Monday, February 25, 2008

Entry #39

Closure
by Rob


I cradle the urn in my arms, like one would a blanket-wrapped newborn, the icy metal burning against my bare hands. A yellow field of grass surrounds me, shuddering in waves from the morning breeze.

“Nothin' fancy,” was Dad's only request. That may as well have been written on his tombstone, had he wanted one. He lived a simple life, working as a shopkeep in a small town. I always felt like he was wasting away here, discarding his dreams and ambitions to live Mom's life, but maybe he was on to something. Maybe once you find peace, there's no longer a reason to struggle forward.

The cremation took place one year ago today, but when I think back it's as if I'm still standing there watching. The thick smell in the air, like a musty campfire. The intensity of the heat as the box was slid in. The whole process takes the romanticism out of death. There are no harps, no moments of clarity, just an old, dead man in a cardboard box being pushed into a furnace.

I placed a FedEx sticker on the side of his box. He would have enjoyed that.

I dig a hole in the ground, gently tip in his remains, use them to bury the roots of a young seedling, and pack it with the loose soil.

May you someday comfort others with your shade as you did for me all these years.

19 comments:

strugglingwriter said...

I liked this Rob. A nice look into one man's life and his coming to terms with his father.

I liked what he did with the remains and I liked you closing line there.

bluesugarpoet said...

Yes - a beautiful tribute that rings true in every way. I love the line about the FedEx sticker! Your story speaks strongly to the complexity of the father/son relationship. Nicely written!

Veggies.... said...

So sad and so beautiful. This one really touched my heart.

Geraldine

Beth said...

I really love how so many entrants seemed use the tree as a place to bury the dead, but did it in a hopeful way. The tree itself becomes hopeful. Gives me the warm fuzzies.

DBA Lehane said...

Touching and the final line is just so heartbreaking!

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

This is such a beautiful and poignant story, Rob, you've done an excellent job. This one definitely joins my favourites list!

Sarah Hina said...

This one has the real clarity of authenticity. No romanticism, as you said, but plenty of love and devotion. I love the idea of his nourishing the tree.

Last line is pitch perfect. A heart-touching appeal. Great work.

Hoodie said...

I love the sentiment here. It looks like you and I were struck similarly by the picture. My theme is much the same.

Obviously, that means you have great instincts!

Gnewvegan said...

Well written. It can make a reader wonder if this is based on truth in the writers life. How ever this story came to be, it does tell a story of life, death, and trying to find some meaning.

Jaye Wells said...

Rob, I really liked this one. It's sentimental, but not overly so. Good job.

SzélsőFa said...

A beautifully written monologue of thuoghts about a father...according to the speaker this speach matches the style of the father, yet so full of love.

JLB said...

I really like the themes you're exploring in this piece. I think you could even change the title to "Nothin' fancy" - I especially like that thought in this work.

Remiman said...

rob,
This piece warms my heart in a personnal way.
I've asked my children to bury my ashes with an acorn in the middle of the vegetable garden I've tended for nearly forty years.
rel

Marcia (MeeAugraphie said...

A beautiful story Rob. I enjoyed the little family details, the Fed Ex sticker, but this is a wonderful thought: . Maybe once you find peace, there's no longer a reason to struggle forward.

Great way of putting it.

Rob said...

Thanks for the comments, everybody. I really appreciate it!

Aerin said...

This crafting of this piece left me with admiration for both the narrator and the father; it was written in such a warm, patient way. Really well done.

raine said...

For some reason, this didn't make me sad at all. I nodded and smiled.
The Fed Ex sticker was a masterful stroke.
Great!

jason evans said...

Poignant. I loved the touches of detail and humor. The serious end was perfect, almost scripture. High marks!

Aine said...

My favorite line was "maybe once you find peace, there's no longer a reason to struggle forward." It gives me the sense that the father's life was deep and meaningful despite being "nothin' fancy". You've done a great job of developing a character who the reader never meets.