One of the first decisions I had to make was about what to do with Ayrie;s body. I wanted to donate it to science, but for some reason they didn’t want it. I never asked why. I could have asked for an investigative autopsy, but that didn’t feel right. I didn’t have opinions on what to do with his body before. Somehow, even though I knew that he might die, I had never even spent one moment of time thinking about a funeral. Why not? It made no sense. And as I was contemplating this, it came to me in a flash that I would not be burying him. Ayrie would not want to be tied to one spot in the ground, he would want to become a part of life, a part of the universe. He would not want one spot where people would gather to mourn and feel sad. He would want us to remember him in nature, in solitude, in our actions. So I decided to have him cremated. The actual idea of cremation was very unsettling to me and still is. I can’t spend much time thinking about his body being slid into a hot fire and burning until he was unrecognizable, his arms around Elmo and his soft green blanket.
Shiya and I have scattered him all across the US–Arizona, Maine, Colorado, Minnesota, and California. All in nature. All in places Ayrie would love. The rest of his body sits in a small box next to my bed. I’ll know when it’s time to do something with the remaining ashes. Until then, he’s here with us.