Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dear Dad,

Do you know that it's New Year's Eve? Do you have consciousness or awareness? See, this is one of the difficult things about not having a Structured Religious Belief System. I can't say with any certainty that you "went to a better place" when you died because I have no idea if there is "a better place". Or a worse place. Or a not terrible but not amazing place. But see, I don't believe that all those firmly religious folk have some 100% rock-solid notion either, no matter what they say. I guess I do like to think that you "see" from some location though. Or that your energy is around. Or something of that nature. So maybe you are aware that we're soon going to switch from 2009 to 2010.

I've never made a big deal out of New Year's Eve. I don't think you did either. We certainly never talked resolutions or Making Big Life Changes just because the year was going up one. It always seems a little ludicrous to me to act as though change or growth and making goals should happen on this one certain day and not in an ongoing way. But I am going to make something like a resolution. Or at least a promise. I have a portion of your ashes - Uncle C. gave them to me after we scattered some of them in Maine where you asked. I've had them for a little over a year sealed in a large Ziploc back inside of a black plastic container inside of a sealed Priority Mail package. I can make a lot of excuses about why I have not placed them in an urn yet: urns are a lot more expensive than I expected and this has been a lean year for money; there are so many to chose from and I can't decide, etc.

And really, there are so many to chose from, it's unbelievable. I narrowed it down to the urn having to be made of wood because I think that would suit you the best. No ornate, vase-y urns for you. You're not a cloisonne kind of guy, this is for sure. But even narrowing it down to wood leaves an infinite number of options. There are plain ones that would blend in on any bookshelf. Ornate ones with laser-etched scenes on the front of everything from a cowboy gazing out over the prairie to a hummingbird hovering expectantly over a blossoming lily. There are urns for basketball players and military men and cat lovers. Yes, cat lovers. There are urns that look like olde timey radios and urns that are actually a jewelry box with a compartment under the jewelry tray for the ashes. And there's even a "Highway To Heaven" truck driver urn with 2 silver horns attached to the top that may or may not make noise.

But the truth of the matter is that it's not about making the right choice. It's been about avoiding the task altogether. I definitely inherited your propensity for procrastinating; especially in difficult situations. But to be fair, it is not the easiest of tasks. There is a huge part of me that cannot even fathom the idea that you do not physically exist anymore the way you did. To think of you as ashes seems almost absurd. And every time I look at that damn piece of metal from the crematorium I can barely keep myself from sobbing. So what will happen when I finally haul that Ziploc full of your ashes out of that box and pour it in the appropriate urn? Except I know that has to happen. And I am sorry it didn't happen sooner. And I know that there will never be a perfectly appropriate container for your remains - that isn't the point. The point is to just do it and not avoid it. Not doing it will not change what has happened. And not doing it feels quite like I am dishonoring you, which I never want to do.

So there it is Dad, my first resolution in forever. Come 2010 your remaining ashes will have a proper urn to reside in. And while I promise, no matter how hard it is to choose one, it won't be the "Highway to Heaven" model.

Happy New Year Dad. Love,

No comments: