Healthcare is a right

Posted: 31 January 2013
Updated: 12 December 2017

Jenna’s cremation and memories of my grandfather’s death

Today, we got back Jenna’s cremated remains and her dog collar. Justine feels better having the ashes here, and I am finding some comfort by having her collar. The funeral home somehow managed to clean the blood off but they didn’t destroy the collar: it still smells like Jenna. I don’t know why it makes me feel better to hold it in my hands and to be able to smell her.

Seeing Justine’s reaction to the ashes was good for me. My father’s father died about 17 years ago. He was cremated. We put some ashes in a fountain at a place that was special to him (The Club). Someone else took most of the ashes and they were going to spread them somewhere else (river? lake? air?). I was barely 20 and had never dealt with losing someone so close to me. The funeral and cleaning his apartment were also complete chaos, so I was very confused about how I felt, what I needed, and what I was allowed to ask for. I did ask for, however, some of the ashes, so I could spread some of them in my own little ceremony. I was given an old pill bottle full of ashes.

I never found the right time or place to spread his ashes. For many years, I kept the pill bottle in my car. For another four years, I kept them on my desk. In 17 years, I never found the right way to let go of them. After seeing how Justine felt better having Jenna’s ashes, though, I don’t think I have to spread his ashes. I think I am allowed to hold on to them. I love Pa (I named him that–I couldn’t say Grandpa), and I can’t believe it has been so long since he died. He is still part of my life, and I’m going to keep his ashes.

I originally posted this on Facebook.

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