December 3 – Anicca (Impermanence)
What did you let go of this year? Whom did you let go?
This is the story of the day I let go of my mom and my dog rolled in her ashes.
Mom passed away February 5 of this year after a short yet hellish battle with cancer. Before she died, we had many talks about her final wishes and she was adamant she didn’t want to be buried or to have a final resting place where my sister and I would feel obligated to visit. She decided on cremation, but again with the condition we spread her ashes somewhere nice and not leave them in an urn in our home.
So after her funeral I carried her box of ashes through airport security and promptly put her up on the shelf in my closet until I could figure out a more fitting place.
Months passed. Months of one injury and illness after another for me. Months of not weeping over my loss, but rather anger at Mom for leaving me, the doctors for not curing her, cancer for killing her, and even God for taking her. I spent a lot of time confused and upset because I hadn’t heard from her since her passing. Before she left I made her promise to come visit me.
But there was nothing. No visits. No odd feelings of her presence. No levitating dishes or items in the house mysteriously moved. I was frustrated and annoyed and stuck.
Now, before I continue with this story I need to tell you my mom was an animal lover. Yes, we all love animals. But mom treated her dogs exceptionally well. In fact, I often joked that when I died I wanted to come back as one of my moms dogs because I knew I’d have a pretty cushy life. She loved her dogs to the point we even snuck her dog into the hospice center to visit her. Right before mom got sick my family got a new puppy and Mom had mentioned how sad she was she’d never get to meet my new dog.
Her ashes continued to sit in my closet. One beautiful fall Saturday morning I woke up and decided Mom should be placed in my front garden under the new mums I was planting.I pulled weeds, dug in the dirt, planted bulbs and made ready this garden which would be a tribute to my mom. I turned to my 15-year-old son and asked him to open the cremation box so I could pour some of the ashes into the dirt.
He opened the box, the bag got stuck, and my beloved mothers ashes fell all over his pants, his shoes and into a pile on the ground.
We stood there for a brief moment in stunned silence, interrupted only when the new puppy came running up, stuck her nose into the ashes and immediately began rolling around in them.
And then we laughed. And laughed. And cried. And laughed some more. This is what mom would have wanted. This chaos of kids and dogs and dirt. She wouldn’t have wanted ceremony and sadness. She would have wanted laughter and tears.
As I scooped up as much of the ashes as I could off my kids pants, as I brushed out the dog while standing in the garden, I decided it is done. Her physical state is gone. But her spirit lives on in my garden, in my laughter, and in my dogs fur.
When the heart weeps for what it has lost, the soul laughs for what it has found. ~ Suphi aphorism
This post is written as part of #Reverb11, a chance to reflect on 2011 and manifest for 2012.