of barn doors and horses, and memorials and things…

so this past saturday was the memorial service, and despite a burgeoning sore throat and ever-increasing chest congestion, we headed off to south carolina to pay our respects.

i came away with a few impressions*, some of which i will try very hard to sublimate after this post.

*may be kinda graphic

first, cremation may be one thing, but THERE IS A REASON why cremation services typically take place at sea, or on the edge of a cliff (over water), or out of an airplane.  there is an equally good reason why they do not take place at the foot of an oak tree, in the midst of a circle of mourners.  the whole affair took on a macabre hue when (after overhearing my mom and aunt discussing whether it would be best to transfer ashes from bag to pitcher over the sink or tub, to avoid SPILLAGE *cringe*) the breeze wafted what can only be referred to as “powdered grandma” across the circle.

sorry, i know that was crass.  “grotesque” was really the word that came to mind, especially when it turns out that not …everything… turns to ash in the cremation process.  oh, for a burial at sea.

then there was the low-level annoyance that although we’ve had the same group gathering every thanksgiving for the past two decades, we wait until NOW to get the big group picture.  -.-  couldn’t have done it last year, or year before, or sometime when we still had everybody — had to wait till we’re missing one.  what’s that about barn doors and stolen horses?  sigh.

but those were the low points of the affair (one lower than the other, of course).  got to hang out with my friend from high school and play with her baby (who is really just unnaturally cute), and the weather was all kinds of cooperative, and the hotel where we stayed was a total thumbs-up.

we’ve got to do this differently next time around.  it was bad enough when i wasn’t that close to her, but i can’t imagine how traumatic it would be to hear my grandpa’s bones clink in the pitcher, or see his mortal remains looking like something that came out of our woodstove back home.  it was just….creepy.  maybe i can convince them to have the service at high tide, down at the dock.  it’s his favorite place, anyway.

and oh, god…what about when my mom goes?




  1. krishyana said,

    October 6, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    sounds like a surreal experience hon but one that obviously put some thought provoking questions in your mind. it does seem to happen that way that it takes the loss of a loved one to bring folks together even in a picture, we have the same problem in my family >.>. i’m glad you got to se eyour friend and what an adorable baby! makes me want one hehe 🙂

    I’m glad it all went fairly smoothly though barn doors aside 🙂

  2. freundlyfolk said,

    October 21, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    when my dad’s mom passed away, she was cremated, just as his dad was. and her ashes were given to my dad in a brown plastic box, about the size of a medium coffee can. her wish was to buried beside her husband on the side of the mountain where i grew up. and in a perfect world, i never would’ve sneaked a peak inside that box.

    so i feel you on the creepiness…


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