My husband was getting ready to leave on a trip to Uruguay and, as he always does, he was plying me with information about “where this was” and “where that was” and “don’t forget to do this with that.” Routine pre-travel stuff, the bags were packed and since for the last month he’d been making a neat piles of everything, I knew he wouldn’t forget anything.
“So where do you want to be buried? In Uruguay or shall I fly you back?” I asked.
His eyebrows rose and returned to normal.
He pointed to the blue folder, “That’s the paperwork in case the offer on the house comes through.”
“Yes, you told me. But what about my question?”
We all do it. We all avoid talking about what happens when we die. Well, perhaps not all of us, but I think I’m safe in saying the majority of us avoid it.
I was surprised by his silence.
For me it’s a no box, no grave, no enclosing me in anything – just quick cremation and scatter me in a beautiful field. Laugh and sing for I will be going exactly where I’ve always wanted to be - to heaven. I don’t mind which field so long as it’s open and has a few wildflowers growing. I don’t want it to be difficult, I don’t want people coming to a graveyard to weep and then having to endure costs of maintenance.
Because in my earthly life I’ve done so much, seen so much, lived so much – I’ve been happy beyond belief and miserable beyond comprehension and everything in between, but mostly happy. I don't want you to have to go through the stress of making decisions.
When I die I have an express ticket to heaven (or whatever the travel arrangements are) and my earthly body will have finished its job. No one need visit the bones. I’ll be in the hearts of the people who loved me, I’ll be continuing a relationship with the people I loved and no gravestone is going to improve that, no matter how many times Hollywood films it.
“So … my question?” I’m serious, I want to know, because I want to respect my husband's wishes. He’s good at talking about these subjects and I’m surprised by his hesitation.
He hesitates again and sighs, “Here, I’d like to be here, but, wait ... it’s expensive. No, leave me there. Don’t spend any extra money on me.” He says quietly.
“With your parents and your aunt?”
“Yes. That’s fine.”
It’s about money again, isn’t it? When the time comes and I know that he’s not where his heart really wants to be, will I have the courage to respect his wishes? Or will I bring him here?
Perhaps I'll wait for him to come home next week so I can ask him "If money weren't an object, where would you like to be?" Because I don't think it's fair to ask over email, right?