and if you don't believe me, ask anyone in my family - they'll confirm it.
Once upon a time, my grandfather died. My mother, being the oldest child, was nominated to collect his ashes which she did. And she kept those ashes in the trunk of her car for quite a while. I'm not sure how long it was - but more than long enough.
Thus started a tradition, duly carried on by me, though not by either my brother nor my sister.
When my mom died, I collected her ashes. Many years later - more than 10 - those ashes are still in my house. I occasionally take her out so she can celebrate with us, watch the Oscars with us, enjoy Thanksgiving or Christmas with us.
When my dad died three years ago, I collected not only his ashes, but half of my Aunt Faye's ashes (which were in his keeping - do you see why I am forced to continue the tradition?) - the other half of which were smuggled onto an airplane (who knew you couldn't take human remains on board a plane?) and taken back to Manitoba, to the tiny town of Portage la Prairie, where she was born.
When I was writing my first book - DRAGONFLIES AND DINOSAURS - I used part of this story. The protagonist of the book takes a summer road trip from Vancouver to northern Manitoba. Her tiny car is filled with two teenage boys, plenty of electronic equipment, and her mother's ashes.
This is a story that haunts me. This is a story that shaped me. This is a story that has no end.