I slept very little Saturday night. I woke up Sunday morning thinking only of what I had to do that day. I didn’t want to. If I could pray over these ashes and know that by some big miracle you would rise up out of them, I would pray until my words ran out. This sucks. You’re not supposed to be a pile of ashes sitting in a box. I’m not supposed to be able to carry you, you’re not supposed to fit in a small box.
10 years ago you took me to the spot where I scattered your ashes. Your favorite place in the world. I remember looking out at the scenery, everything was green, as far as the eye could see. You took my hand and said to me “I want you in my life forever”. My heart smiled that day.
It didn’t feel right walking up that hill without you. I actually looked for the signs on the way up this time. All the little red arrows pointing the way, or as if in some strange way mocking me, “this way, this way, this way to his final resting place”. You’re supposed to be here with me, you’re supposed to point out each flower, each tree and plant “this one is poisonous, this one is psychedelic, this one is edible”, but instead you’re in a box. It’s very heavy for such a small box. Why is this what you are now? Why instead of my big, tall, strong husband, you’re pile of ivory colored dust? Ezekiel talks about the dry bones in the valley coming alive. How I wish these dry ashes on this hillside could come alive. How I wish there was a prayer I could say, or a song I could sing that would bring you back to life.
Slow deep breath in, slowly exhale. We all cried Brian. We all remembered your kind spirit, your gentle heart and of course, silly memories, each one starring you.
After you died I thought about what this day might feel like. Would I want to jump off the cliff? Would I be able to make the walk up the hillside? How do you scatter ashes, is there a protocol to follow? “Just dump it” you’d say. My heart is in as many pieces as there are particles of ash and dust. God breathed into a pile of dust once and made life, why isn’t He doing it now for me? Doesn’t He see that I need you in my life?
“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…to comfort those who mourn, to give them a beautiful crown instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness”
Where is the beauty for ashes? It’s in every memory, as many memories as there are particles of dust. Every smile remembered, every touch, laugh, shared look and each moment of love shared; there is beauty there. The beauty in grace which has been given to me, it is real, it is perfect. It binds up my heart, it comforts me as I mourn, it is my garment of praise when I feel very faint in heart and in body. It has held me up, it shines through me as strength, strength that is greater than an oak tree. Everlasting, perfect, beautiful, an oak of righteousness.
I look forward to seeing you in heaven someday Brian. We’re gonna rock those crowns.