I have had a list of things to accomplish since your death.
Most of it was paperwork, tedious and sad.
There are two things remaining on the list; both large tasks to be checked off.
One of the items entails more waiting; it is beyond my control.
The other thing is my task – and mine alone.
I just couldn’t schedule a time for it.
Every time I looked at the calendar, there was something that made the task impossible.
And I took any and every excuse possible to keep me from doing what I had to do.
A little over a week ago, I reluctantly decided it was time.
I was gently nudged to act; even though I wasn’t sure I really wanted to.
Sitting in my kitchen, atop the wooden cabinet that is my “office”, sat a black box.
I looked at it multiple times a day, just staring.
Sometimes, I would take it down and just hold it, unable to believe how heavy it was, or how small the contents seemed.
That fit into a box much smaller than a shoe box.
I am still amazed that a life can be reduced to such a small amount of ash.
When we first discovered you were sick in 2007, we talked a lot about things that young couples should never have to face.
We figured it all out over the last three years; except for what to do with your remains.
I wanted you to tell me what to do; to give me insight as to where your final resting place should be.
You didn’t know. You didn’t care. You told me to do what I wanted.
I thought about it more intensely after your terminal diagnosis in June 2010.
I know it seemed a little morbid to think of places to lay you to rest and I suggested a hundred locations.
You always met me with a blank stare and changed the subject.
I left it alone.
Then, a few weeks before you passed away, I had an epiphany.
I knew where you were meant to be, besides with us.
I shared it with you; asked for your permission.
You weren’t speaking much at that time, if at all.
But you mustered a smile and nodded ‘yes’.
The last piece of the puzzle, and you helped me find it.
The girls and I, along with your parents, each have a small vessel with some of your ashes inside.
But the black box was still there.
And I struggled for the right time to let it go.
Honestly, there never is a good time, a good day to bid farewell to you.
Not a single day.
I had no control the day you died, no say in the matter. It wasn’t up to me. Or anyone else, for that matter.
But this? I had absolute control over; I determined when you left.
I wasn’t ready.
Even though I have been making small steps forward, I felt like I had one foot encased in concrete and one foot not quite ready to make the next reluctant step into a new life; an unwritten future.
It was time.
Time to let go.
I was ready.
I’d been holding onto a lot of emotion and feeling completely alone.
You didn’t have a burial, as you wanted to be cremated – and I needed the closure that most people get with saying goodbye at a burial. I needed to know you were where you wanted to be; not resting a in a dusty black box in the kitchen.
Yesterday was a beautiful day with bright blue, cloudless skies.
It wasn’t nearly as cold as it has been; the wind was chilly, but the sun was warm.
It was a day that you would have loved; a peek at Spring.
I took you where you wanted to be yesterday.
My hands released you into the beautiful day and a weight was immediately lifted from my shoulders.
I felt at peace almost instantly.
I did shed a few tears, a mix of sadness, relief and overwhelming love.
I no longer had to look at the black box and feel guilt for keeping you out of my own grief.
And I am too, I suppose.
A final secret for the two of us to share, your final resting place.
I’m not letting go of memories or the intense feelings that can never be replaced.
But I am letting go of the past.
Moving forward, with a thankful heart and no fear.
You gave me a sign shortly afterward, and I knew I had absolutely done the right thing – exactly when I was supposed to do it.
You and I are both the same; at peace.
And I thank you endlessly for it.