Ashes to ashes to tattoos and more

With a friend acting as lookout, I recently scattered most of Joe’s ashes near the dorm where we met at the University of Oregon.

A campus official said this act of love was technically not allowed, then advised us in a whisper to be discreet. It had a subversive feel, an appropriate nod to the zeitgeist of the 1970s when we were in Eugene. I am happy I will be able to pay respects whenever I visit the U of O, and that’s important to me.

More important is that Joe’s wishes have been honored. Well, mostly, anyway.

I still have a couple tablespoons of him left.  I’m apparently not ready after 141 days to let go for good.

Well-meaning friends have suggested having these last ashes made into a pendant or pin I can wear forever near my heart, or even into a pretty paperweight for my desk.

Online, the suggestions are freakish and macabre.

For a price, you can add your loved one’s ashes to ink and get a memorial tattoo, turn them into a shotgun shell, blast them into space or press them into a 33 rpm record with a personalized audio remembrance. You can mix them with paint for a portrait or use them to have the deceased’s likeness formed into a 3D bust urn.

I’m not ready to let go right now. But the natural order of things dictates that someday, I must.

And when I do, no freak-show, for-profit nonsense will be involved. It will simply be as Joe wished: with song, prayer and a final flamboyant fling to the wind.

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