when i was a little girl, growing up in catholic school, one of the ideas that seemed to stick was something the nuns called "an occasion of grace." an occasion of grace was an opportunity to act in some way that went - at least to my childish mind - above and beyond the call of duty or courtesy, ties of family or friendship.
people who present as occasions of grace are frequently very difficult people to be around, because, as the nuns explained it, they are empty. in their very emptiness, they invite all the people around them to become channels of divine love, to become, in a word, Grace.
if ever there was a person who constantly issued such an invitation to me, it was my grandmother. i don't think i successfully rose to the occasion all the time - i'm a Witch, after all, not a Saint - but i know i always tried to do the best i could with what i had to work with at the time.
there's a peaceful weight and an unexpected warmth to my grandmother's ashes. they sit now, on my altar, wrapped in plastic, encased in plastic, entombed in bronze, awaiting their final disposition. one set will go into the ocean, one will be buried on the grounds of her house, the largest will rest forever in the plot beside my great-grandparents. but one set will remain here, with me, in a garden i will make, a living reminder that even from ashes of emptiness, flowers can grow.
and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.