I am 6 months into my grief journey, abut it feels like 1 million years ago since I saw my Rick's handsome face. How can it only be 6 months!!! There must be some sort of time warp going on because 6 months and 1 million years are now one in the same. I see other people having a life, socializing with friends, holding hands, marveling at a sunset, and I think- We used to do that- WE had a life together. No I have no life. I am a contradiction in terms: I am alive but dead at the same time.
I had a co-worker ask me the other day 'what are you going to do with Rick's ashes?' I just blinked at him, not comprehending what his question was. Then I started over-analyzing it, as I seem to do these days. Maybe he wanted to know if I would be sending his ashes back to the UK, or if I'd planned on sprinkling them on some mountain top, or if, as my wicked mind was thinking, 'what do you think I'm going to do with them.....throw them out???'
Which brings me to this: my Rick was a Brit, and after he passed, I contacted his daughter and other family members in the UK to see if they wanted to have some of his ashes flown to them. Thankfully, they didn't, but I would have respected and honored their wishes, and would have had the funeral home divide up his cremains. However, my Rick wanted to stay on our 'little acre of heaven'.
Of course we all want to honor our loved one's wishes. But THEY had NO idea of the horrid, gut twisting, heart-wrenching pain that we all were left with when they departed. Even someone on death's door has no idea of the pain we survivors will be handed. NO ONE knows what this crushing heartache actually is like unless you have gone through this hell. It's all well and fine to have everything set up in your trust or will, but that's done while one is alive, and having no idea of what the survivor will have to face. Yes, we all suffered through their pain with them, or suffered the shock of an accidental death, but the fact is, many of us need to have something tangible of their life on this earth. I have my Rick's beautiful urn front and center when you come into our home, complete with two family photos, a forever candle and live orchids. I find it very comforting knowing that when I come in the door, My Honey is still there waiting for me, and I greet him daily when I come back from work. Yes, the two dogs get their pets first, but then it's 'Hiya Shoosie'! For me, I need to know that he's always there for me, and in fact, he's made himself know to me and other family members on a weekly basis.
I can't bring myself to ever scatter his ashes anywhere, even on our one acre. I can't lose him again.....not again.
Does anyone else have these feelings, or by not letting him go, is that something that may hold me back on my way to feeling "normal" again? Is it supposed to be like the Sting song ' If you love somebody, set them free' ? Am I being selfish?
And as a side note: I know that here in California, you must disclose that someone had died on the property or in the house. Does that mean that I must disclose that I have my husband's, mom's and brother's ashes in my home?
Others have read bits of this before, but I have most of Ron's ashes in the original box on my mantel, wrapped in one of his old flannel shirts, with his picture nearby.
The rest? Some are in the lake behind our house. Some are in the MO River near Hermann. I have deposited some in Reykjavik, Iceland, the Panama Canal, off Costa Rica, deposited in the Ganges at Varanasi while a Hindu priest chanted from the Vedas, and at the base of a huge tree in Kathmandu with Buddhist prayer flags fluttering from its branches. Some will go to Scotland in September. Ron knew this was the plan and loved it. I never scatter more than about 1/4 cup and, except in India where I knew it was legal, have been very discreet about it. I'll never let go of them all; I want the remainder mixed with mine when my time comes and disposed of whatever way my son wants. (By the way, I learned in India that Gandhi's ashes were scattered in 6 major cities in the world!)
There's no reason you have to let go of a molecule of your husband's ashes unless and until you're ready. I'd keep quiet about having stored ashes if the law doesn't require it; in fact, in my state, I don't think you have to disclose a death on the premises unless it was violent. Not a problem for me since Ron died peacefully in hospice care.
This is yet another thing, Shoosie, where there are no rules that you must follow. If you type the word 'ashes' in the Forums search box you will find some other discussions on this topic. And all sorts of responses. As far as laws in California, I'm sure the funeral home who handled things for you would have alerted you if you needed to disclose anything.
It will be 8 years for me this September and my husband's ashes are still here in our home with me. I had originally thought I would scatter them in places that meant a lot to us, but have found I just cannot do that. I like having him here - and my adult son (who moved back in) does, too. Keeping them has not stopped me from fully living this new life or feeling "normal". It's just a personal choice that I have made. And you get to make your own personal choice. You may change your mind after some time passes. And that's ok, too. Just give yourself the grace to do whatever it is that feels best for you.
I have the ashes in the urn on the mantle of the fireplace. I have given instructions in my will to have my ashes mixed in when I pass. When I am gone, I don't care what happens to the urn and our ashes. I will at least leave this earth knowing that we will be together again. It does bring some comfort to me at this time. I did tell family that I would like the urn to be buried in my grandparent's plot (beautiful spot, under an old pine tree) but there are no guarantees that will happen. With my luck, someone will pour the ashes in the trash and use the urn as a flower vase. The young ones will call that 're purposing',