Yesterday was a big anniversary here– I’ve been living in the UK for six years. Although I know I couldn’t have been in two places at once, I regret deeply that I didn’t make it back to the US more. It’s expensive as hell to fly and stay, and we didn’t always have the money or the time, I know. But now there’s no more opportunity to see you. Our closeness had been by telephone for so many years (even when I lived in the same country or state) but I have these overwhelming feelings of it not being good enough. I should have been there more. I wanted to be there every six months, and initially, I kind of managed that schedule. Then life got in the way. I got a job at a bookshop, we went on holidays to Spain when we had our vacation time… Just not good enough. Not that there was much I could’ve done shy of magically having all the airplane ticket money I could need, but I still feel shit about it all.
I know, I know solidly and truly that you wanted me here and happy but I also know that selfishly you would have liked me never to go; I know this because I know myself and there’s a big part of you in me. I would’ve been happy for you and unhappy for me if the roles had been reversed.
We never did get your passport. I reminded you, of course, but I am sure that although I would have paid for everything, you didn’t feel confident about the financial aspect of coming to England, even if just for a visit. You’d have to board the dog, board the cat, etc., etc.
I’m not sure if you had any other reasons for not coming, but it is a gruelling number of hours on a plane and perhaps you just never wanted to do that. (You were claustrophobic at times…)
You’re here now though. I have your modest black plastic box on the top shelf of my desk. You’re above my visual range up there, but that’s probably a good thing. I do sometimes look up at the label: This is to certify that the cremated remains of [handwritten] Virginia Ann Parrish are in this container and that the cremation was completed on [again, handwritten] 9/13/2010.
It’s a strange thing to see. You’re in there, well, your organic stuff is. Aaron and I plan on spreading your ashes, just as you wanted and where you wanted, but to tell you the truth, I can see now why some people keep an urn around. I feel like letting the ashes go is letting go of more of you – the last of you – and I don’t know what I’d do if that label wasn’t looking back at me from up there.
I love you.