As I mentioned in my last post, part of the reason for this trip is to dispose of my share of my mom’s ashes. It’s something I’ve never dealt with and it’s time. Yesterday, July 1st, was the 11th anniversary of her death. She died in 1998 from cancer which had spread to her liver. We were quite close through all the years of our shared time on Earth. While nothing really remained unexpressed before her passing, there has remained a bond or a connection between us that feels a little strong, a little like tentacles, albeit loving ones, that still extend from her to keep me close. I’m not really one who believes strongly in “the spirit realm” or things of that nature. I’m more from the “once you are dead, you’re long time dead” school which helps to make this lifetime more important, more “valuable.” There was something in our relationship which never fully worked it’s way through. I don’t necessarily expect all of you to understand this stuff or to fully ascribe to it, but to me there is some significant validity to it. Basically, when an infant develops, he/she bonds to his mother. Over time, the father becomes more interesting to the child and the child psycologically leaves the mother as the father then takes the child more into the world. By the time that were to normally have happened in my life, my father had gone and wasn’t very present, even from a distance, to facilitate that movement. To compound things, as far as I know, my mother never dated again after my father left, so for the last 30 years of her life, in a way, I became the “man” in her life – the support, encouragement and love that she no longer got in other ways. It was never incestuous or anything “Murmurs of the Heart”-like, but in a way she relied on me more that really would have allowed for a fully healthy psycological development for me. That’s kind of where the “tentacles” come in.
So at this time, it feels important for me to deal with her ashes, to put her more to rest, and to give her back to the earth, to God, to wherever. I’m writing today because I just started dividing up her ashes for this trip. The first reaction I had when I saw the ashes was “I don’t really like this.” The word ashes sounds like it should be ashes, but truth be said there are a lot of bone chips/fragments in ashes. More graphic than I was ready for this morning. I also felt a heaviness in my heart. There is a finality to what I am doing and my heart clearly feels that. At the moment my plan is to bring some of her ashes with me and deposit some in Lake Michigan where she loved to swim in Chicago. I’ll also be bringing some ashes with to France to bury them with her first husband Joey who, it feels to me, was the true love of her life. I’m not trying to minimize what she and my father had, but I think there was something very special between them). He died in WWII when my mother was only about 23 years old with her baby Jeffy, whom I’ll also see on this trip. This piece feels very important to me as it seems to me that she should be with her husband rather than with me (which should make sense to you in the context of what I’ve written above). The remainder or her ashes I think I will keep here and find a nice spot to bury her on my land or let her go in the sea or something. I’ll do that upon my return.
My hope with all of this is simply do what feels most appropriate with her ashes. On a more personal note, it’s not my intention, but it is my hope that by returning her to her rightful place(s), that this act may have the effect of creating more space for expansion and relationship within my own life.
This feels very important to me – another pilgrimage really. Thanks for hanging with me on this one, I expect it to be a somewhat difficult, yet potentially cathartic and insightful process.
That’s it for now as I’ve still got packing and ash/bone divvying to do.