At the end of a list of rather mundane errands today, I parked the car in front of the funeral home and walked in. Which was, I have to say, a bit anticlimactic. I thumbed through a little brochure entitled “Loss of a Child” (featuring the syrupy image of a Thomas –“The Painter of Light!”– Kinkade garden scene) while I waited in the lobby. A tall gentleman in a heavily starched shirt ceremoniously presented the long-awaited death certificate, which I read with great interest.
Time of Death: 3:44 (which means they did CPR for almost 40 minutes).
Cause of Death: (simply) Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
I then tried my best to fend off the kindly, yet ever-so-persistent funeral home chaplain while I waited for the man to retrieve Will’s remains. This was distracting enough, and helped keep me from asking an increasingly pressing question: “what the heck is taking him so long? Did they lose the ashes or something?”
They didn’t, of course. I was expecting a temporary black plastic box, but he handed me a small, plain, hinged pine box with a pressed-tin insert in the lid. Opening the brass clasp, I looked in at a clear plastic bag of gray ashes. It was the size of a large egg. Instinctively, I reached in to press my thumb against the gritty grains and remember the beautiful body of my son.