Family Life Personal

Ash Monday.

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I remember November 18th well. It was a Friday and I went to a cremation place to pick my husband’s ashes. I remember what I was wearing. The weather. Who I was with. I remember I did not drive. My friend Lizzie was my chauffeur for two weeks after his death. After we picked him up, we went for pizza. The day before I had shopped for the outfit I would wear to his funeral. When I got home, because my house was in the process of being absolutely renovated, Sean’s dream, I put his ashes in a storage place in our basement and didn’t look back. And I hadn’t looked back at that white linen bag with the cardboard box containing the urn with his ashes in it so carefully placed, since then. Until yesterday.

Yesterday morning, I woke up before six, went into the basement, removed Lacrosse sticks and school projects from the hiding void. I grabbed the white bag and the weight of it all surprised me. I remembered the great details of our waiter and the exact lunch and beverages Tiffany, Lizzie, and I shared that day in November, but the weight of these ashes? No. I was surprised how heavy they were while putting them in the trunk of my vehicle. I knew Monday the 21st of August, I had to spread his ashes. It was time and it was what I had told him. August. It was in August we had difficult conversations last year about where he would love to be and it was always in August we would be together as a family enjoying our favourite place to rest.

My hands shook uncontrollably as I really faced the box for the first time. I cut through the tape with the scissors and had to break to stare in awe of my hands trembling. I walked away for a moment to collect my thoughts and pray under my breath…It was time. I didn’t want to deal with it, I really didn’t, but I had to. This is how life is sometimes. There are moments when we just have to seize it and not refuse or run from it. Death is the only guarantee we have in this life. No escape. No denial. Only acceptance. I just didn’t know that I would be doing this at 38, that’s all. However, like his death, this day now too has sealed us. A connection that is beyond tangible. A marking, an awareness, and a depth that only death, tragedy or even trauma brings. I don’t walk this journey alone. I know that. I have not once thought it. Can everyone relate to it? No. But that is okay. I don’t need that, what I need is presence, and sometimes that is all anyone really needs.

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