Full Moon Funeral
Laura and Beth went directly to the open cardboard cremation box on the cart where their mother had been placed. They touched her one last time, lingered a few minutes, and then wrapped the sheet over her face and placed the lid on the box. The lid had been at their home the last two days and had been decorated by family members and friends who had visited. It was adorned with loving phrases, well wishes, and expressions of grief, poetry, and art. It was beautiful.
The box was pushed into the retort, with Beth and Laura's assistance, and the doors shut. The technician asked them if they wanted to be present when he pushed the button; they said yes. We heard a whooshing sound, paused a moment, and then slowly walked out into the cold winter day.
In the driveway outside, Beth looked at me and said, "That was really difficult, but I feel relieved." She continued, "We were with her all the time; we never left her body. I'm kind of glad to know exactly what happened. We saw it all through. I don't have to wonder where she was or what happened to her."
Later, Laura told me, "It's as if we just waded right into it. We didn't skirt around the edges, dipping our toe in just a little; we walked right in."