"I really miss Grey Grey," Ry said sadly. I understood.
"If we opened his urn, would we see pieces of his eyes?"
What?! Had I really done that poorly of a job explaining to Riley what cremation was? Had he thought, for the past nine months, that there were really pieces of Grey in his urn? My heart hurt.
"Can we open it?"
"Give me a minute Ry, and we will."
I went into my bedroom and called my dear friend in Canada, one who sadly knew more about this subject than I.
"Grieving mother question . . ." I went on, "What did you tell the kids when they wanted to see the ashes? What did you tell them to expect?"
She told me that she told her children that their sister's body had to turn to ashes so that she was light enough to fly.
So off we went, Ry and I . . . and a screwdriver.
As I unscrewed to bottom of Grey's urn my heart hurt with anticipation. I had never seen any one's ashes, much less my own son's. As I opened it up, I was surprised at the amount of cotton in it. It's such a small box anyways, 3x3x3. As I removed the cotton I saw the bag, a simple plastic bag with a twist-tie weaved through a silver tag with the number 323 engraved on it. I took it out of the urn and Grey now fit in the palm of my hand. I stared at it, waiting for the emotion to come.
"Well, that's sure not Grey!" Ry blurted out. "Whew, he really is in Heaven!"
He was right. Waiting for the hurt to hit, I suddenly realized that those ashes and those bones, though once part of Grey's body, were no longer Grey.
They were just what was left so that his spirit could fly.