Posted by: Ken Wheatley | September 24, 2009

Almost home

I arrived at the crematorium around 7:20 yesterday morning. The manager was standing outside, and we talked for a few minutes before he showed me to the room where Sheila was waiting.

She’d been kept in a cooler all night, so she was a bit cold to the touch. I stood by her side for a half hour or so and laid across her chest again with my face against her neck. I got very relaxed, and at peace, like I did on Sunday. I think I dozed off again. I don’t feel that kind of calm except when I’m with Sheila.

One time, when I stood up to look at her face, it looked like she was crying, but of course it was just condensation on her face from the room temperature difference.

Debra from El Camino showed up a little after 8am. She spent a few minutes holding my hand while I cried over Sheila. I didn’t want to let her go. I knew what awaited her/us on the other side of the door.

I could see that her body was already starting to breakdown and that the form laying in front of me was “only” the flesh that once contained my best friend. But it was still very difficult to purposely wheel her into the area with the ovens. The time had come however.

So Debra, the manager, and I slowly wheeled Sheila toward the unoccupied oven. There were three in the room and the one to the far left was already occupied. We positioned Sheila in front of the open door to the middle one and slowly pushed her in. The walls of the oven are lined with large heat-resistant tiles, similar looking to what’s in a fireplace, but much larger. I could feel the heat escaping through the door. I briefly glanced at the temperature gauge and stopped reading when I saw the first digit, “6”, followed by two other numbers.

Debra stepped back and stood next to me. The manager slid the door down and then stood to the side, at attention. We stood quietly for a minute or so. He then looked at me and motioned with one hand toward the “on” button that would start the process. I shook my head, “no.” I know it had to be done, per Sheila’s wishes, but there was no way I was going to press a button that was going to unleash 1800 degrees of heat and flame on my sweetie. I turned away.

After a few minutes I asked, “What’s next?” He said that the process would take about two and a half to three hours, and then he’d remove her remains, let them cool, and place them in a processor to render them to a uniform consistency.

I was supposed to get Sheila back today, but when I didn’t get a call from Debra, I called late this morning. She called me back early this afternoon to let me know that the urn I had ordered for Sheila’s remains hadn’t come in, so hopefully it’ll arrive tomorrow and I’ll get to bring Sheila home.

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Responses

  1. oh ken……how difficult this must of been……….

    she is with you……always……

  2. Ken,
    I can’t imagine your grief and I want you to know if there is anything you need or just want to talk about, please, call anytime. I only hope to one day have what you and Sheila had and what you have will continue to live in your heart. You were both blessed to have found each other and no one or nothing could ever take away the pure magic you shared. Lots of Love, Andi

  3. Ken, I remember the same moments that I was with my Mom at the crematorium… there is nothing to describe the terrible pain and loneliness and the realization that it is the final moment that they appear to us as they once were. I can understand, yet at the same time can’t comprehend, your pain. I’m thinking of you all the time, and I wish you healing. Hugs and much love to you… Kathi

  4. Hi Ken. Just had you so much on my mind today. Sending hugs… Kathi


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