i went to my high school reunion with my dear friend's ashes in my purse. i didn't mean to. it just happened that way.
she died five years ago and my share of the ashes never made it to me. i met up with my friend, her partner, and he handed them to me. and i wasn't in my hotel room and i was on my way to the event and so i just popped them in my purse. i figured she was already sick about missing the reunion. i know i was sick about her missing it. it seemed fitting. it fit.
they're in a film canister. i kinda chuckled thinking if at some point during the evening i met up with those who vow to serve and protect they'd think i was holding. do people say holding anymore? yes sir, i am. little did they know exactly what. and do people carry weed in film canisters anymore? do people say weed anymore? jesus, i need to get out more.
and no, i don't generally go out with the idea that i'll meet up with the police at some point in the evening. but i think that evening i figured anything was possible. being forced into a tight space with the people you spent the most awkward four years of your life with while wearing kick ass heels and carrying ashes in your purse will do that to a girl.
and they make a rattling noise, too. that would be the chunks of green glass from the port bottle. her best friend is/was/is ?? my best friend. the night before she was cremated we split a bottle of port. her favorite. 1/3 for me, 1/3 for the goddess mother, the rest we left for her. for the journey. we tossed it in the next day with her.
i guess maybe we didn't so much say much about the bottle. because the green crystals that appeared in her ashes gave some pause. but that would be her. sea green crystals at the heart of her soul.
i have a box i'm going to put them in. she gave me the box the last time we visited before the very last time we were together. a beautiful box that i had absolutely no use for. i feigned a need for a box, though. oh i said, i've been needing a little box like this.
she gave me her best don't bullshit me look. ooh, but she was good at those. she knew i didn't need a box. she just saw it and thought of me.
what is it about humans that we have to validate everything? make everything necessary? she just wanted me to have it and i had to qualify it. it's a good thing she never let me get away with much. i appreciate that, because i don't try to as much now.
anyhow, i've never used that box. but now i will. and it's perfect. and yet i still have that film canister sitting on the mantle. next to the box. next to the mary. next to quan yin. next to the miniature replica of the red velvet couch i met my husband on. holding vigil. there.
because once i pour her ashes in the box it's going to get sealed up. super glue around the edge of the top. an inscription on the bottom. and it seems so final.
which is funny. what about death five years past isn't final? right?
but what i like to do is open the lid to the film canister. because when i do a little white puff comes out. and i can see the crystals. and it makes me feel better. like she isn't gone at all. and when i seal those ashes in that box i won't get the puff. i won't see the sea green crystals anymore. and that makes me sad. and that is so selfish.
and this is coming up because i've been thinking about loss lately. how we get so attached and yet it's all so transitory. and i'm not saying that in some boo hoo let me journal my pain crying girl kinda way. just that we get attached. our hearts, our bodies, our lives. we get attached to things to people to ways of being in the world. we get attached to the life we are living.
but what happens when those things aren't there? when the people aren't people we can be with anymore. when life changes whether you want it to or not. when the life you've been living isn't yours to live anymore.
what happens indeed.
and what we want to do, what we silly mortals are conditioned to do is to hang on. hold tight. don't go. on our knees. and that's normal. justified. authentic.
that's mine and it means this to me and i won't give it up. i won't.
but at some point we have to. we just have to unclench our grasp. to open our breaking hearts. to say this person can go and i won't break in two. or to say it's just a thing. it isn't me. it can go and i'll still be here. i'll still be me. i can move forward without it. i will move forward without it.
why do we put so much of ourselves into things and people that can just go away and leave us sad? because we can. because it feels good. because that's how the world moves forward. the ebb and the flow of love and the inevitable heartbreak keeps this world balanced.
because when you look back there's always some point you realize it was worth it in the end. all of it. even the crappy parts. and that in letting go you are better able to hang on to the good parts. and the pain and the crap just go somewhere else. sometimes never "away" away for good, just somewhere more manageable.
that being said, i'm not rushing over to the mantle to seal up those ashes. because right now i just want to hang on to missing her. because there's already a lot of potential for loss for me right now, and i want to keep her close. even though i know. even though i just said. even though i know it's worth it in the end.
it will happen. i'll get there. and because i'm me you'll probably know all about it when it happens.
(and good lord hopefully not in some boo hoo let me journal my pain crying girl kinda way. ;) )