Mike sits on the top shelf of my closet. I’ve moved him a couple of times – to get suitcases down, to rearrange where I put my sweaters, to hide birthday presents for the kids behind the box that holds his cremated remains. I decided last week that he needs to go. Find a permanent resting place. Get out of my closet. Give us some closure.

I’ve had the last five days off work (work? yeah, that’s another entry for a later time…) and by today, my last vacation day, I had crossed everything off the to-do list, except one thing – calling the cemetary in our college town. Mike and I lived in Indianapolis, St. Louis, and southern Illinois in the last 10 years. My parents have lived in a couple of places and his parents…well, Mike hated the town in which he grew up. So I decided to have him placed in the town in which we met and went to college.

I don’t know why I’ve been putting off making the call. How hard could that be? “I’d like a final resting place to put an urn of human ashes, please. Preferably with a scenic view, but that’s negotiable.”

I called the cemetary today. I was sobbing so much I wasn’t sure my phone number was clear on the answering machine. (Answering machine? Hello, 1997!) When the return call came an hour later, I was sure I was okay to talk through what I needed.


As soon as the cemetary guy introduced himself, my eyes filled with tears. My nose started running. I felt my throat closing up. I started rambling about how I wanted to bury my husband somewhere that we would visit often. Where  we had a connection. Somewhere that would be special to him, and to me. I don’t think cemetary guy cared.

He walked me through what I needed to do to arrange for a burial of the remains. The “Disposition of Remains” form. The urn measurements. The cost. Getting a grave marker. He told me I could just mail the remains if I didn’t want to come down. That didn’t seem right. I don’t want a big service, but I think there’s benefit for closure for the kids and I to “see” the urn going into the ground. Cemetary guy said he knew a nice spot in the “single section” – close to the river, by some big, old trees, near a walking patch that is close to the college, in a section that is about 100 years old. (“Single section” since they only sell individual plots, still, it was kind of weird – and strangely amusing – to think of a “singles” section, or a M@tch dot com for human remains.)

I just need to send a few things to cemetary guy then he can arrange everything – probably when I’m back on campus for alumni board meetings in August.

My tears are dried, and while I feel a little relief, closure is sort of sad.

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