Dad’s taught me so much of what I know; how to tie my laces, how to ride a bike, how to swim, how to be facetious and mostly get away with it, how to pull funny pranks on mates…and the important things; like how to be a good friend, how to really listen to someone, how to mingle at parties, what to look for in a life partner…there are so many things that Dad taught me, I can scarcely list them all.
Memories come to mind of Dad – brought on usually by scents or songs. …Dad laughing as I told him a stupid joke, Dad shaking his head and rubbing his forehead in exasperation when we didn’t agree (which was a lot), Dad putting his thumbs in the waistband of his pants – which was a sign of danger and meant that Dad was close to breaking point and about to start really yelling, Dad patting my knee fondly when we’d sit on the bench waiting for my psych appointment when I was much younger or the way Dad would rub the tops of my shoulders whenever I was scared; “it’s okay, Darl”.
I can hear his gruff voice when I close my eyes.
I miss him. So much.
It’s weird what you remember after someone you love is gone.
Mom wanting to release Dad’s ashes into the river really upset me. I’m not ready to let him go.
To try to alleviate my suffering, I asked Mom if I could please have “a tiny bit of Dad’s ashes” to mix in with the soil on the Magnolia tree we have. It’s a tiny thing, just a baby tree. A ‘treelette’ if you will. It will probably take 50 years to see it as a fully grown tree, but I like the idea of watching it grow and having a solid thing to talk to and hang out with. A piece of my Dad. This is special for these reasons:
- Dad loved trees and nature so this is very fitting for him
- Magnolias are very special because we spent 15 years in the Northern Territory on MAGNOLIA CLOSE.
I held my breath waiting for Mom to reply and when she did, tears of relief ran down my face: “Of course, sweetheart – your Dad would like that a lot”.
1 problem down. 1 to go – how to get the ashes from Mom and how to transport them.
My Dad’s ashes, you guys.
The burnt bits of his body.
How are we as a society okay with this???
I can’t sometimes. I can’t dwell on it because it always has me crying hard at the thought that my 6-foot-tall Dad is now ashes in a copper urn.
Absurdly, I thought a small plastic container would do.
In my mind’s eye, I could even see Dad laughing about it “I’m not too good for tupperwear, Chook! Hahahahaha!”.
No, you’re not. You’ve always been a humble man, God bless you.
Alun was appalled at the idea.
A small cardboard box arrived in the mail a few days later and Alun formally presented it to me.
“It’s for you, Gorg”
Is it perfume? No – maybe earrings???
I was so excited. I giggled as I tore the sticky tape off.
Alun put his hand over mine “Slow down, tiger – this is special and will probably make you cry”
I opened it carefully now. Biting my lip.
Alun was right, when I unraveled the tissue paper, I cried at the sight of a little pink urn – probably the size of an eraser. It was very heavy. Solid.
In tears, I thanked Alun. To make light of the situation, I made a big show of ‘weighing’ the urn in my hand; “Dad’s lost a bit of weight”.
Alun chuckled and shook his head.
I couldn’t face seeing Dad’s big urn, so Alun went. He took a paper funnel with him so he wouldn’t “spill” any of Dad as he carefully transferred his ashes from one urn to another.
Crying as I type this to you. I never thought we’d be having this conversation…about my Dad’s ashes.
When I can muster up the courage, I’ll tip some of Dad’s ashes into the soil in the pot the Magnolia tree is growing. Not all, because Alun is very taken with the pink urn and even took it with him to the pub the other day, so he could “have a pint with the old man”.
A pint of Guiness. My Dad’s favourite.
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