Monday, January 22, 2007

24. Angelo’s Ashes

{ Mario writes this time }

I had been out of town when Violet had the memorial for Angelo. Traveling for business and the holiday season had kept me from being there. When I settled back in, I called Violet up and asked her out to lunch.

She had recently returned from China, a trip she had planned some time before Angelo’s death. Violet decided it would be a good thing to go on a journey.

After Isabel had passed away, I took a trip to Italy. It was our last trip together. I had obtained a heart- shaped urn made from a biodegradable paper, so that when we finally parted and she remained in the earth, her ashes to go back into the ground after a short time.

I chose Assisi. We had been there and loved it together. Years before with my baby son, I had spent many weeks there. He had taken his first steps in Assisi. It was a place I would return to over the years.

With the help of a friend, we obtained the consent to have Isabel’s ashes buried in a holy spot, a place where Francis of Assisi had gone to meditate and pray, the Eremo delle Carceri. Near his cave, there was a tree up on the hillside.

Some time before, I had struggled with the reality of her ashes. I couldn’t bear to take them out of the plastic container and put them into the cotton sack and then into the urn. I had to ask my son to help me with it.

So when Violet asked me at lunch to help her divide Angelo’s ashes in two, I had to take a step into an unknown room that I had avoided. I still have my cat’s ashes in the closet and cannot bear to deal with even those.

But I could understand Violet’s grief and told her not to worry. She wanted to divide them, one part for his golfing buddies to take to the golf course, and the other to their old neighborhood in the Hudson Valley in New York.

I know the spirit is gone and the flesh and bones have been made as safe and as neutral as can be. And as I opened the box to split Angelo’s ashes, it couldn’t have been easier. It was as if something that I had dreaded for all these years was suddenly rendered without the charge I had assigned to it. I felt freed, and it was soothing to be able to help a friend who was still in the darkness of the tunnel of grief. Even if I dropped a little of the dust around the kitchen, accidentally, it didn't seem to upset the cosmic order of things.

I’m not going anywhere else with this; Ann has been asking me to write something about the experience.

I don’t have a lot of feeling for the body after life has left it. I don’t need to wash it or caress it or kiss it. What I am connected to isn’t the flesh as much as the spirit that embodies the flesh. And once it has passed over, to continue to try and connect with a lifeless corporeal object is, to me, a disregard for the person and their energy. I am fine with talking to them inside my mind and dreaming about them and being reached out to by them for our future communications. That’s just the way it has to be.

Now I just have to decide which kind of urn they’ll maybe put my ashes in someday. Right now I have my eyes on a biodegradable one that you can throw into the ocean like a Frisbee.

Or maybe just a simple recycled bag, from say, In-N-Out?

Ann adds: See why I love this guy so much?


Blogger girlysmack said...

Brilliant. Yes, Ann, I do see.

11:33 AM  

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