Yesterday I collected my husband’s ashes from the funeral directors. Sarah Jane, the one who is like our granddaughter, drove us in her car. She had been urging me to get them in case they got mislaid, which apparently happens sometimes. I find that I have to consider her sensibilities as well as my own at this time, as she loved Michael so much. I am apt to be a bit practical and breezy about the jobs that need doing.
I am not sure how I feel about ashes. I have no strong sense that they are part of my husband. He is surely long gone beyond the physical sphere by now. Nevertheless I found myself saying “Do you think I should have ‘him’ on my lap?”, as I sensed that SJ was unhappy about putting ‘him’ on the back seat. So I nursed the very heavy box on my knees, as we drove to his house where I had some things to do.
Then I found myself saying “Do you think ‘he’ would like to be in his house one more time?”, and instantly SJ said “Yes”. “Are we being silly?” I asked, and she said “No, it’s nice to have thoughts like that”. So we took ‘him’ inside. We considered leaving ‘him’ there for the time being, but both agreed that it was too cold and miserable.
When we got back to my house I took the urn out of the box. I was surprised and disappointed to find that the ashes were not in an urn-shaped container, but in a sort of screw-topped jar in dark green plastic – something more appropriate to the kitchen. It had no aesthetic appeal and no dignity about it, and I am wondering why, among all the other choices the funeral directors offered us, they did not offer a choice of urn. I have searched the web and there are some wonderful containers to be had.
We shall probably keep the ashes until the next time our eldest son home, so that the family can all go together to scatter them on a hilltop somewhere. So I am seriously considering buying another urn. The metal one I have chosen for my picture would be just right for the practical, no fuss, engineering sort of man that my husband was.