opened the door and walked into the crispness
of the bright winter morning. There were clouds looming over-head,
low and ominous, almost overbearing. She shivered and turned to
see her mother step out of the door before letting it swing shut.
They walked without speaking for a few moments, just content to
stroll in silence and know that if either wanted to speak, there
would be a reply. But even comfortable silences become
uncomfortable and she started to feel that the silence was
becoming more overbearing than the precipitous weather that hung
heavily above them.
A funny feeling came over her; the only way to explain it was
that it felt as if someone had walked over her grave, which was a
totally morbid thought. She turned to her mother, who was also
feeling the impact of the silent chill.
"Mom," she said. "When I die I want to be
cremated. I don't want to be put in a box to rot."
The statement startled her mother and it took her a moment to
reply to the strange comment.
"What made you think of that, Sweetie?" She asked once she
had recovered. The child shrugged and said, "We just passed
a cemetery and I couldn't bear to think of being put in a big,
ugly box just so that someone can hang onto something that is no
longer there. There is no good that comes of it, only pain for
all those involved. You can't hang on Mommy, it just isn't
She punctuated her opinionated statement with a
stamp of her foot and she crossed her arms defensively across her
Her mother was astonished.
"Don't you think that it's nice to have somewhere to go?
Some way that really means goodbye?"
she asked her daughter.
The girl shrugged and replied, "But
it isn't really saying goodbye is it? I mean, you bury the person
so that you can come and visit them even though they're dead.
It's a totally morbid security complex, almost like Linus from
Charlie Brown and his blanket. It's the same thing. You don't
have to wonder about what happened to the person because you
know: their body is right there, six feet under, eaten by worms,
dead. But it's still there, you can dig it up and it'll still be
the person you remember, but not the same anymore. Dead. Maybe
people so it because they hope that maybe there's a ray of light
in the form of reanimation of the dead. But what then? What will
they be? Non entities? Alive, but not what they used to
be, never again what they once were they are no longer,
can never be once more. So why put what's left through hell? Tell
me Mommy, why?"
Breathing deeply from the exertion of walking and trying to keep
up her dramatic monologue, the girl turned in question to her
They had never been a religious family and she was starting to
wonder if that had been the thing for her child. It was too late
to decide now, though, and there was nothing she could do to stop
the accusation lurking in the grey depths of her daughter's eyes.
Nothing she could do
"I don't know why," she whispered into the wind.
The child nodded her head in weary acceptance.
"All I ask, Mother, is that when I die, someone should plant a tree for
me, I shall do the same for you, but all I want is to be a harmonious
part of nature, and all I can think of is a tree."
Her words where blown away by the wind and her mother's eyes
were filled with tears.
The girl knew the truest secret of adulthood: the only reason we
keep on living is so that we can die. So it is for al things
living, and so it is for all things left behind to grieve. And
they carried on walking, their true destination now revealed, and
the grey clouds hung low on the gunmetal grey sky. Their hearts
were heavy with pain and regret.
(c) Sister Kala