...On Poetry and Fiction - Just “One Word” Away ("Cremation") editorial by Phyllis P. Colucci at Spillwords.com

…On Poetry and Fiction Just “One Word” Away (“Cremation”)

…On Poetry and Fiction

Just “One Word” Away (“Cremation”)

written by: Phyllis P. Colucci



One word becomes one idea, becomes one sentence, becomes one poem, becomes one story. It must start from just “one word.” Today my one word is “Cremation.”



You died today. When the decision was made to place you into hospice, we knew the doctors could do nothing more for you. Your lungs and heart gave out. You could no longer swallow, eat, speak, move, or breathe. The end was near. We all followed the gurney down to the Hospice Unit, and waited. We did not wait for you to get better; we waited for you to pass on because that was the only place left for you to go today. We did not expect it to happen so soon. We stayed there looking at your lifeless body, as you struggled to breathe with the normal oxygen tube that once kept you alive. It was no longer helping. Nothing was. You were there to finish out your life in comfort; not to be treated. There were no more treatments left to extend your life…We were so tired. It was a long and trying day. We decided to go home, since the timed shots of morphine helped you relax, brought you comfort, and made you breathe easier. That was a small miracle in itself. You fought a long, hard, courageous battle…We expected to come back the next morning to sit with you again, even though you most likely would not know we were there. However, it was not in God’s plan. You passed away peacefully, several hours after we left you. There were no more tomorrows.

On the day you died, we also learned that “She” planned on having no viewing for you at the Funeral Home, and no church service or burial. “She” planned on having you quickly cremated with plans to take you back with her to her own country once “She” sold the house you shared together. Your final resting place would not be in America alongside your parents in a mausoleum, where we could visit you; it would be in her country. “She” shared this information with us in a room filled with family members, including me and your Son, our Son, as doctors prepared us for your imminent death. Our son and I were shocked at this decision. “She” consulted no one and had no compassion for the family members sitting there as well, listening to this; no compassion for your Son, our Son. Yes, as his wife, perhaps “She” had the right to make that decision. However, “She” did not have the right to callously make a decision like that without at least mentioning it to your Son, our Son, privately or before this day happened. With little decency and no compassion, “She” instead allowed it to come as a shock to him. Sometimes you learn more about who people really are at the most intense, strained, and emotional times in life.

As it turned out, “She” had a change of heart, I guess, and held a viewing at the Funeral Parlor for just three very short hours. We were all in attendance. Your friends, and all other family members, had the opportunity to attend as well to say a final goodbye to you. Perhaps “She” did it for your family. I will give her that. “She” did not do it for your Son, our Son. She did not discuss the arrangements with your Son, our Son, at all. “She” went ahead and did it her way with other family members to assist her. Sadly, “She” did not involve your Son, our Son, at all. There was no church service, but a priest did come to the Funeral Home for a short prayer service. That following Monday, you were cremated. It was private, and no family members attended. Perhaps it was too hard to attend. Perhaps they were not in agreement with her decision to cremate you. Your Son, our Son, did not attend either as he was not in favor of his Dad being incinerated. He did not want to be a part of that. We did expect “She” would attend the cremation along with her biological family members who came in from her country. That was not the case. We later learned you were sent to the crematory alone, along with the Funeral Home personnel and driver. That saddened your Son, our Son, and I, knowing it was her wish to have you cremated in the first place; yet, “She” sent you off alone like an animal going to slaughter. “She” received your ashes on Wednesday. “She” never mentioned a word about any of this to your Son, our Son, and we have not spoken to her since. Your Son, our Son, has been kind enough to text her (because “She” prefers no phone calls) to see if “She” may need any help with anything. “She” said “She” was okay for now, but would call him if “She” needed anything. I doubt “She” will call. Maybe “She” will. Who knows. My feeling is that “She” does not deserve your Son’s, our Son’s, help, concern or compassion. “She” showed him none of that when you were alive.

“She” will go about her life and make her plan to go back to her country, with you in tow in an urn. There you both will stay. That will be it. “She” came between you and your Son, our Son, in life – and now in death. As sad as that was, is and will be, “She” bears that responsibility, whether she acknowledges it or not. You, unfortunately, allowed it to happen as well; even if you did not mean for any of it to happen. I know you feared repercussions from her. You told me so.

Despite all of that now, which doesn’t really matter anymore at this point, may your spirit fly with the Angels. May you join your parents in Heaven, and may you be enlightened in the spiritual world and shine your light down upon this earth, as you look after your Son, our Son. May you Rest in Eternal Peace.



“Cremations” can be controversial. Thought I would spin a quick story (Flash Fiction) around it. In this piece, a stepmother makes a decision to cremate her recently deceased husband, with little concern for her husband’s biological son’s feelings about this; adding to an already complicated relationship.

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This publication is part 59 of 59 in the series Just One Word Away