I went to pick up Mom's ashes this morning.
The mortuary didn't call me to say her remains were available, but her body was cremated on Wednesday at a crematory 20 miles from here in North Hollywood, so we figured today was the day to try to claim them.
After calling, I drove over to Gates Kingsley and waited as they retrieved them.
While waiting, I surveyed the various brochures and free promotional items.
Wow--a monthly planner, courtesy of your mortuary, along the lines of Psalm 90:12, "Make us realize how short life is...."
I waited in the same room where Emily and I had that difficult interaction with Jerry Morton nine days ago.
I noticed a fake white rose in a small clear vase half-filled with plastic water covered by a layer of dust.
"Here are the cremains," the staff person said, returning. "And here's your permit to carry them."
I signed more papers and walked off with the labeled plastic box inside its knit velour green bag, cradling it in my arms like a baby: the earthly remains of my mother, 7.5 pounds.
I set it on the front seat where she had sat twelve days earlier, where she loved to sit, riding around in my minivan.
At home I found that it was too big for the elegant urn that my parents had brought back from Japan fifty years ago, so I set both the urn and the green bag on my mantlepiece.
What a relief to have her remains back from that mortuary!
In June we will drive them to Colorado and scatter her ashes on our property near Trout Lake, as she had requested.