OUR JOURNEY -The final journey.

February 14, 2017

It’s Valentine’s Day and Barry’s ashes just arrived at my apartment. I donated his body to the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Anatomy Bequest Program. A little persistence on my part helped him get accepted into the program. A couple of years ago, I called to see if I could donate his body but they were not taking anyone who could not make the choice on their own and sign the donation forms. When I called the U of M, Barry’s FTD was too far advanced for him to make the decision on his own. So I forgot about it for a year. Then one, warm summer day I decided to try again. I remember wondering to myself how it could be so beautiful outside yet here I was making this sad call to donate my sick husband’s body. The woman at the U of M repeated that they were not taking any second party bodies at this time. But then she paused and asked what he had that made him unable to sign the paperwork. When I told her Barry suffered from FTD, she told me to please hang on for a moment. Very quickly she got back to me saying they would take him after all. I filled out the paperwork and sent it off before they could change their minds. In the meantime, Barry continued the long, slow work of dying.

I didn’t know what to expect once he died after the people from the U of M picked him up at the care center. I was surprised they were done with him so quickly. I was hoping their work would take months and months, maybe even years, but it took just two months and I was reminded again of what this poor man went through. During his time at the U of M, I tried hard to not think about him lying on a table with students studying him inside and out. I hoped with all my heart that Barry would have been fine with this, but I will never know for sure.

Now he is with me in my apartment, a place he never lived in or even saw. I feel bad that he missed so much because of FTD. But now he is here, sitting on my newly cleared table that had been cluttered with paperwork and unwritten thank you notes from his funeral. It is the same table that each Valentine’s Day held a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Barry. This year Barry takes up the empty space where the flowers once sat. I am organized now and ready to begin Barry’s final journeys. I feel happy I can do this for him and am certain he would be pleased at my choices.

First I need to get a big box to decorate and keep some of his ashes here. I will also need a couple of smaller boxes to hold some ashes that I will take to scatter in special places. Our first stop will be at my favorite trail up near Grand Marias. It’s the one where I found that special lion’s mane mushroom stuck to a blown down tree. I want to feel Barry’s presence there each time I go looking for mushrooms. His sickness led me there so it seems right that he should be there each time I hike that trail.

Next stop? To southern California and his favorite spot overlooking the Pacific Ocean where we spent many family vacations.

I couldn’t stop his FTD suffering, but I, damn it, am going to help him rest in peace.

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21 comments on “OUR JOURNEY -The final journey.
  1. Greg & Linda Vilmo says:

    ‚ù§g&l

  2. Bonnie Jean Flom says:

    Thanks for the post, Nancy. What a lovely tribute to Barry and what a special acknowledgment of the journey you shared. You’ve given so much to all of us who have had the privilege of reading your posts. Best wishes to you. Gratefully, Bonnie Jean

  3. Christine bekiares says:

    So good to hear your strong voice and clear plans. Your kind thoughts always come through. Blessings to you and Barry.

  4. Christine bekiares says:

    So good to hear your strong voice and clear plans. Your kind thoughts always come through. Blessings to you and Barry.

  5. Pam schultz says:

    I have heard wonderful things about the Anatomy Bequest Program at the U of M. My daughter-in-law doctor tells about how respectfully the students work with donated bodies. Both my husband and I are part of the program. I love that you know where you will spread Barry’s ashes. My thoughts are with you.

  6. Ann hustad says:

    You bet you are! You are an inspiration… continue your loving journey!

  7. Ann hustad says:

    You bet you are! You are an inspiration… continue your loving journey!

  8. Ann hustad says:

    You bet you are! You are an inspiration… continue your loving journey!

  9. Paul Strickland says:

    Beautifully expressed, Nancy. I am happy for you and your long, happy marriage. Sad it was so tragically shortened, of course, but happy you are still loving Barry and seeing him through to the very end.

  10. Marshall says:

    I love this entry the most because I feel that everyone has some peace at last! XX

  11. Mary Wattson Kupper says:

    My thoughts are with you, Nancy, as you take this final journey with Barry. I too hesitate with donating a body to science. For some reason in my brain it feels cruel to the deceased. But, as Ann Hustad said, if they treat your loved one with respect, then they can learn to figure out how to treat this disease in the future. What a great way to contribute to the future of our grandkids. Bless you for what you are going through and sharing this with all of us! See you at the next high school reunion?!?

  12. Karolyn Lee says:

    What a Wonderful tribute for Barry. My thoughts are with you as you journey with Barry’s ashes to the favorite spots. Thank you so much for all of your posts. Many of them have helped me with my journey and thoughts. I look forward to some day seeing your journey in a book. Bless you!

  13. Nancy Paxson says:

    What a wonderful way to give tribute to Barry and your marriage and the life experiences you have had together. Blessings to you!

  14. claudine coughlin says:

    Dear Nancy, Thank you for all your writings “One Foot In Front of the Other”! They are a great tribute to Barry as well as well as sharing your experiences with the rest of us. Your journey has been a long hard one, but you made it through and can be proud how you did it. Remember that we are all here for you whenever you need us. Love, Claudine

  15. Bette says:

    Love you, dear Nancy. Still contemplating the tattoo.

  16. Bette says:

    Love you, dear Nancy. Still contemplating the tattoo.

  17. Moira Rummel says:

    Thank you dearNancy for donatingBarry to the U. We can’t cure FTD yet but if everyone were as generous maybe someday we will.
    We get comfort knowing our loved ones are able in death to move us forward!

  18. Joe Nathan says:

    Your continuing love and respect shines on.

  19. Anne G. Lewis says:

    A peaceful ending.

  20. Amy says:

    Peace to you and Barry, Nancy, after all the suffering.

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