Thursday, July 20, 2006

Letters to Melissa

Sweet Melissa:

As I'm sure you know, we received your ashes from the vet several days ago. They came in a small pewter container that, Marilyn--the vet's wife--told us was skulpted by the gentleman who does the cremations for them. The top of the container was, indeed, skulpted: there were shapes of flowers and leaves dug into the metal. Not really beautiful, but a good effort. You would have taken a quick look and stuck your nose up in the air. You were so...discerning.

I had decided, when we let you go, that I wanted to plant a tree in the back yard where we would place your ashes. I wanted a red maple. What John--you remember John, you loved John who remodeled three-quarters of our house and also landscaped the yard--came up with was a maple that is green in the spring and summer, but turns a brilliant, deep red in the fall. He delivered it yesterday. I thought it would be the absolute perfect tree for you, given that you also, like the seasons, changed physically when the imminent threat of winter approached. Your coat became so full, so luxuirous when the season changed.

I had already begun digging the hole for the tree and, yesterday, when David and I carried it into the back yard, it was clear the hole needed to be enlarged. The tree was very mature, large. And, after dinner, David went to Target and picked up several bags of planting soil while I stayed home and enlarged the hole, assuring that I would have--as the tag on the tree indicated--between six and twelve inches of clearance between the side of the hole and the root ball. The root ball was in a fifteen gallon container. So, as you might guess, I had to make the hole quite large.

Yes, I know you know all of this already. But, believe me, it helps me to write about it.

Anyway, I went upstairs while David was at the store, and I wrote a little good-bye note to you and also printed one of my favorite pictures of you. When David got home, we put the pewter container of your ashes, the good-bye note and the picture into a plastic bag. We sealed the bag with duct tape and then placed the package into the bottom of the hole I had dug for the tree.

David and I sobbed a bit. We embraced. You were, after all, our child, our precious child who had given us so much joy over twelve years and ten months or our and your life.

We then placed the maple on top of your ashes and filled the hole first with the Miracle Grow David had brought home from Target and then topped it off with the suprisingly rich soil I had dug up from the planting spot.

Ah, we miss you so much, Sweet Melissa. But, you know that. You know that as you find that little pleasure in, once again, the domination of every move Calvin E. Rowe and Nikolai Blue Buck take up there as you did down here. Yes, somewhere beyond the rainbow, I've got a feeling Calvin and Nikolai just smile with your typical, controling antics. They love you, too.

I'll be writing to you in the future about other things: politics and parks and birds and camping and other stuff that David and I and I alone experience as we continue this odbyssey called life back here in the old house and amongst this mortal baggage that, at times, weighs so heavy.

Kisses, honey. We love you. We always will.

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