Thursday, November 26, 2009

We gathered at this marker to say goodbye to my son last Saturday afternoon. This a good likeness of him. My son-in-law, Steve, did he artwork and captured him quite well I think. He included an image of the sports coat I made for him that I remembered in an earlier blog post.

He was only 39 years old. That is a short life....... so sad.

The sky was clear and the sun was shining. It was a fine day. I was in my own little world as the service proceeded. I shed a few tears and hugged a few people when approached, but mostly stayed to myself.

My mind was far away, filled with memories that only a mother can have. I remember the first time he was placed in my arms and all the times since as he grew up. I lost my son a long time ago. His death just made it official.

As we prepared for our trip south to bury my son's ashes, I wrestled with my feelings and finally decided to spread his ashes. I could not bear the thought of putting him in a hole. I talked to my children and they all told me to do what I thought was right. I thought about my son a lot in the past month and a half since his death. He was unconventional and rarely cared what others thought of his actions.

With that in mind, I carefully filled a big ziplock bag with ashes from my woodstove and took them along with us. I intended to swap the ashes so that I could set him free into the wind. I couldn't show up with an empty bag since all the arrangements for interment had been made. And.... the more I thought about it, the more I knew in my heart that Bobby would love it. So, on a hillside in north Georgia, at 11:23 in the morning I loosed my son's ashes to the wind. I was balanced precariously during this process, so that the pictures aren't all that great. I think he would have loved it had I rolled down the hill...........

It wasn't an easy thing to do. I had thought it would be emotional, letting him go for the final time. I thought I was prepared. We opened the box from the mortuary and lifted out the bag with the seal on it. I remarked that it was heavier than I thought it would be. I hefted the bag, then cradled it in my arms. It was about the weight of a baby and I held him one last time before I opened the bag and released him onto the ground and into the wind.

I thought about all those dreams you have for that new baby you hold in your arms. They were long gone, as children rarely perform as you want them to. You always think that you will protect your child from everyone and everyhing; but in the end you realize that it is not possible. As I stood on that slope with my face pushed into the bark of a pine tree crying I let him go for the very last time.

I am at peace with my decision to set him free. I like to think that he soared up to the heavens and is finally at peace.


Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

Your decision to set him free to soar with the eagles was wonderful. I am so saddened by your loss and totally understand your desire to, in essence, free him from the constraints of the box. If he marched to the beat of a different drummer, letting him fly away was probably something that was totally fitting for him.

I totally understand about the dreams you have for your children. Your comments made me think about my own children and my grandchildren, the paths they have traveled and will travel. We hope for the best and pray for the right direction. In the end, that is all we can do.

My prayers are will you through this difficult time.

Living on the Spit said...

What a lovely heartfelt are I are bonded now like no other and I love you.

I know you are right, he is free and will always be with you.

If I was there with you we would both have a long cry and mourn our loss. I am so glad you got to hold him one last time.

Carol said...

One of the most beautiful posts I have ever read, your decision to take other ashes with you was brilliant, and I know he would have approved! You done good girl!!

luksky said...

I bawled my eyes out as I read your post...I can only imagine how you must have felt to experience it....

Rae said...

That was a beautifully written tribute. I was deeply moved by your words. My heart goes out to you. You did what was best for you and your son. You released his soul to fly and I hope that you will be able to have your spirits lift as well.

Brian Miller said...

you know..i imagine he did just that....thoughts and prayers your way. smiles.

ellen abbott said...

Kathy, I love that you substituted wood ashes for his for the internment and then scattered your son's to the wind.

May you both be free.

otin said...

They say that one of the toughest things for a parent to do is to outlive their child. My heart goes out to you. No matter what your relationship was in the past, he was your baby. He came into the world in your arms, and left in your arms. That is just a tough situation! ((((Hugs)))). Beautifully written post>

Jilly said...

I hope you have the closure you needed to start feeling better. Know that we love you so much and you are a beautiful, wonderful mother and we are lucky to have you. He was lucky to have you.

Yaya' s Changing World said...

Ooooooooooh, Kathy. I cannot stop the tears. My arms are wrapped tightly around you as I read and know the depth of your heartache. I don't know what brought you and your son to this point, but you are right. We raise them the best we know how. Then, its up to them.

My heart nearly burst as I felt you release his ashes and set him free. You are such an incredible, inspiring lady. You have found a place of permanence in my heart. Be comforted, my friend. The Father watches over all of you. ~ Yaya
Yaya's Home

momcat said...

What a poignant post! You knew your son and you did what he would have wanted not just what was expected of you. Its sad to see a child go with his life still unlived and such a real reminder to all of us that life holds no guarantees. Gods richest blessings on you as He continues to uphold you.

Alix said...

I lost my son a long time ago. His death just made it official.

Tears came as I read those words and kept coming and are still coming.

My heart aches for you, Kathy. And I'm standing beside you with my arm around you in sisterhood. You are a strong brave woman, a good mother, and my friend.

I love you and I'm proud of you.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you were able to do what you did, and hopefully found some peace in it.

Sunny said...

I write this comment through my tears. May you finally find peace.
Sunny :)

Missy said...

That was beautiful. It made me cry and made me think of my own son. Being mom is hard-we love our boys.

Pat said...

I cried when I read this. You made the right decision to spread his ashes in the wind. I'm sure he was smiling down at you and was happy with that decision. Very clever to bring ashes from home. I hope that your heart stops hurting so much, and you can just hold those memories of your son when he was little. Take care, my friend.

Karen said...

What an incredibly moving story. How wonderful that you set him free... he's finally free from all of the things on this earth that hold us hostage and keep us from those that love us. He'll be there in each gentle breeze that comes by, like a long-overdue hug. {{{kathy}}}

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

I am just so very very sorry...hugs from Tennessee ♥

Jo said...

Oh, Kathy... What a beautiful thing you did for your son. You were the first person to hold him in your arms when he came into the world, and the last to hold him as he was scattered to the wind. It reminds me of the poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye:

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.

It also reminds me of the old saying, "We don't own our children, we only borrow them for a little while."

I think your son would have been very happy to know what an act of love his Mom did for him.

Nancy said...

Crying with you, Kathy. I think you did a lovely thing. Bless you and bless him, too.