We were watching a movie the other night that included a scene of a cremation. James is seven and turned to me asking what they were doing. I explained to him that sometimes people choose to not to be buried when they die, but burned, usually to have their ashes spread at a place that they love to spend time at, or that has become special to them over the course of their lives.
That one sparked a conversation….
He asked me what I wanted to happen when I die, so I told him that I wanted to be cremated and have my ashes tossed off the pier on Tybee island outside of Savannah… He asked me why and I told him that to me it’s always been a place of extreme peace, I love to sit there and watch the sunrise over the ocean. But… that more than likely nobody would find the time to do it and I would end up in the bottom of the closet in my bedroom with all of the shoes that get lost.
He assured me that he would see to it that I ended up where I wanted to be, so I asked what he thought he might want to have happen when he dies. He thought about it for a while then told me that he would want his ashes spread over the front yard. I asked him why and he said, “I love it out there. Nobody bothers me. I can build a fort anywhere I want to and set things up just like they should be….”
Then he surprised me by continuing with this..
“I miss grand daddy. He always told me about how things were around here when he was little and I like to play like he is little again and out there with me helping me build things. He knew about all the guns I have and told me how each one works, I miss that too.. Do you miss him sometimes?”
I told him that I did. He then wanted to go riding around on the Kawasaki mule and have me tell him about what things were like when I was little, that’s one of his favorite things to do. So we went out about nine o’clock that night, loaded up the mule with all manner of toy guns and headed out at walking speed… We circled the yard, then went off into the woods, I told him about everything we saw. I pointed out all of the coolest trees, showed him where I played as a kid, told him about the cookouts we had and the games we played, told him about the trampoline we had that was like the one he has. We then went up the road and I pointed out where houses used to be and who used to live where and who they were. He sat quietly and listened to everything I said, prompting me from time to time to go somewhere and tell him about something I had talked about before.. We had a long ride that night.
The dogs were running along side the mule with us as we drove about, it was quite the parade we had going on, but he seemed to be deep in thought, where normally he would be shooting all the monsters that were following us, he was silent. When we turned onto the driveway he didn’t say anything, usually he starts chanting, “Go fast. Go fast. Go fast.” but that night he said nothing.. Once we had parked, he stood up on the seat and looked around for a bit then turned to me and said, “Yeah… I think I want my ashes spread right here in this yard., it’s about the best place in the world…”