Saturday, 28 February 2009

I'm pretty sure that's my ash...

blue, blue skies, cold, calm winds, temps minus 15

Doesn't feel all that cold. Inf act, it's a beautiful day. Just clumped along to feed the birds, doing the round - snow crunchy and white and not a breath of wind.

Just got back from the funeral home in Magog for the visitation for Jacques Dad. In French it's called the 'expose'. On the way down Michael and I talked about what we'd like for our own funerals. We both agreed we'd like the service at Grace Anglican church in Sutton. We both want to be cremated. I'd like to go before him, but apparently we don't get to choose. Seems unfair, but there you go. I also think the funeral home visits are horrific. Not for the friends and supporters, but for the family. So I told Michael I'd like a very simple service, and then a party in the church hall afterward. A celebration. Because, frankly, if I go tomorrow, while it certainly wouldn't be my choice I know for sure life owes me nothing. Infact, I've been way luckier than I have any right to be. Quite astonishing. Michael said the same thing - about himself, not me.

The interesting thing in Quebec, as I believe I've mentioned before, is that often the actual burial is deferred until the spring, when it's easier to break the ground.

My preference is just to have the ashes spread. We did that with my mother. Buried some, then split the rest up among the 3 kids. And we all spread her where we wanted. Michael and I spread her on the island here on our property, into the elder bushes. We thought for a while she'd killed the bush since it disappeared for a couple of years - but then returned.

I'd like to be spread too...though perhaps not right on top of my mother. Imagine spending eternity arguing with Mom over whose bit of ash that was.

we're heading in to Montreal tomorrow...Michael has a colonoscopy Monday at noon. Just a regular check-up, nothing else. And I'm going in on Wednesday morning for another breast scan. Seems to have become a pasttime with me. Some people hang around the mall, I hang around the ultrasound. We all have our 'hoods.

Will start writing book 6 tomorrow morning...Bury Your Dead. And of course we're fasting for Michael's test...and being good co-dependents, I'm fasting too. Am already fantastizing about lunch Monday. Yum.

Speak tomorrow - stay well.


Lee Ann said...

Those all sound like fun activities, particularly the fasting for the colonoscopy. Ahem. My mother's ashes were spread in Puget Sound and, as far as I know, no dead zones have emerged as a result--it's been 24 years so I expect we are safe. I'm sorry you are still hanging around the scanning equipment--I myself have spent the kind of winter that should have left me glowing in the dark but it all turned up exactly nothing (except the broken ankle). Best wishes to you and Michael for the coming week!

Lee Ann

Anonymous said...

Strange thing ash! My Dad died 2 years ago and was followed by my Mum this past November. I have both of their ashes, which I brought to Sutton from England, in the corner of my bedroom whilst I decide what to do with them. Arguably it matters not at all as its just...ash but it feels like everything so I want to find a spot that wont change which might even mean the nice cemetery up the raod with the view of the Pinnacle that they both really liked.

Bobbie said...

Dear Louise,
We attended a friend's mother's graveside services last week (was all they had funeral-wise, then had a meal and memory-fest at her church, recalling happy times). And Larry and I had some of the same thoughts you and Michael have. Yes, funeral home visits can be awful for everyone. We both want cremation. And yes, how we wish we could choose some who goes first...wouldn't be our wish to go, but we'd both want to be first so would not have to live without the other one, so who wins this wish? :-) No good answer to that one.

But life certainly owes Larry and me nothing at all. We've been so lucky in many ways, had some hard times too, but all lives have hard times, of course. And life makes no promises of being fair, ever--nor should it. It's to be lived, and we've had such great joy and luck.

Regarding your fasting, think of it as a prequel to eating while writing book 6, and being a great wife to Michael. :-) Regarding what you have to do, actually both of you, you have my ultimate best wishes.

I am re-reading Still Life, am leading it in April at my library's book group discussion-general readers, not a mystery group. Methinks they will be impressed. What a joy to read this again, how you started our Three Pines journey. After reading the others, it is so interesting to go back and re-read the first. I've found questions, general and specific, on your website, thanks for that! But more importantly, thank you for your writing, Louise. It's incredible. As are you.


hilary said...

I travel to my cottage to spend the summer every year with a third of my father's ashes in a lovely wooden box. I am -- according to his wishes -- supposed to spread them on his parents' grave in Scotland -- but haven't got there yet. But I just can't leave him behind -- although one year, I nearly did go without him. I was driving up my lane, and a pendant he used to wear that I keep linked around my rear view mirror began swinging back and forth quite vigourously. It reminded me, and I went back and got him. This time, on going up the lane, the pendant didn't swing at all.
Now, my two companion cats have died, and -- yes -- their ashes go back and forth too. I have, fortunately, never been searched, or questioned, at customs.

Louise Penny Author said...

Lee Ann,

Glad to hear the scans only found a broken ankle...a relief. Thanks for writing and the good thoughts.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Anon,

Oh, how sad for you...I can just feel your pain. What a wonderful daughter you are. And yes, it is everything, even if we know they're together in a place removed from ashes. But that's why we spread mm on the be close. I think I understand. And aren't we lucky to have so many beautiful little country cemetaries.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Bobbie,

Thank you for your good wishes. We know it will be go beautifully. And a relief to hear others have the same conversations about death, and death-order. And we're 12 hours into the fast and I'm have waking milk shakes. Good god, even turnip. nEVER MIND.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Hilary,

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at your descritipn of the car filled with loved ones, reduced. While we managed to spread Mom, we still have Bonnie and Seamus's ashes at home. For some reason we can't stand to thjink of them in the wet and cold...but sitting in a small box seems to be ok.

Here's hoping for continued good luck at customs...though I would enjoy hearing about that conversation.