Kids don’t come in a box…

but they often leave in one.  Too much information for you?  Then don’t keep reading, for this is the late night muse, and not one for every reader.

The first time I said, “Kids don’t come in a box” I was talking with a friend I’ve known since  we were three years old.  She understood immediately.  It was just a few days after Owen’s body was found.  Her kids are young, and all so different, so the phrase was poignant.

What I meant was, they are all different, and you can’t expect to read the ingredients on the side panel, and really understand what the box contains.  Kids will always contradict their ingredients.  They are with us to make us think, not read their DNA and expect that there are no mysteries involved.

To make this a short post, as the hour is late, and I have to work tomorrow (yes, that is a mystery in itself), I will only say this: Owen was never predictable.  He presented challenges whenever he could.  That was often.  And, he liked it that way.  He taught us much, and we miss those challenges. 

We have an Owen box, but now it contains Owen’s remains, his ashes.  He would think that weird.  Yet, I cannot let them go just now.  For the moment, it sits on our dining room table, and every night before I go to bed, I touch the box, rub the top, the sides, and talk to Owen about how strange it is, that we have come to this end.  His black hacky-sack sits on top, as he would have wanted.

Owen collected boxes, of all shapes and sizes.  He liked them.  I don’t think he ever really thought about what kind of box would contain his ashes.  He looked forward to the future, so this would have been an unlikely rehearsal for him – the box, any box, other than those that contained his collections of little, strange, unforgettable things…like miniature animals, paper clips, strings, decals, bracelets, notes, pictures, or…so many things that have nothing to do with human remains.  I have to shake off that last  phrase, physically.  For Owen would only think of boxes as something cool, something in which to keep stuff he wanted to recollect.  I don’t think he would have thought of his ashes as such.  I don’t think it would have ever occurred to him that his ashes might be…collectible. 

He might say something like, “Mom, you’re fucking kidding.  You’re gonna keep my ashes in a box?  Boxes are for things you want to keep.  Ashes are for recycling.  What are you thinking?”

Kids don’t come in a box, but…they sometimes leave in them…and then, over time, you are able to come to your senses, and give them back to the earth from which they came.   I have not come to my senses yet.  I hope that day will come…someday.


~ by Linda on August 21, 2007.

3 Responses to “Kids don’t come in a box…”

  1. I’m sorry about the loss of your son. I know it must be unbearable for you at times. What I’m thinking right this minute is that unfortunately instructions for dealing with grief so profound as this don’t come on or in a box either. I hope you’ll have some happy thoughts of Owen today that will get you from one breath to the next.

  2. Thanks for the kind thoughts. I have thought about Owen a lot today, as every day, and yes, sometimes that’s the only thing that gets me from one breath to the next.

  3. It took my 7 years before I could part with my son’s ashes. And even then, I did it because I was moving internationally and didn’t want to declare “human remains” on any manifest. His ashes were always a comfort to me as Owen’s are to you, and putting them to sea was like watching him leave me all over again. I asked my best friend if it was ok to keep a little of them, as a memento. He told me of course, so I did. They sit in his shrine.

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