Laughter, Love & Letting Go.

Via Jennifer Williams-Fields
on Dec 3, 2011
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December 3 – Anicca (Impermanence)

What did you let go of this year? Whom did you let go?

Photo credit Jennifer Fields

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.

Photo credit Jennifer Fields

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. 



About Jennifer Williams-Fields

Jennifer Williams-Fields is passionate about writing, yoga, traveling, public speaking and being a fabulous single momma to six super kids. Doing it all at one time, however, is her great struggle. She has been teaching yoga since 2005 and writing since she first picked up a crayon. Although her life is a sort of organized chaos, she loves every minute of the craziness and is grateful for all she’s learned along the way. Jennifer was a featured speaker at the 2015 inaugural CourageMakers Conference and is a regular guest speaker for local media outlets. Her motivational talks on gratitude, addiction and self care have been called “inspiring and life changing.” She has had her essays featured on Yahoo!, Dr. Oz The Good Life and Scary Mommy. She is a regular writer for, YourTango and YogaUOnline. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, her blog or website.


17 Responses to “Laughter, Love & Letting Go.”

  1. What a beautiful way to share your mother with the world, Jennifer. Thank you for this wonderful story and reminder that we all somehow find a way to love all living beings in the most unique ways.

  2. Jules says:

    Thanks jennifer for sharing. We sprinkled my mom's ashes into the Pacific Ocean, it was like pixie dust, it sparkled so much. Today, if I look over my computer screen and out the window, I can see where we said goodbye to her. It always turns out the way mom wanted it, as if it was ever in our own control!

  3. Jules- you are so right. "As if it was ever in our control." I like that we both released our mothers ashes in places we see regularly.

  4. Thank you, Priscilla. As always you are so kind.

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  6. melissa says:

    Her physical state is gone. But her spirit lives on in my garden, in my laughter, and in my dogs fur….. beautiful. Jennifer. thank you for sharing the intimate moment of remembrance.
    moving on takes courage…. you are courageous.

  7. It has been almost a year since my mom passed, and this came at just the right time for me. Thank you for sharing. Laughter has been the only thing that neutralizes the intense grief that losing my mom has brought into my life. My story of loss is here:

    Thank you very much. Grief is so isolating, and to hear this story of light within darkness is beautiful.


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  9. Laura says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and your mom with us Jennifer. I was moved me to tears and then a smile..

  10. jean says:

    What a beautiful story!!!! My mom is 91 and a huge dog lover and I can see myself and her in your story! Brought me to tears and to smiles!

  11. Sondra says:

    Wow, that is priceless and heartwarming for me. I think your mom's spirit was honored in a way she would have enjoyed!

  12. I just read your post Temple. Absolutely beautiful, heart breaking and beautiful again. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Oh this made me laugh and cry, Jennifer! So good!

  14. Trish Wood says:

    Wonderful words Jen! We miss you very much in class…my best friends' father passed away this weekend after a long, hard battle with cancer. I hope she'll read this one day when her heart is ready….

  15. yoga freedom says:

    What a touching story, Jennifer. Thanks for reverbing… This is what it's all about!

  16. Helene Rose says:

    awww…. how sweet.
    definitely laughing and crying. 🙂

  17. KellyC says:

    What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing!