The animal hospital called me last week to tell me that Lucie was back and ready to come home. I know that sounds strange, but I knew exactly what they meant, and drove over to pick up her ashes. They were in a small sealed box with the inscription I had requested on it: "Lucie Noëlle, October 21, 1998 to May 1, 2012, She loved to smell the flowers." The only problem was that the box was plastic, made to look like wood. That bothered me. A lot. Lucie was a classy little lady. No faux wood for her. I had to find something attractive enough that we could leave it on the side table next to the covered urn that held Bobo's ashes. I could place the plastic box inside a larger box, I thought. First I considered the miniature cedar hope chest I received when I graduated from high school. No, that would be too big. And, besides, some of the things stored inside that little chest had been there for more than forty years. That was out.
Then I thought of the beautiful wooden box that sat on my dresser. That would be perfect, I thought, but the plastic box will never fit inside there. The only way to be sure of that, however, was to try it. I took the few pieces of jewelry that I stored there out of the box, and once again admired its smooth, polished exterior. I noticed the soft velvet interior. Perfect, I thought again. If only... I placed the plastic box inside the wooden box and closed the lid. How well did it fit? Like it was made for that express purpose.
I had saved the dried remains of the first ever rose that bloomed on my new rose bushes - a rose that Lucie was too ill to smell - and placed that inside the box, as well. The fit of the boxes was so perfect that the small dried flower barely fit there. I placed the box next to the beautiful ceramic urn that holds Bob's ashes. There, I said to myself, there. Lucie is home and where she belongs. I felt comforted. I feel comforted.