Friday, January 13, 2017
Will My Cremains Be In Dad's Shaving Mug?
Another birthday has come and gone, this year on January 13. All day long I kept thinking, I'm another year older, IF my Mom told the truth about my birthday being on this unusual schedule. I tried to explain it a couple years ago at this link. (As an aside, I actually liked 2016 better, with it being on Jan. 9, not so long to wait. The next time I get it that good is 2022, a virtual eternity away.)
Of course birthdays make me alternately happy and wistful. Because of death, of course. Which is quickly mitigated by the fact that I know I shall live till 85. Occasionally I run into someone 85, and I always say, "As you are, so I shall be. But once I am as you are, no longer shall I be." It's kind of a riddle, and sometimes when I lay it on them they drop dead on the spot. I put my hands up, all innocent, going, "I don't know what happened, maybe some kind of weird psychic overload!"
Death has changed over the years. There's always something new people have to think about. It used to be old guys and gals would assemble at the funeral parlor and check out the caskets, the various models and colors. The salesman going, "Here you got The Corinthian Emperor, a beautiful model any man'd be proud to stretch out in. Or let's say you're more bargain-minded, there's always our old standby, The Pine Box. Even with the low price, it's a great little casket, guaranteed to keep your body perfectly incorrupt a full 10 years."
But now caskets are out and ash receptacles are in. You can still go to the funeral home and listen to their sales pitch about "this roomy little number." Or you can do it the way I'm going to do, find something around the house or at a store to hold yourself. The graphic above shows some of the containers I'm considering. I have a soft spot in my heart for my dad, who died way back when, the early 2000s. I inherited his shaving mug, over which there's still hard feelings; my four brothers also wanted it, but somehow it found its way into my trunk, and the rest is shaving history.
The other objects are fairly self-explanatory, but I want to highlight the pitcher. My mom's ashes went into a pitcher precisely like this one. Although, and I hope I'm not putting too fine a point on it, her ashes didn't heap over the top like that. She wasn't that big. And the thing with ashes is usually you don't need huge space, since they're compact. Look at me, a guy my size -- average to below average, depending on which parts you're talking about -- could fit in a pitcher like that and have room to grow.
Mom's pitcher looked great at her Memorial Service, The Service of Remembrance, An Assembly of Friends in Solemn Grief, Our Final Goodbye, A Time for Joy, Not Tears. I'm a little sad thinking about it, but also proud of how it all worked out. We kept it reverent enough there were no lightning bolts. But pleasant enough that her pitcher didn't open like Aladdin's Lamp with a monstrous version of a once beautiful mother appearing in wrath. As for her ashes, they were later scattered, and I don't know what happened to the pitcher. Probably sneaked out by my brother like me with Dad's shaving mug. Might be why I have to stand at the door when I go to visit.
So she was scattered. And so it shall be for me, at some indeterminate time after I'm 85. Whatever I choose as a receptacle, I know I will like it. To the extent that dead ashes can like things. I don't smoke or I'd ask a cigarette, just a little joke there. Let's say my spirit's drifting overhead somewhere. I'm sure they'll have my blessing.