|Dave fishing in Yellowstone|
When I spread Dave's ashes it will be the third time I've spread someone's ashes. The first time, my dad and I emptied a paper bag of what used to be my mother's body into a stream she loved. The second time I numbly shook a box of my father's remains around the base of one of the trees he'd planted in his garden.
This time around will be the hardest. I dread releasing Dave's ashes and yet I want to have it over with. I want his ashes to be a part of nature and not trapped in this box that has me somehow trapped as well. I feel trapped under the weight of it. The weight of the decision.
Ocean? River? Woods? What would he want? I suppose the only thing he'd want would be for me to make it easiest on me. He wouldn't want me worrying and debating over what to do or how to do it.
But I keep thinking of other people who might want to be there and how to accommodate them when all I can picture is being alone when I finally do it. The idea of carrying my own weight of sadness is almost unbearable. Adding the weight of others' feels impossible. It's the selfish truth of it all.
I'm a little annoyed with Dave, to be honest. I asked him several times where he'd want to be scattered after he died and he wouldn't answer me. I believe he was afraid to even talk about it, much less plan for it. He preferred to avoid talking about things he didn't want to think about. I made sure he knew where I'd want to be scattered. I wish he'd told me too. On the other hand, maybe making the decision myself was yet another way he is teaching me to trust myself.
Now, I decide. And if I pick somewhere I love, will it forever be tinged with sadness or will it be a special place I'll feel comforted in? Do I scatter them where we were married, in Mt. Rainier State Park? Do I dump them in a river he liked to fish from? Do I scatter them in the surf (which somehow comforts me the most, maybe because the ocean itself has always comforted me)?
Do I continue to cling to them and avoid the decision indefinitely? This one question feels like the easiest to answer. I don't want to carry that weight around forever and I want his remains to be a part of nature. It's just the decision in the way.
Make the decision and let go of that particular worry, a part of me says, while another part of me is paralyzed.
The two year anniversary of his death is coming up and I feel as though that would be as good a time as any to finally do this, but planning it seems beyond me. As I have all along, I will have to surrender to this process and wait for the day when it becomes clear what I should do. Forcing it has never worked. I will one day be sure, but until then I don't have to do anything I don't want to do.
But those ashes are heavy on my heart and mind.