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How many times have I stared at the vessel

That holds your remains

And thought…

How are your feet, your strong hands, your kind eyes

In there?

How many times have I stared at that vessel

My heart twisting, aching, pleading

For it simply not to be?

How many times have I stared at that vessel

And thought, ‘Where are you?’

Only to feel my heart cry out in response,

In here, in here, in here!


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Comment by lizbeth4 on May 26, 2016 at 3:21pm

Thank you for your story!   I remember 3 years ago going to the funeral home to pick up my Husbands remains.   Luckily for me my older and wiser neighbor volunteered to drive me there.   When the director came out with the box containing my Husbands ashes I totally lost it.   My friend was kind enough to take the box and calm me down.   My Husband wanted his ashes spread at sea and only wanted the kids and I there.  I bought a cremation necklace for myself and 2 Daughters.  My youngest Daughter filled them with some of my Husbands ashes.  When I wear my necklace, I feel him close to me.   My Grandson, Daughters, and I took a 4 day trip to the ocean and I chartered a boat to take us out to sea.   We each took turns spreading his ashes and saying what we felt.  It was a beautiful experience. 

Comment by AEDforever (Ali) on June 24, 2014 at 2:33pm

IndiaKai...I LOVE your story about this.  It is so important that we find that "right" thing, picture, phrase, wording, etc. to represent the person who was the world to us.  Kudos to you for doing it YOUR way.

Comment by AEDforever (Ali) on June 24, 2014 at 2:31pm

Flannery,  oh how I understand. I do not stare at a vessel, but at a tombstone...but the feelings are the same.  I loved the line "How are your feet, your strong hands, your kind eyes". I have thought of this often as I look at pictures of Paul and try to comprehend what has become of him, his strong hands that I used to hold. I do believe he lives on...but in what form?  His body housed his soul...and was the only tangible way to connect with that soul.  Now that he is gone...the bridge is broken.  It is a difficult thing we must do. Hugs to you.

Comment by flannery on June 2, 2014 at 7:29am

Hi Dianne,tank you for the compliment I did write it. So many times I look at his urn, a gorgeous handmade wood fired piece my best friends husband made and think-you wee 6'4 how is that possible.
Katpilot, I too touch, whisper to and kiss John's urn. Sometimes I just hold it. It gives me some solace to hold "him" even though as you said he's not there but in some way he is still, you know? And it's a way to connect I suppose when I miss him extra badly sometimes as well. Hugs.

Comment by katpilot on June 2, 2014 at 3:40am

So nicely written Flannery.  Yes, I get what you mean about "in here" but how critically important it is to have that urn in my room. Somehow I feel she is around somehow because it is what she last was.

Years before Kathy left, we lost our dog Mindy, Kathy's only child since she never had any of her own. It was so devastating for Kathy and she wanted her cremated and her ashes brought home. We had picked out a pretty gold and black vessel and she would pat it often and say hi.  When I like others  had to go to the funeral home and pick out one, I saw the exact urn as Mindy's but larger. It was so meant to be. Kathy had asked me to combine them both together so now it means even more to have them both here.  I know she's not in there, but she is all around me. That just gives me one more way to touch her. I would always give her a kiss as she lay sleeping and tell her I loved her as I headed off to work. Now I can still do that and I guess it means something to me.

IndiaKai that is so cool. It's not morbid, he must be pleased indeed!  Maybe try just giving yourself a big hug. He is in you. He is part of you now.                                                                                                              

Comment by Dianne in Nevada on June 1, 2014 at 8:39pm

Wow - did you write that flannery? Very powerful.

I'm approaching 4 years this fall and I can still feel that way. 

Comment by IndiaKai on May 30, 2014 at 9:11am

I remember that lost feeling as the funeral home director takes you into the showroom to pick out your items that will hold your husband.  My best friend was with me and I remember the horrified feeling of having to "shop" for these things.  I sat there staring at the wall of urns in complete disgust.  My best friend said she was watching me the entire time and she said I shook my head the while I stood glancing at the items.  I do remember her whispering to me, "none of these work.  I know it and you know it. It's okay. We do not have to pick any of these. We will find something that is more appropriate."  

a day or two later I was standing in our garage just looking at all of my husbands things that decorated his man cave.  I looked up on the shelve along the wall that held all the fancy bottles of Tequila he drank & collected (he was a tequila connoisseur) .  My eyes caught on the large blue and white ceramic bottle. I remember thinking..... bet you didn't know you pick out your own urn 2 years ago.  (i know morbid, but that's what went through my head).  I ended up climbing up there and grabbing that bottle and walked out to my backyard where friends and family where still gathering.  My best friend looked up at me and we locked eyes.  She nodded, "I told you would find something appropriate and I think that item is perfect."

So... he sits in a tequila bottle for now. Until I am ready to find a spot to spread his ashes. 

Comment by alwayshopeful (Jocelyn) on May 29, 2014 at 5:49pm

There was a less expensive vase in a lovely blue at the funeral home, but it had a bisque finish, and I couldn't stand the feel of it. I had a feeling at some point, I would pick up the urn and hold it. Little did I know that holding it would last a long time...

Comment by alwayshopeful (Jocelyn) on May 29, 2014 at 5:47pm

Wow, ladies, powerful stuff!!

Most of my husband's cremains are in a beautiful blue (like his eyes) ceramic vase that is smooth. I say part because I had some of his ashes put into a special container for each of his 3 siblings and each of our kids. His siblings didn't ask for them, but they all seemed to be blown away when I gave each of them their little boxes. Well, he was in their life before mine, right?

I have shared this story before, I believe. A few months after my husband of 37 years died after a grueling nearly 2 year battle with brain cancer, I missed him desperately. I ran around the house, looking for something, anything of his that would comfort me. He wasn't the kind of guy who left anything lying around, so nothing was working.

I finally grabbed the very heavy vase his ashes are in, sat down with him, held him and screamed, cried, sobbed, cried until I literally finally just wore myself out. All the while, I was holding and hugging his ashes so tight. I was spent when I was done keening and crying and screaming. I put his vase back in the dining room with care and went to bed.

The next day, I could barely move my shoulders and arms, I had been hugging him for so long and so hard...

Every now and then when I really need him, I just pick him up and hold him. I do have a small container that I got done for myself that I used to take with me every time I went away from home. My daughter would always say, "Did you take Daddy?" I would chuckle and say, "Of course, you know I did."

At 19 months out in 2 days, I am usually strong enough now to just take his photo with me.

God Bless Us All!!!!

Comment by IndiaKai on May 29, 2014 at 5:15pm

(jagged breathe out) I was just staring at my husbands urn that contains his ashes, which isn't an urn at all. It is a fancy ceramic tequila bottle HE picked out when we were in Puerta Vallarta 2 years ago.  I was staring at it with a complete blank look.  I was thinking,  How did you get there?  how did I get here? What I would give just to collapse in your arms right now. But I can't because you're in that god damn tequila bottle. 

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