I have four dead bodies in my condo

This isn’t meant to shock you; it’s actually the truth.

See, when my father died this past April, apart from leaving no will, his only directive was, “Salvage what you can, and burn the rest.”

(For more strange humor about my dad, you should read this past post.)

So, until my siblings can converge together in New Jersey (my sister lives overseas), and we can scatter dad’s ashes at the place we used to go hiking, he sits in a box in my hall closet, next to board games, winter gloves, and a jacket I haven’t worn in several years.

Wait! What’s that you say? “But, Erica…That only accounts for ONE of the dead bodies in your condo. You said there were FOUR!”

Well, aside from my math SAT being below 600 (back in 1995), I can count. Where did the other three bodies come from? You could say that I “inherited” them.

Dad’s second wife, my stepmother, predeceased dad by a few years. She had inherited the ashes of HER mother and HER mother had inherited the ashes of HER OWN mother in law. Are you following? I’ll try this again.

My father had my stepmother’s ashes, however, prior to my stepmother’s death, my stepmother had her own mother’s ashes, and her paternal grandmother’s ashes, too. So when my stepmother died, all those ashes were bequeathed to dad. Now that dad’s gone…well…they’re my responsibility.

The thing is, my stepmother didn’t have any family here in the States. I remember my dad talking about a cousin in Italy that he had corresponded with on occasion. I got access to dad’s email and I contacted this random cousin. Using my one year of Italian 101, (I learned conversational Italian by listening to my grandparents argue) and double checking it with Google Translate, I made contact, offering to mail the ashes to him. He happily accepted the offer…Until…

Italy doesn’t accept “human remains” in the mail. Now, I know that there’s a way to do this where you go to the funeral home and they provide all these certificates and such, but that would only work with my stepmother. I don’t know where her mom or grandma was cremated. So I wrote the sad email saying that I can’t mail the ashes, but I would spread them with dignity and respect in a nice place. Did he have any suggestions?

He did! His suggestion was to hold onto the ashes until someone (he still hasn’t said who) will come to New York and pick up the ashes. So…That leaves me with four dead bodies (three of which will hopefully be leaving some times in 2017) in my condo. So much for starting the new year off fresh.

Happy Holidays, all!

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