Have Grief, Will Travel

Dear Darling Ones,

I have a love/hate relationship with tiny, travel-sized items like toiletries, itty bitty booze bottles, and a third thing I can’t think of right now.

As a humanlike creature I am hardcoded to adore tiny things — babies (once they’re like nine months old), kittens, LEGO replicas of popular sitcoms from the early aughts, and travel-sized everything.

From the time we start to exist we are taught to equate tiny with cute. This is also why I hate travel-sized things. There is no place in my memory where I have been tiny and cute. I know it happened because there is photographic evidence. But my time as cute was short-lived.

Giants are never cute. Maybe the Iron Giant, but that has more to do with his robotness than his giantness.

Another thing I’m not a big fan of? Remains. Cremains. Ashes. Whatever you want to call what happens when something is cremated. When I had to put Paco and Madison down I never even imagined wanting their ashes. What was I gonna do with them? Put them on the shelf next to my typewriter? Nuzzle them next to the Funko Pop version of Cameron from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?”


My mom has vastly different feelings about cremains. I kinda guessed this after the small meltdown she had when she got my dad’s ashes in a box. It was a nice box, but she was not having any of it. Sister #2 hopped onto Amazon right quick and ordered up an urn. I venmoed her money to pay for half. Capitalism & death in the year 2022, amiright?

Last night my mom came over for dinner and started talking about how pretty the urn was. I told her Sister #2 picked it out and I never even opened the box it came in. Then I shivered because. Ick.

She told me how it was pretty heavy even though not all his ashes were in it.

Then she started crying about how she feels bad he wasn’t able to go to Las Vegas one last time, but she was going to take him with her when she goes in November.

Umm . . . what?

Apparently, Sister #4 bought my mom a travel-sized urn so she could take some of his ashes to Vegas with her. She plans to spread a little bit of him, I beleive she said, on the buffaloes, which I assume is some kind of slot machine.

My brain fritzed out a bit right about the time she said, “cute, travel-sized urn” and spread her fingers apart to show me the approximate size. I just shook my head slowly in response.

“What?” she asked.
“We’re very different people,” I said.

Then I had to reassure her that just because I would never, ever want the remains of any person or animal in my house doesn’t mean it’s wrong. We all grieve in our own ways.

“Whatever you’re doing is the right way to deal with it,” I told her, totally ripping off the advice my friend EM gave me right after my dad died.

I’m trying not to think about the urn she called travel-sized but is probably not at all meant for that. I’m trying to not think about what it’s meant for.



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