Friday, August 28, 2009

Katie's Ashes

Last night, we went out to dinner at our friends' restaurant, Burrata Bistro.

Kim had invited us to dinner (as her guests), in Katie's memory. So Gregg, David, my mom, dad & I drove to town, and sat in the cozy booth in the back corner of the restaurant. We brought a bouquet of flowers for Kim.
We had a delicious, generous and wonderful dinner, accompanied by two bottles of delectable Washington Sangiovese. We propped Katie's photo up on the table. We drank toasts to her, with love.

After dinner, we drove to Mom & Dad's house, took one box of Katie's ashes (we have two of them) and an assortment of beautiful fresh flowers, and rowed a short distance out in front of the house.

I gently placed the box of Katie's ashes, and the bouquet of flowers, in the water. We each tossed in a long-stemmed red rose, with our love. Then we watched, as the box slowly absorbed the saltwater that was so familiar to her - the water she had played in, floated on, splashed in, and boated on - and the flowers dispersed. The box began to sink. It was designed to disintegrate, and gradually, naturally and gently allow the ashes to escape, drift and become part of the sea. Now, every day, we can look out and know that her DNA is in the water that touches us...the water where - someday- our ashes will be scattered, too.

Though it was peaceful and beautiful, I find that this act has made me feel sadder, instead of comforted. I thought it was a step that we "had to" take, because we had planned it, and Gregg was ready, but in fact, it is just another part of the enormous loss with which we live every day. Though Katie directed the plans for her ashes, I am not yet ready to let any more of them go. I want to hoard them, but we have promised her that "Part 2" of her ashes will be set afloat at Camp Goodtimes. That was Katie's request, and we will honor it; we are just not ready to do it now. And I believe that it is right to wait until we are ready.

I had the pleasure of spending some time this week with Katie's best friend. We looked at photos, and shared stories and memories. It was lovely to chatter away, and recall the good times that they had together from the very beginning of their lives, to the end of Katie's life. This young lady was a true friend, all through, and was the contemporary who Katie trusted the most out of all of her peers. Yet, that, too has left me missing her sharply today: missing her smile, her laughter and humor, her wit and her spunk.

We are going to a family birthday party (Grandpa G. is turning 88!), but the weather is gray and cool, and it matches my interior mood.


Elizabeth said...

This is so big, so huge -- the way you've slipped it in here, sharing this most sacred moment -- well, thank you. Prayers and thoughts and hugs and, as always, love for you and your beautiful Katie.

Karla said...

That is very sweet and has brought me to tears.

Lakeland Jo said...

bless you all- it sounds like a lovely occasion

ChiTown Girl said...

Beautiful, just beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.

Gannet Girl said...

A sacred moment indeed.

Chris and I spoke this week-end about what it is like to look at ashes that were once bodies that grew inside us. It says something, I think, that we have all chosen water, the element which our children first inhabited, as places in which their bodies might finally rest.

A sacred moment, indeed. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Anonymous said...

You have been so courageous in letting go, and this beautiful moment symbolizes so much.

Busy Bee Suz said...

This is so touching.
Love and warm thoughts to you and your family.

Karen and Joe said...

It is a big step to release those precious beloved ashes, and you've taken a beautiful step to share them with the water she loved. But like you, I haven't been ready to release more than a bit. I parted with what I was able and the rest of the precious DNA stays with me and helps keep him present. I think the way it's going to remain and want to affirm you in that decision, too. You've parted with so much, and there's no need to part with anymore if you aren't up to it. She's your girl. Carried in your womb. It's okay.
Hugs on this sacred/painful day.

Kay said...

It is such a touching and beautiful moment. I'm sorry it didn't bring the comfort you were hoping for. Hoping you can found peace and comfort as you continued on through the evening. I'm sorry you're hurting today.

Hugs to you!

Anonymous said...

May she rest in peace,

Irene x

Anonymous said...

I just don't have any words! Thank you for sharing this with us - you have such a gift for words...hugs from AK! L

Mary said...

So beautiful and so difficult, this letting go. I'm ever grateful for all you share here. Sending lots of love.

julie Holbert said...


Thank you for sharing this very important moment in your journey. We, too, have still not placed Meredith's ashes in the lake that was so special to her. Again, I'm not ready to do that one piece of the instructions Meredith left with us.

I know that, though this is what Mer wanted us to do, we spent little time discussing the issues around "if she didn't get her miracle". I am still trying to process decisions we made in haste - cremation vs. burial and whether we have a gravesite/tombstone or in what way we would leave a way to mark the fact that Meredith did exist on this earth. Other than the bench, have you established any other memorial for Katie?

Dawn ~ BJSMomma said...

I really understand how you feel. I do think it was a wonderful time having Katie's photo right there with you at that special bistro..we do that a lot with Brandon's photo...take it everywhere we go, and take photo's of us with it. It helps heal our hearts. And you will know when the time is right for you to continue to carry out Katie's desires. She is not conformed to the same "time boundries" that we have. I sometimes have to laugh to myself and wonder if Brandon does the same thing...he was always so goofy. Keep pressing on, I am always praying for you dear friend.

~ What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. Psalm 56:3 ~ this has really been speaking to me a lot lately. I pray that it ministers to you as well

AnnDeO said...

Sacred and melancholy... I think it is a beautiful word. How brave you all are, how you honor Katie, how you share with all of us. I'm sending you a gentle cyber rub on the forehead. You are a good girl.

Renee said...

Oh Karen, how difficult this all is, and all you want is for them to be okay again. For them to be here.

Someone in the hospital said to Sheldon that you are only 25 and this is not fair and he said there are babies and young children who die of cancer, so what has fair got to do with it. It is what it is.

I immediately thought of your Katie and cried and cried.

Love to you my dear friend.


Renee said...

Karen my daughter Nadalene is the biography nut.


Maggie said...

Karen, this was beautiful, thank you so much for sharing. You and your sweet Katie have been on my mind so often.

Smileygirl said...

The photos were so touching and peaceful. I didn't know you did this recently. Love to all of you.

hawaii0712 said...

I am so sorry for your loss, I was searching for a way to scatter my sons ashes in water using a container that would sink slowly when I stumbled across your blog. I am sure it was a very hard thing for you to do. I lost my son very unexpectedly at the age of 24 2 months ago from complications of a rare illness. We are planning a small gathering to scatter his ashes in a lake on our property. I used little net bags with hearts on them and am struggling to find a way to make them sink slowly. The thought of it disappearing quickly bothers me, but the lake is very windy with a strong current and I also don't want him swept away. You will be in my thoughts. I like you am holding onto most of his ashes. I am sure with time we will scatter them all the places he loved, but for now he sits on my mantle.
May you find peace.