Grandmother wanted to sprinkle her husbands ashes somewhere he might like to be rather than leave him in the blue urn in her closet.
Several years ago there was a death in the family, he was the man married to grandmother. He was not my grandfather, nor did he ever try to be, he adored his alcohol and mean-spirited nature far too much for anything else. This is how I came to know him and now remember him. I doubt he started out that way, he must have had some good qualities. He occasionally did projects around the house handyman type things, he did wood working for a while and produced furniture and in his later years picked up a paintbrush and challenged the canvas and showed his work at art shows. I only saw his work hanging in the garage.
When I was a young latch-key kid in middle school I had gone over to grandmother’s house after school, I didn’t want to go home and be alone. He was there, answered the door and screamed at me to never come to their house again. I was terrified of him ever since as I headed toward home feeling frightened, devastated, unloved and unwanted. Many angry tirades and frightening outbursts during family gatherings like holiday dinners were inflicted upon my fragile soul and of course, everyone else in attendance.
During his final illness, I approached his hospital bed in the back bedroom feeling brave that he could not harm me and asked if he was working on getting better. He replied, No. He looked at me and then away. I did not know what to say or do with this and simply left the room. The threat was finally over, I thought. I did not make the effort to see him again while he was alive, just in the other room when I would go visit grandmother. Now and then I would hear her in there, yelling and arguing with him.
It was a warm summer day, a good day for a car ride with grandmother and the urn in tow. After a few hours of drive time we found a location that was warm, had art shows now and then, with trees and grass for dogs to wander and play (he seemed to love dogs more than people) grandmother said a prayer from a little prayer-book. The ashes were removed from the urn, now in a plastic bag with a twist tie which we untied and sprinkled him there, in the back and out-of-the-way. I know this was what grandmother wanted to do but, it was difficult for her none the less. I was not emotional in the least little bit, maybe this was a source of strength for her, maybe not. She had wanted to do this for some time and that day had come.
I want to be sprinkled over the ocean, if there is anyone left when it’s my time to go.