I’ve been sitting on this post for a while. It’s been brewing under the surface since the day we buried Hagen, and each time it has tried to rise up, I have somehow managed to shove it back down even deeper. It, like Hagen, has proven to be extremely stubborn and I’m just tired of carrying it and fighting it. Each time I allow myself to put my pain into words, I find relief, and today, I need some relief. This will not weigh me down any longer.
In the south we have a tradition called “Decoration”. Every year the women in my family participate by traveling through two counties placing floral arrangements that my grandmother makes on the headstones of her parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, husband, brother and sister-in-law. This year, she made an extra one that I wasn’t expecting, and, as ifI hadn’t been present on March 30th, seeing those flowers made me realize that I buried my son.
I buried my son. Literally. We had him cremated so we could lay him to rest in a cemetery right in the middle of a field on our family farm. I knew that is where he wanted to be...where he loved to be...so it was the only option. His dad, bless his heart, reluctantly agreed to the cremation and bought a beautifully fitting urn to keep part of Hagen with him. The rest of him was strapped into the backseat with his brother as we made our last trip home together as a family. We listened to his music, we laughed, and we even spilled 44 ounces of root beer all over him. After the unfortunate root beer mishap, Hagen had to ride on the floorboard. Before leaving the funeral home, I had to sign a very official piece of paper stating we were carrying “remains” in the car in the event we got pulled over, and because my family is so quirky and because laughter is therapeutic for us, we were hoping we would get pulled over just so we could pull that out of the glove box and present it to some poor state trooper. It was funny to us because it would have been funny to Hagen. It was a typical trip to the Ozarks, with one glaring exception -those were ashes.