ashes in a paving stone

Ashes in a Paving Stone

Paving stone made of ashes

By mosaic widow

Shortly after Derek died my best friend brought by a care package. Books, snacks and a paving stone for my flower bed. It was one I could work on with my granddaughter Olivia.

Some thing to keep my mind occupied and for us to do together. Somewhere along the line it ended up in the closet, awaiting summer. I eventually planted flowers in my flower bed. A memorial to Derek who loved yard work. The tulips and heather came and went and spring and summer of 2017 flew by. The paver sat.

Spring of 2018. Most of us thought it was never going to get here. This year has been tough. Different from 2017 which was mired down in early stages of grief, job changes and losses, dating nightmares and change upon change. This year brought on the challenges of easing into the new me. I’ve left corporate. I’ve attempted to adjust to not having a hamster-wheel schedule. I’ve dated, dumped, reconnected, and am struggling to accept I need to stay single.

Time slowed down. In my struggle to adjust I got stuck. Fear took over and I started questioning everything I’ve done my entire life, especially in the last 20 months since Derek died. I stopped making plans. I lost interest in talking to most people. I stopped exercising, was sleeping and drinking too much and lost my yearning to write. Stuck with no passion to get me out of bed and no one to really make me , I wasted weeks. The vicious circle continued until I had a series of wakeup calls.

My best friend’s husband had emergency open-heart surgery. I sat in the waiting room an entire day with her surrounded by friends, her family and my son. I prayed she didn’t join me. I was reminded again how fragile life is. I wrote that night for the first time in weeks. I felt a light spark somewhere.

The following night I went to meet with widows from our group and we talked about loss and life after. Each of us in different times out from our loss. I grasped onto how far I’ve really come. I drove home and detoured. Longing to connect with someone not meant for me to have or at least not just yet. I sat in my driveway and longed for so many things I didn’t have. Finally I made my way to the porch.

I sat in the dark. I listened to the rain. I got up and walked into my yard and I stood barefoot and let the rain fall on my face. Aching so much for what I want and what I’ve lost. I realize I am lost. I am truly and utterly lost. I’m tired of feeling that way.

Sitting back down on the porch I write again. Understanding gradually coming too me. I have to get out of my own way. Stop trying to control and orchestrate things I have no business dabbling in. I need to sit down like this and just be. Have faith. Have trust. Believe in the greater things awaiting me.

I talked for hours to one of my friends. The universe gave us to each other just in time. As always. Through our parallels lives we are learning. Mirroring. Reflecting truth back. We talked past 4am. Each laughing as the other marked the perfect time stamps of numbers. 1:11am, 2:22am, 3:33am. We get it. Something changed for me. I know the universe is going to provide for me. I have to do the work. I have to get out of the way. I came in and I slept. Long and hard and don’t dream.

I wake up. Olivia is coming. I don’t spend enough time with her. I realize now and it’s hard to confess; it hurts to spend time with her. She was so much a part of Derek’s and my life. A regular Saturday night routine. Sleepovers and George’s kitchen for breakfast. Pancakes, bacon and eggs. Every single time. He adored her. She hung the moon. In her presence I feel him. It hurts. It’s not her fault and I hope I have realized it before I have lost too much time. I am forcing an awakening. In the innocence, pure love, laughter and child-like wonder of a 5 year old.

She’s here and I go to the closet. I know what we’re doing today. Reaching way into the back of closet I feel it. The paver. We unwrap it. Read the directions. We start mixing the concrete. I tell her to wait. I come in the house and I get a handful of my favorite stones. A turquoise, jade, lapis lazuli, fluorite and tiger’s eyes and a tall white jar. She asks me what’s in the jar as she starts naming off the stones. I’ve taught her the names of the stones I collect and are scattered throughout my house. I tell her that is your papaw Olivia. I open the jar and I show her his ashes.

We mixed them in, add the stones and glass. She stamped the “love you” and I did his name. For almost 2 years I’ve agonized over where to use his ashes. For almost 2 years the paver sat in my closet. I was stuck. I needed to connect with something, somehow. Sitting on the front porch of the home we shared, with the 5 year old girl who he believed hung the moon, we spread ashes and made art.

Tomorrow we will lay it in the flower bed next to the tulips I planted for him. Over the tiny baby bird Olivia found and asked to bury in the garden. I told her he will feed the earth and help the flowers grow. He is flying free in another place and time as we mixed ashes of her grandfather into the paving stone.

Pin points of light connecting.
In death, in love, in creations of ash, 
I am connected again.

Paving stone

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