The deaths happen in spring, as though they can't stand the thought of another summer. Me, I'd probably bite it in fall, in an attempt to avoid winter. Spring funerals. Doesn't it seem wrong? There's probably a way to do it right - take it out of the church to somewhere beautiful. Somewhere you'd actually want to visit again.
It was my idea to drop my father's ashes into the Delaware River. I was 12 and loved going with him to the river to skip rocks. Or to attempt to skip rocks. Mine didn't skip. Maybe I went to the river to sink rocks. It didn't much matter. I was there, with him.
I visit the river and think of what is left of his physical presence, wedging itself under rocks, drifting with the river's flow out to sea. A part of the broader earth.
My grandmother has since joined him. At least a part of my grandfather will do the same. There are no monuments, except for the trees and the water. The river they settled near, walked to, and canoed on. I lost a pair of glasses to that river. I've left little pieces of my childish, physical existence to the water and the currents.
I'd like the same done with my ashes. It seems odd, though. A part of me is unsure that there should the that kind of coherence to things when there seemed to be so little in life.
Maybe that's part of the point: once people stop moving, others can tell a whole story. Not the whole story, but one of them. All of the dangling bits and unresolved strands tied together, suddenly connected somehow. Probably through the sheer force of our imperfect memories.
Always agnostic, though, I wonder if I'll fall in love with another body of water. I could see myself distracted by the Pacific Ocean, as my maternal grandma loved the Atlantic. Jess is secretive about her affair with the Mississippi, but I know and accept her shared love. I think both of us believe we'll convince the other that our water is the best.
And maybe we'll negotiate and choose a whole other lake to settle our family near. Something we long for together.
If there is one thing I know about water, it is that it loves cycles. All rivers move to the oceans. All oceans are connected. Maybe the coherence comes from water instead of death.
It's a pleasant thought, to thnk of my body expanding and traveling in all directions after I die. The parts of it that settle, resting on the floor of a river bed. The wandering feet and brain making its way to the ocean, into the air and clouds, and falling like rain to the earth.