So if you’ve read my most recent letter already, keep going, otherwise scroll down to read that one first! K. said she really enjoyed talking to you the other day on the phone and was sorry that getting your granddaughter off to school cut things short a bit. I was in the salt mines at the time as she probably told you.
This is the conversation we had on the way back from her voltigieren (horse vaulting) one day.
Daddy, why did Grandpa get burned?
We don’t say “burned” in English, sweetie-bear. We say “cremated.” Can you ask the question again with the word “cremated?”
Why did Grandpa get cremated?
Because he wanted it that way. That’s what I want to happen to me, too. I want to go out in a blaze of glory.
When you get cremated, do you put the ashes in the ground?
You can put them in the ground, or you can scatter them to the wind, or let them fall into a river, anything – it’s your choice. Then you can put a plaque in a cemetery if you like, with the person’s name, the dates he was born and died, and a little saying maybe. Do you remember driving for three days to get to the very middle of Canada almost to be in the little town where Grandpa’s ashes are buried?
Yeah, that was a long way.
(something else said here, but I don’t recall what)
Was Penny cremated?
No, Penny was lowered into the ground in a coffin. I remember seeing her before, though. I went with your two uncles and your Grandpa. Grandma was too devastated to go along. She knew she was dead, she didn’t want to see the body.
What’s “devast… …”
It means she was very, very, sad. She was sad for a very long time.
Did you take a picture?
No, I didn’t take a picture! There are some things you don’t take a picture of, some places where you should never bring a camera, and that’s one of them. It wouldn’t have been dignified.
It would mean that you wouldn’t have shown respect for the specialness of the person who died.
It’s too bad we’ll never see her baby.
That’s true, it is too bad. But maybe there is a way to find her. If I put her story out on the internet, maybe someone, somewhere out there will see it and recognise it as her own. I’ve often thought of trying to find her, but it just seemed so hopeless. Besides, unless you’re the mother of the baby that was given up for adoption, they don’t just let anybody look into records to try to find people. It’s funny though. The world is very big, but at the same time, very small. I might have been sitting beside her for hours in an airplane, and never known who she was. Or she might have been living on another street in the same city.
When you’re trying to find someone, the world is very big, and when you’re trying to get away from someone, the world is very small.
Hey, you got that right! I wish I had a pen so I could write that down! I’m going to write that down as soon as we get home.
Did she want to have a baby?
No, she didn’t want to have a baby, but she made a mistake. As we’ve told you, if you have sex with someone and you aren’t careful, you can have a baby, or you can get diseases.
But why did she give her baby away? Didn’t she want to keep it?
No, she was too young for that. She had no home to bring it back to, she didn’t have a job…
What did she look like?
I don’t know. None of us ever saw here. But maybe one day.
© 2007 lettershometoyou