Our Story Part 14
Taking him home
When we had Curtis' service, his urn was on back order. Figured. They asked us at the service if we wanted to take the "loaner" urn home with us and trade it back in when the teddy bear urn came in. Or they could hold the ashes until the urn came in and give us a call.
For some reason, I couldn't take home the loaner urn. For one, it was ugly. This huge, brass colored thing with a gigantic cross on it. It was a far cry from the cute teddy bear sitting on alphabet blocks. I just didn't want that thing in my house. It wasn't comforting, it was scary. It didn't make me think fondly of my son, it made me angry.
So, we waited for his ashes.
In the mean time, on a random Thursday, I went out to get the mail and saw an envelope from the hospital. Thinking it was some kind of sympathy card from the nurses, I opened it up and out tumbled a picture of Curtis.
I suddenly remembered being in the hospital that day and them stating the professional organization that does the newborn photos offered to take a free set of pictures. It is the only photo we have with his hat off. They clearly touched up the photo as his head his nice and round and doesn't have the ridge I remember. They sent me a few 5x7s in color and black and white and a few wallet size. I was so damn excited about this "long lost" photo I had forgotten about. I called Craig right away. "We got a new picture! We got a new picture!"
He left work early and raced home to see it.
He realized half way into his drive he should be racing home to see his son, not a picture of him. It was a somber moment as I greeted him at the door with the last new picture we ever had of our baby. He held it in his hands and looked down at this photo. Tears filled both of our eyes.
In the weeks that followed, we anxiously wondered where in the world our son's urn was. We called Colin and he said it would be in soon. We were anxious to bring him home.
Finally, we got the call the urn was in. I wasn't back to work quite yet, and I told Craig I could pick the ashes up. He hesitated and said "I want to go with you." We met at the funeral home one late summer afternoon to finally take Curtis home.
Colin handed us the cute urn and I turned it over in my hands. Finally holding Curtis again. I looked at the urn and it struck me this was it. This was my son. This was his ashes. This was the only thing I had.
We walked out to the cars and looked at each other. We had two cars, but both of us wanted to take him home with us. Craig finally opened the backseat to my car and said "He should ride in the back seat." He carefully put the urn in the car and shut the door. He walked slowly to his car, as tears ran down my face.
I got in the front seat, started the car, and drove us home.
It wasn't the way I had wanted, it wasn't the way I had intended, but Curtis was coming home with us. Craig and I walked in the house together. Craig took the urn out of my hands and carefully placed it on Curtis' shelf in the curio cabinet, next to his photos and next to the small teddy bear he was posed with in the hospital. He carefully shut the door to the curio cabinet and I turned on the light so it was shining down on his urn.
Later that night, as we were heading upstairs to go to bed, Craig shut off the light in the curio cabinet. I asked why, as I liked the light shining on him at all times. Craig looked at me, looked at the urn and said "Well, I just...he can't sleep with the light on."