Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Rowan sees the urn, and has questions I wasn't ready for

So I'm about six months late on my spring cleaning (or six months early, depending on your perspective). I was tackling some of that this past weekend, and as usual, Rowan wanted to help.

At one point, I was going through the bottom of my bedroom closet when I came across a large box that didn't look familiar. I pulled it out and opened it as Rowan looked over my shoulder. Inside was a beautiful white urn, and I immediately knew what it was.

It was the urn containing Terry's ashes (Aimee's father).
miniature urn with a small
amount of Aimee's ashes

Of course, it's really pretty, which sparked Rowan's interest. "What is that, Daddy?"

Rowan and I have never talked about what actually happens to people's bodies when they die. We've had the "we die and go to heaven" explanation, but I hadn't yet told her that the earthly bodies get left behind. I felt like talking about burying someone's body in a box in the ground would be kind of scary, and even worse would be explaining cremation, which is what both Terry and Aimee opted for.

So when Rowan asked me what was in the urn, I decided to go ahead and cross this bridge. I explained that grandpa's spirit was in heaven, but his body had been left behind and had been turned into these ashes. His family wanted to keep them as one way to remember him, so the ashes were in this urn.

Then I hoped she wouldn't make the obvious connection and ask what happened to Aimee. My hopes were granted.

For about five minutes.

I scattered Aimee's ashes on October 25th last year, the ninth anniversary of the day we met. But several of us kept small keepsake urns with a small amount of Aimee's ashes in them, and mine is on my dresser. So of course Rowan spotted it (it's been there for going on two years without her noticing it before), and asked me what was in it. She had a look on her face that told me she suspected the answer already. I told her in fact that a small amount of Aimee's ashes in it. She asked if she could see, so I opened it up so she could.

I watched her face as she looked upon what was left of Aimee's earthly body. She looked slightly confused, but didn't say anything else. A few seconds later, she looked away and changed the subject.

I'm fairly certain this topic is going to come up again, but ultimately, I'm glad the subject has been broached. And like so many other topics, they're conversations I wish I didn't have to have with my precious little girl.


  1. Oh my Pat. That was a very touchy topic. I think you handled that just perfectly. Rowan looks like she is a strong little girl, and knows that mommy and grandpa are with her, and she has you as her protector. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  2. I think you handled it very well, too. So difficult to know, I'm sure--