I never thought of myself as the type of person who would want to have a dead body in my dining room.
Like you I have laughed at the slap stick scenes in movies where Great Aunt So-in-so's cremains get knocked over or thrown out or as the family scatters the cremains off a mountain, the wind blows the wrong direction and they all end up inhaling and covered in their dead love one.
When the funeral home asked if I wanted to separate his cremains into more than one package, my initial answer was "no way, but as I exhaled, I knew that my sister and I would want to have our own small ceremony with our children one day when we can all get together.
On my way home from the funeral last month, I traveled with my dad through the Atlanta airport security and when asked what was in the box as they swiped it for explosives or gun powder, I proudly answered, "That is my father."
Jason states that I said this with the tone and inflection of Anakin Skywalker, aka Darth Vader, telling Luke that he was his "faaather." I think this has all been exaggerated as I am not a dramatic person. I was just irritated that we had to play this game. They knew what was inside the damn box. It clearly states it on the top of the damn box.
I brought my Dad home and found that the shelves that have sat empty for two years were the perfect place to put my Dad and his trains. They sit right above the sand I brought home from our beach stay in California and directly below animal bones my kids and I have rescued from drainage areas and hikes up at our old house in the mountains.
Again, never in a million years would I have thought myself the type to want to keep a dead person's burnt bits or as my Mamaw calls them the "cooked person", in my home, but I quickly have found a sweet comfort having him up on that shelf.
Jason said to the other night, "You finally have your dad where you have always longed for him to be, home with you."
He was right, I have yearned for my dad for decades. He was absent as many military parents are, but unfortunately, he was also absent even when he was home. I have waited for 30 some years to have my dad be home and to not cause trouble or stress me out with worry. I have an answered prayer in my home now. No more drama, fear or worry. My dad is now home, able to watch my children grow, and available for me to talk to in the middle of the night when I wake up worried and scared.
I don't have to visit a grave far off in another state, he is here in my dining room, which is an extension of my family room. He will bet with us at every meal we share at our table. He will watch over the St. Patty's Day meal and green drinks. He will watch over the Easter Egg dying. He is facing out my bay window where he will see the trees come back to life and he has the best view of the moon windows at the top of bay window area. From his location, you can watch the full moons slowly move from left to right in the wee hours of the morning. He will be here for the birthday parties that the summer bring. And he will be here when we put our Christmas tree up and when Santa arrives.
I hadn't realized how much having that black box would mean to me.
The shelf my dad is on is right behind our dinner table. I truly like having my dad be with us every night as we sit down to our family dinner. We had joked that maybe we would put a photo of him on the front of the box, but I really don't want to see his creepy face staring at me, nor do I want to freak the kids out. It is enough that his hat is on the box. The simple black box is plenty.
We will see how the year plays out for me. If I am blessed to be able to afford to take my kids on a vacation with my sister and her family, we will create a ceremony for our children to be a part of to say good-bye to man they never really knew, but who none the less was their Grandfather. They will know him through our stories and photos from years gone by. What a precious gift we have been given that they didn't have to see what he became. My sister and I have the blessing to share only the parts of our childhood when he was our "Daddy".
I am already pretty certain, I will keep a good portion of him in the black box to stay with me for always.
It is good to have my Dad home.