After Life: Ashes to Ashes
I really didn’t know what to do with Gavin’s ashes, or “cremains” as they are economically, usefully, strangely called. It sounds like something you put on a salad in hell, or a teen pewtersmith in the Revolutionary War, or something French.
But poking around his studio musing on it for just a little while I knew what would work, at least for temporary. Until some redwood tree would show up requiring fertilizer. It was around the first anniversary of his death, almost exactly one month before his second birthday dead.
(Our Francophile foodie friend Shale has always joked that he wants his ashes sent to some special cremerie in France where it can be incorporated into a cheese, then sent back here to be eaten by his friends at a special event. Accompanied by some perfect wine. I’m sure he hasn’t given thought to the playlist, but I bet 3 courses are planned out.)
Gavin had lived, with his mother and grandmother, in Albuquerque for a few years as a baby and toddler. His mother taught at the Indian school there and purchased a few souvenirs on her trips to see the reservations.
There was a special Acoma pot. Gavin used to point it out to me saying that it was the one valuable Indian piece his family had, but it had probably been ruined because of Nana. His grandmother used to burn palm leaves in it during thunderstorms and it was lined with soot.
I took the heavy plastic bag with its twist tie from the solemn cheap plastic box the crematory sent. The whole bag went into the pot and I placed this reliquary next to the Buddha's head in his studio, which had barely been touched.
Six months later I’d hold my Day of the Dead event in his honor and the ashes would quietly preside as we took the hi fi and speakers out onto the lawn for the show.
But it rests there now, nearly four years in total, two and a half years since its filling, looking over the drawing table where he spent most of his energy.
I can’t help but think he’d be pleased with this solution, at least for now.
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