Sunday, March 25, 2007

Ashes to Ashes

We picked up my dad's remains today. Hmmm...somehow that sounded wrong. Let me start again: we picked up my dad's glorious cherry wood urn containing his ashes today. There. Much better.

This thing is pretty darn magnificent. It's carved on all sides with an art nouveau theme of birds, trees, leaves and a cross. Mom was thinking of using it as a flower vase stand except that unbeknownst to her (until we saw the thing in person) the urn bore my dad's names (Chinese and English), his date of birth and death date on one side in huge garish gold lettering. It like it screams: Look at me! Remains of dead person inside!

Apparently this was the most non-urn looking urn that was also "understated." Seeing how elaborate this one is makes me wonder what the other ones looked like.

"Did they put dad's skull in there?" I mused out loud while we walked back to the car. I was only half joking as I knew it was pretty typical for large bone fragments to remain after cremation (If you really want to know, the higher end crematoriums grind the bone fragments into dust, but not all of them do this...) My mom cracked up and then reprimanded herself while looking around making sure no one heard us. My husband thought this was a legitimate question. He then followed with "Does it open up?"

"What is wrong with my children?" My mom answered speaking in Taiwanese(while still chuckling).

Anyhow, if anyone is wondering, it doesn't open. We already got an earful from the funeral director, the hospice and those who recently lost family members that Texas law is a bit hairy when it comes to wanting to spread the ashes of a loved one out into nature. It's okay to dump it onto your own private property, but if some of that human dust somehow blows into a neighbors yard, they can sue your ass. Dumping ashes out at sea is frowned upon as well since cremation doesn't only consist of just the body; the entire coffin and its contents go in the crematorium, hence even if there's one tiny ounce of artificial fiber, rubber or plastic, the ashes can be pollutive. Therefore, all the urns sold at this funeral home are always sealed solidly shut.

We stuck Dad next the family pictures on a shelf. "I need to put this up high so that the grandkids don't think it's stool," my mom mumbled to herself. I have no idea if other families are so matter of fact about death by mine is. I definitely was amused by Mom's statement since I had the same exact thought. It mean, it looks like a really fancy stool and perfect for a toddler to sit on. I don't think Dad would mind either.

I captured Moose and released him into the lake by our house. The spotted mollies decided this afternoon to retaliate against his aggression and started attacking back. I swear these are all supposed to be communal fish. It was sad to see such an old and large fish go, but he'll be fine.

Tomorrow I head back to Austin. It feels like I've been gone forever and I miss the cats and seeing my friends. There's still a lot to be done here, but a good bulk of it can be handled by phone. Monday I'm adding Mom to my insurance plan. She seems okay--sad at times, understandably, but definitely stable.

I have a small album filled with pictures of my dad and I'll probably upload them on here in the near future. Heh...he's got so many pictures of him fishing or holding a prized catch.

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Blogger sarah said...

heh. i'm afraid for the other fish in the lake you dumped moose in, but i guess they can take care of themselves. maybe they can outswim him or something.

glad you're headed back to austin soon. it'll be good to see you once you get settled back in and have some time to hang out.

Sunday, March 25, 2007  
Blogger dasMobius said...

Do you have a picture of the urn? I'm curious about seeing it!

Sunday, March 25, 2007  
Blogger stitchwitch said...

Hi, Cindy,

I've been thinking about you. Hope all is getting a little easier for all of you.

I had never thought about the remains from a cremation being toxic. But now that you've informed me, I'll have to rethink my own plans!

Take care and let's do lunch soon.


Monday, March 26, 2007  
Blogger cchang said...

I'll take a pic of the urn next time I'm in Houston. It's similar to
this one
but with carving on all sides.
Sandy, I just sent you an email for lunch. Not sure if you are free today. I got back into town yesterday and today am trying to figure out insurance stuff for mom.
Yep, Sarah, you need to tell me about how massage school is going. Hell, *I* need a massage too...

Monday, March 26, 2007  

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