The first time I saw my husband after he died was at his funeral. When it was my turn to enter the church, all 900 pairs of eyes on the widow, the Reverend handed me a black box and gave me a look that said, “Ready, set, go.”
Apparently I was supposed to carry it—to carry Mark—down the aisle. It was a sickening realization that the love of my life, a 290 pound, 6’4” man, was reduced to ashes—11.8 pounds of ashes at that. It seemed a little heavy handed and, frankly, quite morbid to me. But it was too late; the awful organ music had started.
Mark had wanted a Viking Funeral, in which his ashes would be sent out into the Hudson River on a burning raft.
His parents, on the other hand, wanted him to be embalmed, laid out in an open casket, and buried in the cemetery next to his grandmother in Kansas.
The funeral home director, in his expert opinion, steered me toward a glass case of ultra-tacky urns. His favorite was, of course, the most expensive.
And I was just trying to make everyone happy.
The easiest thing to do was just take him home and have him sit safely on a bookshelf. Month after month, he sat there, condensed in a box, surrounded by photographs of his big, beautiful life. And the juxtaposition was awful.
As I packed up the girls to go on vacation and said a teary goodbye to him, promising to be home soon, I realized, “Hey, I can take you with us!” Unlike a body, which must be buried in a permanent location, Mark-in-a-Box could go anywhere, anytime!
In return for this man giving me the three best things that ever happened to me—his love and our two daughters—I vowed to give him the best thing that could ever happen to him after death, a new life!
It started with a sprinkling of ashes in Oregon and ended up being three cross country odysseys in an old, beat up RV I bought for $4,200 for the sole purpose of making the land in each of the 50 states and parts of Canada, his home.
While this blog will give snippets of the upcoming book, it is really just a launching pad filled with weekly musings.