Cremation, that’s what I choose. Even though it’s not a Jewish custom. When I first pondered the question of my remains, probably a decade ago, my first idea was to have my ashes planted under a tree, a maple or a gingko because I like the shape of the leaves, at the Siddha Yoga Ashram. At that time, students of Siddha Yoga could participate in a program called Trees for Eternity. People planted trees for loved ones around Lake Nityananda. I used to walk around the lake and read the plaques. Sometimes people hung crystals or windchimes or mala beads from the branches.
That choice disintegrated when the ashram ended the Trees for Eternity. Maybe they ran out of room. My next thought was to have one or more family members visit the ashram with my ashes concealed in pouches under their pant legs. They would walk around the lake and surreptitiously dribble my ashes on the path while scuffing them in with their feet. This is what Steve McQueen and the POWs did in the film The Great Escape. The film was based on the book The Colditz Story, a true story about Allied officers who were imprisoned in an old castle or fortress. They got up to all kinds of escape-related mischief, digging tunnels (the dirt from which they spread in the prison yard as described above) and even building a plane inside the walls of the prison—if I’m remembering correctly. But I digress.
Now that even day visitors are restricted at the ashram, I have to come up with a better way to dispose of my ashes. I don’t really cotton to having them sitting around in a box or urn somewhere, whether in a columbarium or some person’s basement, like my ex-husband has done. He’s got his father’s ashes and his brother’s sitting in his house. I don’t mind Tio Jose’s spirit hanging around the property, but Abuelo should definitely have been put to rest years ago. His ghostly cranky energy is not something you’d want to entertain.
My thoughts fly west then, to the Pacific. To Malibu, to Escondido Beach, where I spent the happiest summers of my young life. The house on the dunes smelled of sea grass matting. I slept and woke to the sound of the waves. The mornings were misty, the dunes were hot, the waves were rough, the two dogs ran and barked. It was glorious.
Now there would be a place to set those gray particles of bone free. Let them blow out over the ocean I loved.