Yesterday was the day that we took my father’s ashes to the cemetary in Yeadon, PA to have him “inurned” in the columbarium that he and my stepmother purchased a few years ago. We always joked that it looked like a mailbox, right down to your name plate on the front. I have never been to an inurnment, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I think I half thought we would just take the urn over to the cemetary, drop it off at the office, and be on our way.
Anyway, my stepmom, Ann, picked Brighid and I up about 10 in the morning. We met Ann’s sister Maria at the cemetary, and she had stopped to pick up Father Gormley – a friend of my dad and stepmom, who would be using his credentials to conduct the inurnment. My Uncle Bud and Aunt Lee were also there, and that was nice.
In front of the columbarium, they had set up a table, covered with that green indoor/outdoor carpet kind of stuff like they use at a regular gravesite. Ann placed my Dad’s urn on the table, and Father Gormley conducted a service, which was short but very nice. We weren’t sure what to do at that point, once the prayers and everything were said, so the guy who worked there said we could stay and watch him seal the mailbox. He took my dad from the table, and slid him into the back of the mail slot. The slot is a double slot, and some day, my stepmom will be inurned there as well. He placed a heavy looking stone type thing over the opening, and sealed it shut with glue. Then, he replaced the marble face that has the plaque with my dad’s name on it. I was surprised that they already had the placque with his date of death on it, but I guess it’s not that much work to just afix a plaque to the front of the thing. I did shed a few tears – when I saw my dad’s name on what is the equivalent of a tombstone. It’s a cold reality.
We left the cemetary and went to lunch together at Filomena’s. I had only eaten there once and wasn’t happy with my meal, but the lunch was delicious. I had a crab cake that was accompanied by nicely flavored green beans and some delicious pasta. We talked a bit about my dad, got to know Father Gormley a little better (he was an Irish step dancer!), and had a nice visit.
I am glad to be able to spend this time with Ann. I had felt like when my dad passed away, she would surround herself with her family and her own grandchildren and we would be cut out. I think it would be a terrible thing for my girls not to have her as part of their lives. Aside from the benefit of knowing her, she will be able to share with them things about my dad that I might not know. That’s important to me.