A group of us was standing in the driveway on Sunday, the day after our friend had died. We were talking about our memories of her, when one of the ladies said, “Oh, it doesn’t matter anyway, her cancer is burned to a crisp and so is she.”

I had to sit on the porch because my legs were weak. I had had no idea that she had been cremated! Somehow, in all the time we spent together at Hospice, it had never come up. I was shocked.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking of the day when I sat by her when she was so constipated from the oxycontin that she was in pain from that in addition to the cancer. I thought of her skinny legs that wobbled when she got up to walk the couple steps to the bathroom time and time again. She told me they were only giving her Metamucil for it and it wasn’t working and she was in such misery. I remembered talking to the nurse about it and she said my friend was much too weak for either a stimulant laxative or an enema to give her relief. Either one might kill her. I felt so bad. How do our bodies get themselves in such a sad state!

I remembered how she always wore her thick beautiful white hair in a pageboy, and how now it was just a few white spikes on her head. I held her hand between bathroom trips. It was such an intimate thing between us that day, between me and my friend. And now there was nothing left of her. Just a few ashes stored somewhere until the funeral.

I was raised to believe that cremation was wrong, that when Christ came for us our bodies would be resurrected whole and perfect. And yet I have seen nothing in the Bible that specifically states that. Still, when my husband died, I was glad that I could see him in his coffin. Yes, he didn’t look quite like himself, they hadn’t put his upper dental plate in his mouth so his full laughing lips didn’t show, but still, I could kiss him. I could run my hand down his face. I wouldn’t have wanted his body, so precious to me, to be burned up.

Eventually I got tired of trying to figure it all out and went to sleep. Maybe it’s up to each person to make that decision and I’m glad it’s not up to me!

© 2015 Just Lynne - 10/13/15

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