe has many more favors for you.