The prospect of interring your spouse is a bit like being asked to sleep with Prince Charles. In a way, it should be a great honour, but you’d give anything not to have to do it.
Regular readers of this blog know that we are engaged in a kind of stand-off, the Box of Ashes and me. We have spent the past 32 months eyeballing each other across a no-mans land of fury and disbelief.
“What are you going to do with me now then, eh?” Box seems to taunt, and I, and I…I simply close the wardrobe door and walk away.
For this is about more than just putting a box of dust into the ground. It marks The End in so many more ways than one. Interring the ashes is the interment of dreams, of a future planned. It makes the truth indisputable – He is well and truly gone.
A few months ago, I bought a plot in a woodland cemetery. The nice man met me there and by the end of the conversation I was so enthused by the idea of becoming part of ancient woodland, of the ongoing cycle of life, that I could barely wait to get in there myself never mind bury my husband. I whipped out my chequebook and reserved our spot there and then.
But when I returned home and opened the wardrobe, the sight of Box undid all of the good work of the nice man. Letting Box go felt like…well, letting go.
On Saturday I visited the plot for the first time with my daughter. We planted a tree – a wild cherry, symbolic of Mark’s love for the cherry blossom of His days in Japan. It is nothing but a thin twig at present, but it was lovingly allotted and bedded-down by my daughter’s welly boot and will flourish and grow along with her. And sure enough, during the ceremony, amid the mud and the mizzle, a sensation returned. Irrefutably, there it was – a feeling of oneness and peace.
Box still taunts from the wardrobe, but my feeling is his time may be up.
19 thoughts on “Letting Box go”
Oh Lucy how brave you and B are. I hope Mark gets to lie underneath the cherry blossom and you get your wardrobe back! I so miss your blog. The book made me feel as though I had someone who understood 100%. Please keep writing. I laugh out loud and cry at the same time I read your stuff. So uplifting. Take care.
Aww, hello lovely you, thank you for this message! I miss the interaction from the blog, always so nice to hear from people. So please the book made you feel less alone, I do too knowing you are there. Much love xx
The cherry is growing; Box is stuck. You’ll think of something, when the time is right.
What lovely words, and how lovely to hear from you! Thank you. I note you are still blogging yourself – delighted. Hope the memoir is similarly progressing! Xx
My son and I scattered my husbands ashes in the beautiful crematorium gardens. We then went to a favourite cafe of mine for cake and coffee. I said ruefully that I had never managed to get Martin to go to this lovely coffee shop. My son, looked down at my shoes which I discovered were all dusty, dare I say ashy, and commented, “you have now”. Irreverent but still gives me a private chuckle. It’s good to see a lighter side. 💭
I am for irreverence all the way…how else can we cope?? Great story about the coffee shop, thanks for sharing it! Hugs to you x
Oh Lucie, you’re getting there. And there’s no time limit for dealing with M’s ashes, just as there’s no time limit for grief itself. I wanted to scatter G’s ashes really quickly and got annoyed with his parents cos they weren’t ready, but we got there in the end. I do remember a good friend telling me to remember to stand up-wind tho – which was really good advice until the wind changed. G would have appreciated it tho. Love & hugs xx
I love that – interment has no time limit, just like grief itself. Spoken like a true widow ( and by that I mean that only WE understand). Thank you Fi. As for standing downwind – that strikes me as good advice! Love love to you my friend. Xx
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So pleased to see you pop back up in my emails. Went straight to it and left the other 24 till later. Miss your blog but feel that we all our ‘moving on’. Loved your book. Laughed and cried. Sad when I finished it too. What a lovely thing to do buying a small plot of land I wish I’d thought of that I scattered Ian at osmotherley very close to where we scattered my mam. Ironic really as they were never that close when they were both alive 😉 love and hugs to you lucie. Xxx
Hello lovely, great to hear from you, thanks for the warm and supportive comment it means a lot. Moving forward indeed, although we may not feel like it sometimes. Love and hugs to you my friend. X
I wrote a comment 2 days ago – but POOF, it’s disappeared. I wanted to tell you how happy I was to see your post. and how lovely that you found that beautiful woodland that now has a Cherry Tree planted on the plot for your dear Mark; nice that it harkens back to the time he was in Japan. and next spring when it’s grown a bit and covered with fragrant, pink blossoms, your sweet Daughter will remember you taking her there for the planting and packing the earth around it with her wellie. as for the Box that still resides in the wardrobe, you are wise to let it go and let time do it’s work to let you know when you are ready.
much love and warm hugs to you, Lucie.
