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Ashes to Ashes, Concrete to Concrete

This is not really about a funeral but a memorial for my dad. He had told everyone that he wanted his ashes spread over a body of water near his childhood home. So my mom hires a boat and invites all the relatives.

Now my immediate family did not live in this area and only saw them every couple of years or so because of the distance. Even so, during these visits most of the near-by relatives would be invited to my grandparent’s house for dinner and socializing. Always missing was Aunt Miriam. I never knew when very young why Aunt Miriam was not invited but later heard how she was mad at some relative or another. Because of this, I don’t really remember Aunt Miriam at all.

The day of the memorial everyone is to meet at my grandparent’s house. We are all getting re-acquainted because we had not seen each other in several years. Then Aunt Miriam arrives. She introduces herself and soon starts in on who is going to ride with whom down to the harbor. Then she says that she is not driving and everyone will have to move their cars so she can leave her car closer to the house. This starts a discussion on who should move their cars and who is driving to the harbor. This is about 5 minutes before we are scheduled to leave for the boat ride. Aunt Rita comes in and asks what the problem is? Someone says that we need to move cars so those that aren’t driving can park closer to the house. Aunt Rita says, “Who is causing all this problem now? Oh, let me guess…. It’s Miriam.” Cars get moved and we finally made it down to the boat.

Now this is the weird part. Aunt Miriam comes over to sit by me and I make polite conversation with her for a few minutes. Typical things, the kids, where I live now, my husband, etc. Then she starts in, ” Why are we on the boat?”

“We are spreading the ashes.”

“Oh, he was cremated? You know, you don’t really get their ashes. Yes, that’s not allowed. You just get a box of concrete. That’s what I call it, concrete, because that’s what it looks like. They have to keep the real ashes for 7 years in case there was foul play. Yep, in case they have to be checked later. Besides, I know that there is only this much left of the body after cremation.”  At this point she holds out her pinky finger to demonstrate the size. “That’s right. Only this much. The rest is just concrete.”  At this point, I notice another relative and make a point of saying, “Oh, there’s Jane. I need to catch up with her right now.”  Later, when the ashes were dumped, she said, “See, concrete,” to those nearby her.

Later on the ride back, Aunt Miriam was sitting near Cousin Mark. I walked by and she said to Cousin Mark, “Oh, there’s Patricia. I was telling her the real story of the ashes.”  Mark raised his eyebrows but I just shrugged my shoulders and moved on.

The whole incident was just so weird. I told my brother about it later and had a bit of a laugh about her craziness. He had been on the boat but was talking with someone else during the revelation. 10-07-08

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Kitty November 8, 2009, 7:22 pm

    What a strange woman and what peculiar behaviour! She’s entirely wrong regarding cremation, of course, though I suspect you figured that out as soon as she started talking!

  • Patti March 16, 2010, 3:09 am

    Okay, even if she thought this how cold/heartless can you be to tell the daughter?

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