Pieces Of Peace

“Scatter my ashes in beautiful places
Offer the blue skies the glory of your faces”
- Beautiful Places
by Andrew Osenga

The scattering of my grandma’s ashes was a quiet, long-delayed event. The evening of was beautiful: a lake with few people around, cool weather, and a sunset which reflected on the low cliffs of the opposite shore. My Mom and sister had picked out a special type of large envelope meant for dissolving naturally in the water, releasing the ashes. Into the lake it was placed, and we watched until it was out of sight.

The remembrance of that peaceful evening came to mind after listening to a story on a podcast about a memorial service. I could picture clearly in my mind the large blue envelope in my Mom’s hands, the calm ripples in the lake, and the golden hour of waning light. Then, in an instant, I thought how I wished to have held the ashes in my fingers. At the time, there had been a number of other things going on which took up my emotional energies. Yet clearly, in that moment of remembering, I wished I had, for just a moment in advance, scooped up some of the ashes and held them in my palm before letting them go.

I’m a tactile person. I’m up for trying most things once, deciding through a balance of the physical, emotional, and mental what it means to me. So although there are some who would recoil from touching the outcome of cremation, I’m curious. It’s not a person anymore. The spirit is gone. Although I can conjure many meaningful memories, it’s the one tangible thing left.

I know, from every story I’ve heard, that they are messy. They’re ashes of an unusual substance, prone to blowing the wrong way when released and clinging stubbornly and undesirably. I’m glad my family set them in the envelope, not chancing unfair winds. I wished I’d realized my desire to touch them before they were sealed, though maybe it’s better I didn’t. There’s no way for me to know. I do know that I want to be cremated one day, and let go, immediately. My spirit will be gone, so let the final remainder of my body go back into the water and earth. Tangibly part of the soil, back into the cycle of new life.

I picture that spot on the lake: it has become a beautiful place, infused with meaning, weight, and light. Things coming to rest, finally settled and at peace. Other memories will rise, colored with every emotion under the sun, as all experiences are, yet this one I will keep simple: a blue envelope in my mother’s hands, and the golden light all around.

Holding on, then letting go.




I’m a essayist, poet, and storyteller who writes to try and understand and be understood. I also blog at https://wayfaringwordsmith.blogspot.com

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Sonnet Alyse

Sonnet Alyse

I’m a essayist, poet, and storyteller who writes to try and understand and be understood. I also blog at https://wayfaringwordsmith.blogspot.com

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