Today College son told me as gently as he could that some friends of Jesse had said, around the time Jesse died, that he wouldn't have wanted to be stuck in an urn. He said, I don't know if it's been long enough that we can talk about this yet. You can tell me if you're not ready. He admitted that he felt somewhat the same as these friends. He told me who had said it, and I understood what he, and they, meant. I think a lot of us like the idea of scattering a friend's ashes someplace beautiful, someplace they'd have wanted to go or loved to be. His friends certainly knew Jesse was not one to be confined by anyone. College actually said, he wouldn't want to be in there.
I wondered if that were the reason we heard less from Jesse's friends as time went on, and not because that's what normally happens after you lose the child, their friends drift off toward their futures, the lives they need to live. Had I offended them in some way, because of this need to keep his ashes? I don't think so. I know they were being kind, in not expressing their feelings about this to me. I know that the lives they lead now are touched by Jesse, and that they'll never forget him. And after all, they were Jesse's friends, not mine, and I am not Jesse, so I couldn't fill that role for them. Still, I care what happens to them, and it comforts me to think of them working out the lives they're just beginning.
I can't really think of "the" place I'd scatter his ashes, and I can't really think about what it would mean to me to do this. I'm not ready, I suppose. But as I reminded my son, Jesse's not what's in that urn.
But that, and a few of his things, and memories, are all I have left of him.