Rich passed on a Thursday. By Friday morning it became apparent that I had to make final arrangements for him.
Throughout nearly 30 years together, Rich and I had attended many funerals and services for friends and family members.
“Please don’t ever have one of those for me,” he’d commented on numerous occasions after attending lengthy and harrowing wakes with traditional funeral arrangements.
He’d talk about cremation and scattering his cremains in places close to his heart followed by parties and celebrations of a life well-lived.
I didn’t like these conversations, but I’d listened.
Although the hospital in which Rich had passed told me I could take my time and let them know what I wanted to do the following week, I felt anxious. Although I knew technically there was nothing wrong with having his body kept in a hospital morgue, the thought of it just made me feel anxious and uneasy.
A neighbor gave me the name of a local funeral home. I spoke to someone there early Friday and they informed me that they’d send me paperwork via email and I could meet with someone on Monday. By afternoon, no paperwork had arrived and Monday loomed so far off. I left a voicemail. When no call was returned by late afternoon, I went on-line and chose another local business.
I explained to the young woman who answered my call my situation. She told me her father was in a meeting but would call me as soon as he could.
Not only did he call me, sensing my angst, he went and claimed Rich’s body that evening and reassuringly informed me that Rich was now closer to me just a few miles down the road from our home. Again, I realize this may sound irrational, but it brought me comfort just knowing this.
Steve Smith, the Funeral Director, asked me to come in the next day, a Saturday.
“Have you considered a Military Service?” He inquired.
Steve, a Viet Nam veteran, explained how that could be accomplished, but first, there was the immediate issue of Rich’s cremation. Steve advised me to order urns on-line.
I’d never thought much about urns. Not many in my circle of family and friends had chosen cremation. Of course, in my search, I was introduced to a confounding array of choices. Focusing on the color blue, Rich’s favorite, I found one that connected with me.
What struck me was that I could purchase sets of urns. I hadn’t thought of dividing his cremains, but it made sense. I believed that someone, especially someone like Rich, could have several “resting” places, and most of those places involved bodies of water that had held a special place in his heart.
I ordered those urns immediately and began the planning of Rich’s Service and Celebration of Life, a topic suited or its own separate post. The large urn was interred at a local military cemetery, but I’ve made some nice memories with those smaller urns which I will share with you next week.
On this, my seventh Saturday of blogging for Widow’s Voice, it’s proving to be interesting, emotionally healing and somewhat challenging to create engaging content on a regular basis. Sometimes I fear that I’ll run out things to write about, but then, when I start posting about one topic, I understand the depth of that subject matter and how one post can actually lead to many.
I try to keep each post succinct and to make each word count. These weekly exercises have been helping me to coax my creative mind out of hibernation. I’ve got a ways to go (another topic) but I thank Soaring Spirits for allowing me to share and you, the readers, for reaching out and expressing your appreciation. Your encouragement is of the utmost importance to me at this time.
Wishing all the Veterans out there a meaningful day of honor. Thank you for your Service.