Once I became a mom I realized that the reason why my own mom was the only one who could ever seem to find anything in my house growing up was that she was the only one who ever actually looked. So even though she wasn’t trying to find them, leave it to my mom to come up with my dad’s missing ashes.
I wrote about these ashes in my memoir Float On, that I wanted to get jewelry made out of them, “but I need the ashes, of course, that’s the whole point, and by the time I meet with Bethie again she says she can’t find them. Dad’s gone missing. Which makes me laugh – he never was one for going along with someone else’s plan.”
I’m not laughing now.
Now I’m holding this small plastic black box. It’s remarkably heavy. Just the weight of it in my hands brings up the physicality of who he was. John Krider was a man who made his presence known in a room. He could be so fun and spontaneous, such a contrast to how I remember his final years.
I pried open the box and looked at his remains; they remind me of cigarette ashes with pebbles stirred in. His Vantage smokes were a constant in his life – an extension of his hand nearly. It seems right to think of his smokes.
In my memoir I wrote about a time with my sisters and his ashes when, “I felt like turning the box over and emptying it and shouting, “He’s not in there!” But today, twenty-one years later, I wonder if there is some part of him in there. And whatever that part is, I’d like to release from this small plastic black box.
First I will have the jewelry made by the local artist Rachael Sudlow. Then I will gather with my sisters and find a beautiful Kansas spot to finally turn over that box.