Monday, 17 October 2011

The Box

When we were kids, we couldn’t wait for Santa to come, we would put out the cookies and milk and hope we have been good boys and girls just to get the best gifts. The biggest box, or the one with the prettiest wrapping. A lot of effort was put into making us believe the bearded man existed and we would only get these magical presents if we were on our best behaviour. Once a year if we were fortunate enough, we would celebrate our birthdays, people would give us gifts or cards to make us feel special for turning one year older, oh how excited and special we felt when we received that present which took up half the room, or the gift that sparkled brighter than a clear starry night. Imagine we got a box that was empty, and the card read, it’s the thought that counts. Could a thought be tangible in that tiny box? Or was a box made to be filled. And made to fill what? A diamond ring that announces to the word that two people have committed themselves for life. Or a Barbie doll wrapped in shocking pink paper with the purpose of making a little girl smile. What’s in a box I ask?

With the passing of a Gran, the pain before the death and the anguish after, what are we left with? The tangible being is gone and what is left is a lifeless person. A person that was once smiling or joking. Was walking or running. Was planting new beautiful plants in the garden or removing the weeds that constricted life.  We all must die one day. But what are the people here on earth left with. A tombstone we can visit occasionally and feel the somber sad cold feelings of a cemetery. Leave flowers at the site of the dearly departed. Or in my families case. We are left with a box. My mind is finding it hard to deal with the fact that, the ash is the box is really her. How is that possible that an entire life can be summed up by one pink wooden box?  All the memories, thoughts and past is nested in that tiny box. For someone whose personality was bigger than any mountain, they were now known as a box. And what of the inside? Is it the thought that counts, the final remaining tangible assets of someone moved on. It’s really true.  The hour class of life once tipped, all the sand rests at the bottom, lifeless. The final candle expired and now the sand of time rests in the box from the crematorium.

A box to me is a gift, something we keep dear. When I receive a present wrapped up, ribbons, cards. I smile and the thought that someone has gone out and bought me something, a special something. This box however, is it a gift, is it a person, is it a life gone. The post funeral dispersing of ashes is one where you go with the family to lay them to their final path of life. Whether you do it in their favourite garden, or stand on rock and throw the dust into the sea. Once the thoughts of that box are rained out into the wind. They are gone. There will be no sign left that they once were physically here, sure we have photos, we have our own minds, but we all know past fades.  Soon enough my family will embark on the final journey and last chapter of Oumas life. But where to lay her to rest. Me, id keep the box. That little gift is the last present she left us.  

A box, something we may actually not recognise as being meaningful, but remember this. That special moment when you open that box to find a ring, or get that awesome new pair of jeans you have been eyeing out, that happy feeling is one you must cherish when you are alive, as we all know how short life is. Make the most of it, make new memories, and just be. As one day when all is said and done, your family saw you as a gift and will choose to hold you dear. It’s the thought that counts.

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