Hauling Gary's Ashes

They found his ash can in the trash can

NT: Do you still sense his presence?

Putnam: Oh, yeah. Of course. I'll hear something and I'll say to him, "Well, can you imagine that, Honey?" I haven't dated [since he died]. Not ready to move on, I guess. I've moved a couple times, but he's still with me. It's like a tingling. It's peaceful. I don't know. It's probably like you would feel if you went to your wife's grave and sat there and talked to her.

NT: Not my wife. Now, do you think Gary might have been sending you a message from beyond the grave? Like, "It's time to move on!"?

Reunited and it feels so good: Diane Putnam and her late husband are together once more.
Emily Piraino
Reunited and it feels so good: Diane Putnam and her late husband are together once more.

Putnam: Oh, definitely. He used to have to wait for me to put my makeup on: "Hurry up! Come on!" And he was waiting on me to release him, and when I didn't, he decided to do it himself. He just took off!

NT: And you think that Officer Uribe, the one who died, helped get Gary back to you? Like he's a celestial cop now?

Putnam: Uh-huh. And there's more to the story. I hadn't talked to Gary's family for a couple years, and I knew if they heard about this they'd say, "What have you done with Gary's ashes?" But they called after they heard I got his ashes back, and now they're real happy and they want some of his ashes. When his mother dies, I'll give half of him to his family, and then I'll take him up to the mountain and release him. Let him go.

NT: But then you'll be alone.

Putnam: No. He's still here. It's not his ashes that make him a part of me. He's here in my heart. I won't be alone.

NT: If Gary were here, what would he say about all this?

Putnam: "Messed with you even after I died, didn't I?" He was a hell-raiser. An ornery little shit. Big shit -- he was a big guy. Yeah, you can't even go out in style, can you, Gary?

NT: (Places bag on table.) Well, ever since I heard your story, I've been carrying these around with me. These are the ashes of my mother-in-law's dog. She gave them to us to sprinkle on the beach in San Francisco, and we haven't done it yet.

Putnam: Yeah. It would be horrible to lose them. That's why I won't leave [Gary] in the car again 'til I'm ready to let him go. But don't be like that. Put him somewhere where he'll be comfortable, like your kitchen, but don't hold onto it. You just have to let life flow.

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