Benjamin died during loquat season. They were his favorites.
This morning Michael and I were up before the sun, again, with coffee, wishing we could sleep more. We loaded up Benjamin’s camper and readied ourselves for the trip northward to privately place his body to rest.
At noonish, we started to pull out of the driveway. I felt so strongly that I was forgetting something. I saw the loquats on our tree, shining like jewels in the midday sun. Benjamin loved the loquats. He waited patiently each year for the perfect shade of orange before picking them and eating them fresh from the tree. I stopped and gathered a basket of the fruit and carried them with us. As we pulled away from home, I realized where my feeling was coming from. The pain in my chest was unbearable. It was Benjamin. I felt like we were leaving without him. Like I was forgetting him.
Today our task was simple, today our task was huge. We chose a place to bury Benjamin’s body. We walked the land, we watched the light, we laid our hands on the bark of the trees. When we decided on the spot, between two live oaks, I sat on the ground. I felt the network of roots beneath me. I knew they were capable of entwining his body in their embrace. I burned palo santo to clear the space, and as the resin caught fire, the barred owls started singing their sunset song. The choice was blessed. The space is ready.
Signing the paperwork was so hard. The dates didn’t seem right. I looked at his name so many times.