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.