ashes

On Friday, I picked up Dad’s ashes from the funeral home and brought him the cemetery and oversaw him being installed in his last resting place. I was surprised heavy his remains are. I didn’t think I’d want him resting anywhere. He’s no longer in that body, so what’s the difference? But he has high school friends from Korea who want to come visit, and for myself and the kids, in the end, it turns out I’m glad, actually, we have a place to visit.

His friend Mr. Park visited him yesterday and said he had a good spiritual connection and that dad had a wonderful sense of calm and peace. That’s nice.

That’s not what I feel. I feel like I’m wandering, wondering where he is. I miss him, I think, even though he’s been missing for a while, due to that pesky dementia.

But as I told a friend, death was always intimidating, and by that, I mean the experience of it, but also people who had experienced loss. It seems impossibly sophisticated and grown up, which is never really in my wheelhouse. But now that I’m on the other side of it too, I suppose it’s also ordinary. It seems much larger before you go through it, like a wave about to crash on your head. It seems overwhelming and then it fades away.

Except those stupid feelings. When the guard drove us to the mausoleum, I recognized him — my babysitter’s husband. I asked if he had met my mother and he said “I’ve only met your dad,” I resisted pointing to the bag at my feet and saying “he’s here too.” Why did I censure that thought? It’s not like I come across as that normal. What is Normal?

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