My life changed dramatically and forever when I lost TJ.

I welcome you to follow along as I adjust to my "new normal".

It is not all puppies and ice cream but it is my life....real and honest.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I Spread TJ's Ashes Last Weekend

I have written before of the conversations TJ & I had after his diagnosis. Many of them involved our past and many involved my future but we also had to discuss his final wishes. He told me what he did and did not want medically speaking, he told me he wanted to be cremated. We even stashed the money in the house for his cremation so it would be available in cash when the time came. While we were very organized in "finalizing his affairs" it hit me one day that he had not told me what to do with his ashes.

When I asked him where he wanted his ashes spread he told me without a moment of hesitation...."The Hideout, I want my ashes spread at The you remember how to get there Sandy?....(me)yes, I think so.....then take Charlie and Mike with you, I don't want you wondering around in the desert on a horse carrying my ashes and crying because you can't find The Hideout". So, The Hideout it was and the conversation was never brought up again.

Since he passed and I really had to think about spreading his ashes for real, I have been thinking..."TJ, WTF! could you have made it any more inconvenient?!..a 3 1/2 hour drive to the shack then a 45 minute horseback ride to the hideout!!" For those that don't know, we own 10 acres in southeastern AZ that we built 2 "shacks" on and set up horse pens. This property was to be for our retirement home but meanwhile we wanted to use it with our friends. The land borders state land and is only about 1/4 mile from National Forest.....beautiful riding country.
"The Shack" or "Love Shack" as TJ preferred to call it! We have to haul water and there is no electricity, but TJ built wood burning stoves for each one for warmth in the winter.

I just like this picture so I threw it in. TJ is in the roundpen with Arnie. We bought Arnie as a weanling and I trained him for TJ....he turned out to be a really good horse!!

We have lots of friends that wanted to be involved in the spreading of TJ's ashes at the hideout but I just didn't feel like having a big party at the shack so I chose one friend to go with me and not tell anyone else. I borrowed a horse trailer (we sold ours when TJ got sick for medical bills) and last Friday after work I loaded up both of my mules and all 3 of my dogs and headed to the shack. On Saturday morning we saddled up and headed to the hideout.

When we arrived I went inside alone....talked to TJ for a moment and spread his ashes. While it was a sad moment for me it was also very heartwarming that I was fulfilling his final wish and knowing it was what he wanted did my heart good. We rode back to the shack in silence.

I am sure all of you reading this are saying....."What the heck is the hideout?" Here is the story. It was the early 1900's and the Powers brothers (2 of them) went to town to register for the draft. The postman told them they did not need to register and that he would contact them when it was time for them to serve. He did this because there was a mining claim on their father's property that was in demand. The postmaster then went to the sheriff and told him the brothers refused to register. The sheriff gathered a couple of his deputies and went to the Powers' ranch. The father came out of the house first and was killed by the deputies. The brothers continued to fight it out and eventually escaped the property. One brother had an eye wound so as they headed south in Arizona they needed to hole up for a bit to heal. Where they holed up is known as "The Hideout". They then continued their trek south, heading for the Mexico border. They were apprehended before making it to the border and both were sent to prison.

This is not a story you will find in your history book but is very well known by the locals down in that area. "The Hideout" is still pristine as it is very hard to find if you don't know what you are looking for and is at the base of the Dragoon Mountains. Upon entering you can even see the hole in the top that was cut out for fire smoke to escape through.

TJ loved the local history so this place was very close to his heart and he enjoyed taking friends there and telling the story to them. I was proud to spread his ashes there knowing how pristine it is and I can always think of him being in a place he dearly loved.
If you look closely you can see the door to "The Hideout" in his picture. That is all the pictures I will post as I want this place to continue to be as undisturbed in the future as it is now.

I chose this past weekend to spread his ashes because today would have been his 50th birthday. I threw a big party for him on his 40th and we had planned on having another one for his 50th....TJ loved celebrating his birthday!! I thought it would be nice to put him to rest on his birthday weekend....I still celebrated him, just in a different way than I had planned.

I Love You TJ......Happy Birthday!

If I had known my heart would break, I would have loved you anyway.


  1. Thank you for sharing this with me. Thank you for sharing your journey of healing with me. Stories heal. Grief is real. I love that you have let me into your life.

    You my in my heart so deeply. You are my special beautiful friend. You are made of so much compassion and beauty. I went here with you. Thank you for welcoming me into your life - the pain and the joy. The good and the difficult.

    I love you. Deeply.

  2. My husband has told me he wants to be cremated and his ashes spread in the mountains. I know the exact spot. So, your story touched me in a special way. We were told recently by his primary oncologist that he is terminal. However, we are seeking a second opinion at a regional cancer center this week.
    He is only 56. I am 50. I am not ready to be a widow yet. But are we ever? I hope fulfulling TJ's wishes helped bring you some closure. Peace.

  3. Ok, I can comment now. When I first read this, it was hard to get thru the whole thing, plus I was reading it on my iPhone. Now I have gone back and read it again and thinking what got to me the most? It was the song girl! It was the song. Awesome choice! I can not think of a more stronger woman than you. Before I would of said my mother and your mother, but now it is you. I am in awe. Stay strong Cuz, I just wish...well, we will one day..

    Love ya!

  4. Sandy, this is such a wonderful story. You are an inspiration.

  5. Wow, thank you for sharing this story. I'm crying. Wow.


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