Saturday, January 21, 2012

ashes to ashes

A long time ago Dad made me a lovely pine jewelry box. The sides were all dove tailed together. The lid had a beaded edge. The surface was shaved and sanded smooth. It was my jewelry box for many years.

After Dad died his body was cremated. His ashes were returned to us in an over-sized waxed paper take-out container, wire handle and everything, like a gallon size serving of General Tsao's Chicken.  I thought Dad's remains were better suited to my jewelry box.
My brother transferred the ashes and glued the lid closed. He later told me about all the wonderful things he found in there. (I'll spare you the details.) Dad's ashes and my jewelry box are forever together in the family plot.

While cleaning out Mom's house I found another wooden box that my father had made. This one was similar to my jewelry box, but was not completed. It still needed more sanding and finishing. When I opened up the unfinished box I saw a note. In Mom's handwriting it said "For my ashes." Yikes!

This was the only possession of Mom's where she indicated how she wanted it to be passed along. I had asked her for many years to put labels on her furniture. If she knew that one of the grandchildren wanted this rocking chair or if that cousin wanted that dresser then she'd better label it.  How else would I know? I didn't want to be in the middle of family squabbles about furniture. But she never labeled anything.

While cleaning out Mom's house I found a little blue gift box, the kind of box that might have held a scented candle.  It was heavy and rattled.  When I opened it up I spilled some of the contents on me and the floor. These were Dad's ashes. What were they doing here? I guess Mom had set aside some before we interred the rest. This little blue box is now on my bookcase beside the AMC White Mountain Guide and the little gold box of cat's ashes.

...and to dust you shall return

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