Ashes to Ashes.

Or should I call it “Pieces of my mother” or simply “Mothers Day”? I considered “Memories on Mothers Day” but I didn’t remember last Sunday was mothers day until yesterday. My mom died a few years back, it was in December but I don’t dwell on the date, it doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is that she is no longer with us and I miss her.

Of course the family got together and shared memories, mostly sickeningly sweet ones about how wonderful she was, glossing over the parts that didn’t make her look so good. Like the time she confessed to me that after our cat “Fluffly” (how original) had a litter of kittens, most of which we couldn’t get rid of, when as if by magic, they were all adopted, seemingly overnight. While the truth was that mom drove them to a wooded area and left them on the side of the road. I’m pretty sure I was the only one she told. Mom also admitted to me when I was in my late teens that when she found out she was pregnant with me, she drank a bottle of castor oil in an attempt to lose the baby (me). I eventually got over it, but geez mom!!

When I’m not dwelling on kittens on the side of the road or mom trying to off me, most memories are pretty good. She was a child of both the depression and WWII, who put it all down on film for my nieces school project, I’ve yet to see it, shame on me.

Mom liked to take in strays, people, not cats, and as far as I know, she didn’t leave any of them on the side of the road. After she divorced my alcoholic dad, there was a new face at every family gathering, usually someone who had no place else to go. And no one left empty handed, not if mom could help it, she always made twice as much food as necessary to feed whoever showed up. Mom was the hostess for all holidays, going so far as to have the family and anyone else who wished to attend at her house for lunch on Sundays, then it changed to Wednesdays because too many of us got jobs that included working Sundays. Then it was Thursdays, then she died. My son was fond of saying “Grandma makes Mother Teresa look like the devil.” and wanted to put it in her obit. I nixed the idea, it may have offended someone and mom would not have liked that…probably.

That said…when mom died, we had her cremated and then it was suggested that we all (kids, grand-kids, etc) keep some of the ashes. Most of us did, I even had a small tin tea box for that purpose, but the more I thought about it the creepier it became. Why would I want a piece of my dead mother in the box on the mantel? Or anyplace else for that matter? I declined the offer and have since wondered what would people do if they decided not to bury or cremate a dead loved one? Should they divvy up the body?

“I always liked her feet, can I get one for old times sake? How about a hand? Knee-cap? fingers, toes? Does anyone want the head”? Maybe 20 years ago, but not since cancer and chemo got to her. An arm? which part, upper or forearm? Heart? Kinda creepy. Liver, spleen, kidneys (when I see or think of the word Kidney, it conjures up “steak and kidney pie” I wonder why?) Definitely not the lungs, she had lung cancer, then again, if it was only one, you could do a comparison display, right lung with cancer, left lung without. There are quite a few choices and even though she was slim and trim, there was still plenty to go around, of course you’d need something bigger than a tin tea box.

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