“The United States Postal Service offers the only legal method of shipping cremated remains domestically or internationally. When a family member assumes the responsibility of shipping a loved one’s cremated remains, they can trust the USPS Priority Mail Express® Service.”

Our mother loved music, and she loved weddings. I realized an event with wine and dancing was the perfect setting for her memorial. I asked the family for songs they associated with her. The initial list was long – more than forty tracks. My intention was to compress those to a 3-minute collage, but that first attempt was a jumble. Listening to the playlist over and over, I settled on twelve that seemed most representative.

So many days this winter, I’d stare at my computer monitor without any motivation to be productive. I stopped running, writing, reading. Gradually, life returned. It took longer than a week. I kept wondering, “Do I feel normal yet?” and eventually realized this was the new normal.

We didn’t love our time at Grandma’s for the food, the Christmas presents (usually clothing), or even the Polish music. We loved being loved by her. I’m sure we recognized the feeling, even if we didn’t know how rare it is in life.

In August 1987, before he left for college, Chris Champion and I decided we’d drive to Atlantic City and sleep under the boardwalk. We had no plan beyond that. It seemed like something 18 year-old best friends should do: odyssey, iconic quest, scatter oats and all that.

The atmosphere of waiting and illness is replaced by activity and health. The patients we cheer for are as sick as any I’ve seen, but they reclaim their health before our eyes.