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To Hold Them in My Hands


Everybody brings stuff.
He brings his,
she brings hers,
and together they build a relationship
that starts with the invisible elements
they each brought.

Some of the stuff is beautiful.
Skills and gifts
that help one to love well.
Laughter that is contagious.
Arms that are safe, strong, familiar.
Eyes that listen,
eyes that smile.

I want to hold them in my hands, let them slip through my fingers.

Some of the stuff is not as beautiful.
Scars that show,
scars that don’t.
Wounds that are contagious.
Stories often kept quiet.
Secrets left hidden, shrouded in grey.

The beauty of all beauties is when the stuff is scattered.
A strong gust of wind,
a tornado of catastrophe,
or the decision to unlock the box.
When all of the stuff is there,
no longer hidden,
and when one can say to the other,
“You do not disgust me. I love you as I hold these ashes.”

Cremation gives a heart nowhere to go.
There is no grave to visit, no tombstone to read.
He said, “Scatter them over my Rocky Mountains.”
He actually felt a personal possession of this natural landmark.
I haven’t scattered them yet.
That process will involve more than just me;
his ashes belong to more than just me.
For now, I have them.

I want to touch them.
I want to hold them in my hands,
let them slip through my fingers,
his dust.
To know how they feel,
to know what they leave behind.
To hold what once was mine.

To say, all over again,
“This does not disgust me.
I love you as I hold these ashes.”

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. We will be spreading my brother’s ashes this summer. I saved some of them to have made into jewelry. I know some people thing this odd, or morbid, but I will feel better knowing I will always have a part of him; that he won’t be scattered in a place I may not be able to visit if the snow is too deep. Thank you for helping me to not feel strange about this. As always, my prayers are with you.

  2. My heart breaks for you all over again….this is a beautiful poem, and I want to frame it.

  3. so beautiful. this placed tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart. thank you for sharing this. it is precious.

  4. Tricia, you have a remarkable way of being able to give even the most difficult of subjects such poignancy and beauty. Thank you once again for sharing the things that are deepest in your heart with us.

  5. Beautiful! My heart aches for you.

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