He stayed in my car for almost a month. Sitting there, on the front passenger floor, sometimes covered with a jacket to hide him from Ethan’s curiosity. I didn’t want the questions – or the tears.
Not that Ethan would ever know that contained within the 2’ x 2’ cardboard box were his father’s cremated remains.
Many times I got into the car and just stared at the brown box. My head flooded with questions, memories, and a rollercoaster of emotions:
“How could you just die?”
“Thanks for leaving me a widow and leaving your kids fatherless, you selfish son of a bitch.”
“What the fuck am I supposed to do now?”
“Really? It cost $31.30 to send human remains through USPS? And you don’t have to sign for it? WTF?!”
“Wow! Our wedding song… remember the dance lessons we took? We were SO awesome on the dance floor that night…”
But most often, I thought as I looked at the box, “I told you so.”
Since I discovered his drinking (and the lying and the hiding) in the summer of 2010, I must have told him a hundred times that alcohol would kill him. He never believed me. We fought about it, yelled about it, talked to counselors about it. He would get incredibly angry when I would say, “You’re going to die from alcoholism. We need to get you help.”
Eighteen months later, I would be right. The alcohol? It killed him. Distroyed his liver. Left him dead in his sleep on a random Wednesday night.
And, I know that he would be pissed about me being right about it.
I don’t know why I left him in the car so long. Because I wanted a daily reminder of what was going on, even though I didn’t FEEL it like I thought I should? Because I didn’t know what else to do with him? To remind me to make internment arrangements in our college town? Because I was too lazy to drag the box inside?
Probably a little of all of that.
I finally took him out of the car and put him on a shelf in my closet when we left for a weekend trip. He wasn’t going to go with us, not as we made new memories as a family of three.