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From Ashes



I had a very strange "realization" yesterday. I call it a realization, because bits and pieces came together to turn on that lightbulb above my head in one of those "ah-ha" moments. I knew all of the pieces. I am quite familiar that each exists in their own way, and also in the whole of the whole. But I saw it differently.


My brother is getting ready to send my dad's ashes here to me in Maine. At first I was excited. My dad never got to come to Maine and I never got to really say goodbye (unless you count my brother holding the phone to his ear while he was in a morphine induced type coma during. his last hours.......although given he had been hanging on for so long, and I told him that I would be there the. next day but if he wanted to go now, not to wait for me.......and I can't deny that possibility that he maybe heard me, because he died a few hours later.).............but now, as that gets closer, I find myself actually a bit afraid. Im not afraid of the ashes - heck I dont even know if the ashes are his or a compilation of him and a few other people from whatever happens in the cremation process....and it doesnt matter much anyways because I have my own view about what happens after we die (which in case anyone was wondering, I dont believe much happens aside from we slip into another dimension (for lack of a better word) of existence. OR in the spirit of Terry Pratchett, we are actually born when we die and this whole earth experience thing is actually death.........who knows........im not eager to find out just. yet).........but Im afraid of the grief I am going to feel. The grief I probably never got to complete (not that we ever do) when he died.....or that the numb state I was in for two weeks following of the deepest grief I have ever felt, will be revisited. I'm scared of that.


And then yesterday I was looking at a photo of my dad when he was about 6 years old. He was a happy little kid.....probably the last happy photo I have of him that was taken before his mother died by suicide when he was 7. All of the other photos, he's distance, as if he's hiding someplace inside, behind the eyes in the photo. What I suddenly realized, is that the ashes of that little boy will be in the box of cremated remains. I looked to another photo of him as a teenager......sadness in a forced smile.......that young man will be in the ashes too. Then I looked at another and another.....and I realized that ALL of them will be in that box.

And you might be thinking.....well duh....of course they will be because it's the same person.....and yes.....of course this is true. And thinking about it from a different perspective of each one at each age, just felt really really different to me.


Which then had me thinking about myself.......I am me, 52 years old with all of my history..........and I can look back and go....well, that was when I was a teen or a child as if it was some other me long time ago that doesnt really exist anymore...........and that's just NOT true when looked at from a certain perspective. And in me, when I die will be the me at 5 in kindergarten class who felt isolated when I was the only kid that couldn't have peanut butter bunnies at easter like everyone else....and had to have plastic American cheese instead.........I will be the me at 17 skipping school and hanging out at the laundry mat with friends.....I will be the me at 25 giving birth to my first child......I will be the me at age 50 signing the papers on my first house........I will be me at 60, 70, and 86 years old......all together in a box of ashes.


And somehow things just feel different now.

And grief is a funny swirly, sticky, warm little big thing ........and I also realized that the coming of my father's ashes won't just be grief.....but bittersweet.....and I somehow think that a lot of grief is, depending on the moment and on our perspective.


Thanks for reading this rambling that has nothing to do much about health and wellness.....and also everything to do with it.


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