A while back I was in the process of remodeling my home. In that long and arduous process I was staying in an older rather beat-up RV waiting for my new home to be completed. The time was spent dodging boxes and piles of goods stored in the RV with me to keep them from the dust and debris associated with a remodel.
Included in that mess that was the box that held the ashes of my wonderful and loving deceased husband. Truth be told, I wasn’t ready to let go of Gabe yet and had kept that box under what had been his pillow in the bed next to me. It is a surprisingly small box. Only 3 inches tall by 7 inches long by 4 inches wide. It surprised me that there was so little left to commemorate an entire life!
I often found myself waking in the morning with my hand gently resting on that box as if it did contain some semblance of my lost and sorely missed love. Some of you may find that creepy, but don’t judge until you have lost the love of your life and try desperately to find comfort where you can.
Anyway… back to my story.
Finally the day came when the move was to take place. I had a bunch of volunteers that weekend helping. They moved everything into the house from the RV and the storage shed and then began gutting the interior of that RV.
You see I have a lot of visitors at my place that tend bring children with them. I needed somewhere for them to play and have some fun so we decided to convert that older RV into a childs playhouse. People went to town, ripping out old appliances, walls wiring and basically everything left inside that RV that may have been a problem for the kids.
the construction was soon to start on the new playhouse. All the trash from the remodeling of the house, RV and the move in between, was tossed onto trailers and hauled away to the dump.
Sigh… Finally I got to move into my new home. Several friends helped me to decorate, organize and basically move back into my home in comfort and style.
After a day or two I realized something was missing. Gabe’s ashes had not been returned to his sanctuary beneath his pillow. Where was he?
I began to search the house for the box that held his ashes. I looked in closets, cabinets, under the sink anywhere I could think of that someone might unknowingly place this anonymous box being unaware of the contents. No luck!
I began calling people who had helped that day and several came to help me search. Finally, frantic, I became convinced that the box had inadvertently been thrown onto the trailer that then sent to the dump.
I became inconsolable. How horrid of a wife was I that I let my husband be thrown in the trash to spend eternity in the city dump. I was wracked with guilt and shame. How could I have let this happen.
Why didn’t I spread his ashes instead of hold onto them? I had made a promise to him as to where I would spread the ashes but have not yet been able to keep that promise. I was holding onto the box in anticipation of keeping that promise. It might have been wiser just to spread them elsewhere, anywhere in hindsight. Now he was at the dump.
For days it was impossible to talk to me without my bursting into tears at my own shame. I had let him down.
Tom, A dear, close friend was also my contractor working on the playhouse in the RV. He spoke with me one morning and told me basically it was time to move on and stop grieving over a box of ashes. I knew he was full of crap but wasn’t gonna tell him so. I just nodded and said “You’re right!” He then went out to the RV and began the process of changing it into a playhouse for kids.
It wasn’t long before he returned with a huge grin on his face carrying the small box that held my Dear Husband Gabriel. “Look what fell behind the shelf where the bed had been.” He exclaimed with a smile from ear to ear.
Relief, joy and tears flowed from me like a New Mexico thunderstorm, fast wild and unrestrained.
Finally After all the calls had been made explaining that Gabe had been found Tom and I sat in the livingroom talking. This is where I truly found out how dear my friends are. Tom says, “Ya, know, you have to admit, this whole thing was rather funny!”
After a few seconds of shock I exploded into laughter. Tom was right. I had almost thrown away my husbands ashes. Images of sitcom and stupid movie plots rushed through my mind as I realized the stupidity of the whole situation.
I had never lost Gabe. I had only thought I had. It was kind of a metaphor to the grief of his loss. I never really have lost him. He is still with me in my heart. Just as his ashes showed up to create joy and humor, his memory returns in the same manner.
Meanwhile, Gabe has been resting in a quiet, respectful spot awaiting the day I am able to fulfill the promise made to him.