We Are But Dust

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October 14, 2013 by lesleybowen

ImageNOTE: This post was written August 31 and set aside when multiple dog dramas occurred. It took me until now to revise and publish.

Last Tuesday I drove out to the vet clinic to pick up Minnie Winnie’s ashes. The half-hour drive meanders through some of the most beautiful horse country in central Kentucky and provides an excellent time to meditate. I considered my plans for Minnie Winnie’s ashes. I intended to send the cremains to the sponsor who afforded Minnie Winnie and me the eleven months we were given to say good-bye. I wondered how I was going to divide the ashes. Would I just get them in a Ziplock bag or cardboard box? Would there be a problem sending ashes through the mail? Did I need to insure the package? As I started thinking along those lines, I recalled my dad’s funeral in March 2012.

I never saw my dad after he died. Instead I drove down the day of his funeral, parked in the church lot, and walked over to the “memorial garden” where others before him were interred. I glanced at the wall of names and recognized many people who I had not thought of in years…all these people in this tiny plot of ground in the church yard. I looked down and saw the hole where my dad’s ashes would go. I thought, hmm, I guess the priest will set the urn down in a symmetrical hole that looked from a post hole digger.

After the funeral, the reality was that the priest blessed the ashes, opened the urn, and simply poured my father’s cremains into that hole! I tried not to stare. The image of the ashes going into the hole and the priest sifting the ashes into the soil with a shovel was surreal. More bizarre to me was the priest handing the shovel to my mother so that she could add dirt to the hole!! And then my brother followed suit!!! I figured I would be expected to do the same.

To fortify myself, I remembered all the pets my dad had buried for me when I was a child. I especially recalled an entire litter of baby rabbits. With that in mind, I took the shovel from my brother and tossed dirt in the hole too…and silently thanked my dad for all that he had done for me.

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