We left my mother’s ashes in a crypt in a city she hated. Dead is dead, we said. A bunch of years later, I was coming out of a latrine with my toddlers and there she was. A wisp walking across the dunes toward the lake. Stopped me dead in my tracks. Had to shake it off though. I had the toddlers, and a husband waiting. We had miles to travel still.
When my dad died, that’s when my sister and I decided. Let’s bring her north, put her beside dad. So I called the cemetery where we left her, and said we wanted to ship her out of Houston, send to Seattle to be by her husband. The guy shouted at me. You can’t do that. When you die in Texas, you stay in Texas.
Well, we got busy then. My husband’s a lawyer and he called the Texas funeral association right quick. Told him who he was and what was happening, and what we were thinking of doing. We called the first guy back. What do you know! He would be happy to ship my mom’s ashes, tell him where they should go, where to bill.
And yes. The ashes officially arrived. But none of us want to look too closely. Whose ashes were they really? I figure the guy didn’t want to send them because he’d probably disposed of her, made space for others. You know, we didn’t live there, come to visit, so who would know?