I chose water today. Brass, water, Japanese characters on a bowl in which calcium and carbon will reside. It is time to move Mom from the patriotic priority shipping box to something more decorative and dignified. Guilt plants doubts and questions: “Nothing too expense; nothing too cheap. Do I go with a biodegradable urn? Do I choose the $750 royal purple urn so that both of our ashes can be added and buried upon my death?”
How does one memorialize a mother who didn’t mother but who did the best she could to provide her children a better life, even if it meant that she wouldn’t be in it? Right or wrong, she was still Mom to my brothers and I. She was still a sister to my aunt and uncle. Her life had value on a human level, despite the collateral damage left in her wake. Burying a parent is difficult, no matter the level of connection.
I chose metal – warm in color and tone, cold in temperature, fired for strength, resistant to salt water and therefore, my tears. I chose symbolism – a water carrier. Water, which shifts shape and form: from water to ice and back again. Soothing and abrasive. Just like mom.
I chose symbols. I don’t know what they mean, which seems appropriate since my mother was such an enigma to me. Symbols that represent the closing of one chapter and the liberating freedom of another.
I am providing my mother dignity and love – from ashes to nothing to everything. In the end, all that matters is love – in life and in death.