And Now… The Big Lebowski

29 Aug

(this post originated on my other blog: Everybody Dies, You Don’t Have to be an Asshole)

In late September we’re scattering my mom’s ashes. We’ve decided to go to Big Sur, to Nepenthe, which she loved. All that is a-okay. Right? I mean, family is going to get together, we’ll be maudlin as we probably should be, it’s a one year anniversary, and then we’ll scatter ashes… into the sea… which is both illegal and well…

This is what we all fear. I mean, let’s just get fucking real about it, right? Right now I have this box of heavy heavy ashes and since I have a little extra from getting our memorial rings made, I know what it looks like in there and it is freaky and not at all subtle. Bone. I have bone in my house.

So now we have to figure out how to get my mom’s ashes scattered in a way that doesn’t end in Lebowski. Which is how I ended up having three of the oddest conversations of my life with three different “Captains” of three different vessels (one sea, two air) about the scattering. How to do it. Where to do it. How I broke a federal law by having the cremains UPSed to me. How much it would cost. How maybe putting “notarized” and “scattering” in quotes on your website make it seem like you are just alluding to these words and not actually performing them. Like “I’m ‘scattering’ the ashes” really means “I’m dumping them into the dumpster behind Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles and then using the box to store my collection of vintage porn postcards.” That kind of thing. This is what I think about when you use quotes. I think about your plane and how it is used for dead people and your boat and the same thing and how we have to go deal with family and how I really just want to walk out into the ocean, on a grey September day and cast my mom’s ashes on the water and say a quiet little prayer for her and how because I don’t rule the world, that is basically impossible.

Also I think about Lebowski.

One Response to “And Now… The Big Lebowski”

  1. zubronie August 29, 2009 at 11:53 pm #

    Well put. There is a strong absurdity to the whole situation: the desire for closure, concern for the law (not very prioritized, though, I suspect), and a model for the worst-case-scenario (a la Walter and his scattering method). And I can also relate to your comment about what is in the “ashes” to be scattered: bone. I heard something shortly after Mom’s death about how it was “not cost effective” for crematoriums actually to incinerate bodies. Instead, the heat should be sufficient to incinerate tissue. What is left is put through a pulverizer. It is possible that I didn’t speak for a solid day after hearing that and that I didn’t really have a “good dream” for another 2 months. It takes a great deal to convince oneself (to learn?) that “death is death.” These symbolic gestures, such as scattering ashes, are meant for closure, right? What if you just can’t accept the act of death that precipitated them?

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