Well it happened. I finally got the call from Harvard. The studies are done, and they are returning what’s left of her to the ones who loved her. Tomorrow I will go into Boston to collect the dust from her bones, to hold on to until we can release it into the White Mountains she loved so much.
Dust in the wind, a recurring theme, in that Kansas song, and the native American story that inspired it, and literature form so many other cultures too. What I get tomorrow is the dust, but she was never the dust, she was the wind itself. I always said she was more than a woman, she was a force of nature. I could barely keep up with her even while that matter slowed her down.
I knew when she died that she left that body behind, and whatever was left of her was in the air, in the breeze striking the wind chimes, catching my cheek on a hike. So in that sense I feel like she’s always been as much with me as she ever will be. Getting the remains back is just a milestone, one more reminder of the finality of it all.
She didn’t love that body so much. It sure gave her plenty of trouble, right from the day she was born. She was adamant that if there was a resurrection of the body, she wanted a new one, not a retread on the one she had. But it carried her well enough for us to meet, and fall in love, and raise the family she always wanted. It lasted just long enough for her to finish her hurried trip through life, barely getting in everything she told me she wanted on that very first weekend when we met.
Next summer we will get the family together for one more trip up Mount Washington, when we can find a clear day with a strong wind into the northeast. We know the spot, she pointed it out years ago. One last time the wind will take that dust and carry it into the Madison Gulf and it will become part of the trees and streams and the Wilderness she loved so much, the place that was always more of a home to her than any house we ever built.
And then I can finally finish saying goodbye.