Hi Karen darling, so good to have a message from you, I do hope you’re doing OK. Yes, the cherry blossom with be lovely to visit when the weather improves – and soon the ashes will be alongside it. Warmest hugs to you my friend. As always, XX
I think what you wrote says a lot what i feel for me my wife passed away in sept 13 and now its seem yesterday but its been 5 months i am in hell hate the day time as i find i am in a dream ,my soul mate is not here i wish i when i go to sleep i will not wake up. Family and friends are good but the pain is so deep the only thing i look foreword is the pill that helps me sleep ,All through the night i keep putting my arm out to touch my love Marita and she is not there ,I died the night she died my body don’t know it yet
Hi James. Thanks for reading and for the comment. Firstly, so sorry for the loss of Marita. Five months is a still very early on this road – I can totally relate to wanting to sleep, for time to pass so that the pain will stop. I never believed people who said that it gets easier, but in a sense, it has to. As Roxanne said in previous comment, you just get used to pushing it aside, turning it off. I am at three years and have accepted that I will never accept that Mark has gone from my life, I will always reach for him across the bed as you do Marita, but somehow, in accepting this, it helps me to move forward. I am not seeking that holy grail of ‘acceptance’ therefore I am free of it. Part of me died along with Mark, definitely, and it has been replaced my something akin to mettle (or metal!), I am both strengthened and weakened by it depending on the hour. Friends and family are essential, but ultimately, like death itself, this is something you will work out yourself, and with the support of people who have been through it, like myself and others who comment on here and elsewhere. I really feel for you and send you strength to get through today. X
Thank you so much,Marita was twelve years younger than i it was love at first sight both of us knew we where soul mates from the moment we met,twenty five years together in that time we had no more than six nights apart where we lived or i still live is the country we did not need anyone else in our life every morning i awoke and told her i loved her she would smile and say I love you more.What started as a small pain ended in bladder cancer and death with in twelve weeks all the time i was by her side in hospital I felt so bloody helpless i was meant to protect her and i couldn’t. We always used to say we would die together thats what we both wished for ,I would have given up my life for her in a heart beat i told her that i wish so much it was me with the cancer not her, She would look me in the eyes and say no way, Her birthday is coming up and i feel at the end of my rope mentally and physically I never used to believe in hell i do now i am there
Jim, much of what you express echoes my situation – Mark was absolutely my soulmate, love at first sight, never spent more than a few nights apart in our entire relationship. I used to have a mawkish fear that I would lose him, even before he first fell ill. It was unthinkable to me that if he died, I would ever find the courage or desire to go on. BUT. Such is the resilience of the human spirit. You are still here, albeit at the end of a very frayed and worn-out tether. Birthdays or anniversaries of any sort are bloody hard, even now, three years down the road, I still get anxious at the prospect of significant dates. This is normal and to be expected. In fact, everything you are expressing is normal. But would Marita want you to live in hell forever? I don’t know her, but I can guess. You are at five months, the agony has not had time to abate. Be kind to yourself. There’s an amazing Dean Koontz quote which gives me great comfort, which I posted in the comments section not long ago – I’ll find it once I’ve responded to this and post it again for you to read. It probably won’t make sense to you yet – it took me a long time before it made sense to me. But one day, it might provide you with some comfort too. I feel for you Jim, I really do. It is a unique agony. But you are not alone. Huge hugs to you. XX
“Grief can destroy you –or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. OR you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn’t allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it. But when it’s over and you’re alone, you begin to see that it wasn’t just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together or worrying over a high electric bill. It was everything, it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it. The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can’t get off your knees for a long time, you’re driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss. And the ache is always there, but one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life.” (Dean Koontz)
“The prospect of interring your spouse is a bit like being asked to sleep with Prince Charles. In a way, it should be a great honour, but you’d give anything not to have to do it.”
I love this sentence.
Thank you for blogging about this. I am constantly teetering on the brink of widowhood, my husband keeps telling me it is going to happen and I needed to see what to expect. Thank you for writing about this loss. And I am so sorry that you have it to write about.
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