Raising Sand (Krauss and Plant), the Essential Leonard Cohen, and Dogwood Winter (A.J. Roach) have been the official mourning albums at The Barn. The 4-discs that make up this quartet have driven me to tears, dried my tears, and reminded me of the love I had for Doug aka HMO’Keefe.
We just completed the Great Ash Dash of 2014 in which we scattered his ashes in the places he loved.
After telling me he wanted to be cremated, I asked him what I should do with his ashes. He paused for only a second or two before saying he wanted to be scattered somewhere in Arizona.
We took it beyond that. His daughter, sister- and brother-in-law, and I traveled more than 1500 miles about the Southwest scattering his ashes in the places we knew he loved – California, Arizona and New Mexico – in the places he studied and loved.
There are some ashes still and I intend to scatter them in the garden. He may not have loved West Virginia, but West Virginia loved him. His daughter, Carruthers, has some ashes too. She’ll scatter them in more places that he loved.
There’s been closure as a result of The Great Ash Dash of 2014. I’ve been listening to the 4 discs all night. I hear “I’m your man” and smile instead of crying. It may be premature to think so, but I sense that mourning is over.
Plant and Krauss drove me to tears every single time I listened to “Read the Letter.” The song summoned everything I wanted to tell him, but didn’t . Between the words and the notes was every thought, I-love-you, secret, promise, endearment unsaid. I can listen to it now and think of the things that were said and written. The quartet of mourning CDs are, at least at this moment, nothing but beautiful reminders that I loved deeply.
A.J. Roach reminded me of the beauty of family and love, the longing for home and someone to hold.
I’ve listened to these 4 discs weekly since June. I don’t think that’s going to end anytime soon. What will change is that instead of mourning, I will celebrate the love we had.