Thursday, July 15, 2010

Travels with Mom

In October of 2003 my mom died and it was her desire to give myself and my brother and sister each four urns that we could take on our next four vacations and scatter the ashes.
When all was said and done we were each given one urn by Weil's  Funeral Home in Cincinnati in a very fancy pink cloth box with Chinese lettering and drawings.The remaining ashes were scattered in the gardens at Weil's.
As I left Cincinnati with my family I packed away mom's urn in my luggage and thus began the journey of my mom and the dilemma  of where to put my portion of my mom's remains for all eternity. I took mom on our first family trip to Miami in February of 2004.I contemplated spreading mom's ashes on Collins Avenue where we had gone as kids on winter break.Maybe even outside Rascal House deli where we went for legendary over sized sandwiches .Or the tennis courts at Haulover Park where we as a family spent our afternoons with our friends the Browns.
Nope.I wasn't feeling the connection in Miami.Sorry mom.
 Then that summer we went to the Chesapeake Bay .Mom took the trip and I pondered the right spot to empty the urn but as much as mom would have enjoyed the salt air and beauty of the area it wasn't a place that felt special to me for the purpose of my mom and "eternity".
Eventually I thought that maybe I would be driving down the street and a light bulb would go off in my head and I would grab mom's urn open it up and spread the ashes and  it would make me feel as if I had done my part to help my mom rest in peace as in the movie "Stealing Home" with Mark Harmon and Jodie Foster.Mark Harmon carries the urn everywhere until he realizes the perfect spot is a pier on the Jersey shore where Jodie Foster's character had spoke about fondly.

So I took her urn and stuck it in the back of my already overstuffed SUV.Between the tennis rackets,shirts,shorts and other assorted stuff that I am known for hoarding in my car I placed mom and we set about on our journey.Mom went skiing in the Poconos,she went to the Bahamas.I decided that since we both loved the Bahamas that that would be the place where she would end up.I opened up the case and took out the urn and attempted to open it up......The damn thing was sealed shut! I consulted an urn expert who told me that some funeral homes seal the urns.Should I break open mom's ashes?We went to Italy and France. Then finally I thought I had  figured out the perfect spot.On the mantel at our ski condo in the Pocono Mountains.Mom would have a mountain view.Mom would have peace and quiet.Solitude.For the last five years mom had found her resting spot behind our fireplace.
Then last week as I ventured out to the condo on the way to Williamsport to drop off my son off at baseball camp at Little League International I opened the door and the heat from the hottest week ever in the  Northeast made wish we had some A/C pronto.As I went to open up a few windows and put on a fan I glanced over at the fireplace that  we would not be needing on this balmy weekend.
I caught a glimpse of the case with the urn.I walked over and put it next to my overnight bag.
Now it is back where the journey began in the back of my car.
Although I am not sure if mom will make every trip with me I know that she will always be there with me and my family in spirit.She was an adventurer and was not meant to be stuck on a mantel and then blend in with the scenery.I am sure that some people will say that I have to let go and move on.
Everyone has their own way of dealing with a loss. It's not a tennis match or a baseball game.
It's my mom.So our travels will continue and someday I may find that special place that mom really loved more than anywhere else.
Or maybe she just loved going to a lot of places with her family in tow and we will take her with us?

(left photo is mom with my bro Dave)