I am trying to keep perspective and look for my lessons in all of this.
What is Kai trying to tell me?
What am I supposed to learning?
I woke up fairly early the morning after Kai’s service, after going to bed around 1am. I was mad at myself for not sleeping longer but once I was up that was it. It was so quiet. My arms were empty and the air was cold. I didn’t want to get out of bed but I was restless. I laid their thinking of all the ways I could fill my time that day. My mind began racing with errands and tasks I could or should be doing. Racing to fill the time and mask the fact that I really had NOTHING to do at all.
As I got up and walked to the living room, avoiding even looking in the direction of Kai’s room, I realized the world outside was covered in a soft blanket of pure white snow. Suddenly the cold in the air felt right.
This is what I needed. A sign to remind me to just be and do nothing at all. To rest and snuggle and stay warm and finally take a few moments for myself.
I sat quietly all morning, just me and the dog on the couch, literally doing nothing. I thought about taking a shower or making some breakfast but when I got up I just paced around the house. I haven’t been able to just wake up and take a shower and make breakfast for myself in two years. It was like I forgot how, it just didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel like eating or getting cleaned up for the day.
I still cannot stand to turn on the TV. TV is normal mundane life, and I don’t live there anymore. The commercials and sitcoms and Christmas, its all just to much…or to little. It’s a waste of time when I have nothing but time to waste but I can’t stand it. I’d rather sit in silence in front of a fire all day just staring into the light. Fire is real. It’s warm and snugly and simple. It’s just enough right now. And what better way to spend a snowy Saturday than curled up next to a crackling fire anyway.
After Mark woke up we ended up going to the funeral home to pick up the plants and some of Kai’s things…oh and Kai. When I picked up the urn, the funeral director proudly told me the urn was securely glued, so I didn’t have to worry. I felt my heart sink… ‘what do you mean it is glued?’ I didn’t know it would be glued. I still haven’t decided what I want to do with Kai’s ashes. Will we bury them, scatter them, put them in a necklace to have and to hold forever? I felt like I wanted to see the ashes, maybe even touch them. And now they were trapped in this cold little urn forever?? I wanted to smash it right there in the parking lot just to see what would happen. I wanted to throw a tantrum and yell and scream and cry, because now I would NEVER see my baby again! But I held it together. I smiled and said it was ok and that I would figure it out, and I packed up the urn with the flowers and photos in the back of my car and drove away.
I really had no plans for the ashes, it was something I have been struggling with for weeks. I tried to convince myself that this was a sign. A sign that the ashes don’t mean anything. That Kai is gone and holding onto these ashes doesn’t bring me any closer to him. I tired to convince myself this was a lesson in letting go.
I asked Mark if it would be okay to visit some of the cemeteries in town before going home. We had been considering getting a plot for Kai, a place we could go when the rest of the world was too much to bare. A place where anyone could go when they thought of Kai or wanted to talk to him. I have never believed much in cemeteries but since considering Kai’s death the past few months the thought of having a place to go started to make some sense. I figured if he was glued shut in there, maybe we should just bury him and that would be that. Maybe this was what was best after all.
So we went.
Apparently there are 5 cemeteries in town. I knew of three. The first one we went to was on a street I rarely drive on. It was tucked away set back from the street at the edge of a lake. There are old tombstones in the front sitting a top small tree lined hills. The grass and stones and roads were all covered in snow, but you could see tracks from a car that drove thought the gate earlier in the morning.
It sounds pretty nice as I describe it here, as far as cemeteries go anyway, but as we drove through up past the old stones into area where the new plots are being placed…well it just felt so wrong. We pulled up over the hill to a flat empty field. There were about 20 shiny new stones in the left corner of the field. There were mounds of new dirt and grass covering freshly buried caskets. There was a fence way in the back keeping them all in. Not a pretty white picket fence, just a fence. It looked like a new development where only a few houses had been built and the rest was just desperate dirt plots waiting for someone to claim them.
I don’t want it come here to remember Kai. I don’t want to sit here surrounded by shiny stones of people I don’t know, with my little baby under the earth trapped in a urn glued shut. I don’t believe in cemeteries I never have.
Mark tried to see the bright side of the place. He saw the lake and said that would be nice. He liked that it was far off the street and mentioned it probably won’t look so bad when the weather is a little nicer. I pointed out that the dog seemed pretty anxious in the back seat since driving into this place and I think we should try to check out another one.
We drove around town and found two more. The second was even worse than the first and the third we just drove past.
We spent the rest of the day at home and glancing over to the urn on the mantel, It felt ok. I discovered that since it is glued so tightly shut I can turn the urn upside down and listen to the ashes move from one side to the other like a rain stick. It sounds chunkier than I imagined. You can here fine dust, but also bigger pieces. I wonder if those larger pieces may be metal parts of his shunt or many pieces of bone.
Is it weird to wonder these things? Is it weird to listen to the ashes moving back and forth? To want to open it up and touch them? I’v always been this way I guess. No matter how terrible a procedure Kai had to go through or how bad the outcome looked I’d rather be there with him, know the truth, experience it fully. I guess it’s no different now.