A stop in Alamogordo

The last time I visited my mom and picked up my dad’s cremains, the shuttle made a stop in Alamogordo on the way back to the airport. I had some time to kill and I roamed aimlessly in the hotel lobby, as it was an unusually chilly, blustery day outside. This tourist guide for Alamogordo caught my eye, especially the phrase, “View the Past, Explore the Future.” How appropriate for me to consider at the time.

For most people, if they were to associate anything at all with Alamogordo, they might mention White Sands National Monument or the White Sands Missile Range, as that is the area where the first atomic bomb was tested. The White Sands monument is definitely worth checking out if you are in the area. But for me, Alamogordo will forever remind me of the final place my dad’s body rested in before being cremated.

Since my dad died just five days before Christmas, there was an issue with getting his death certificate signed and he ended up spending five long days in Alamogordo, in a chilly locker awaiting cremation. Of course he wasn’t feeling any part of his cold, antiseptic final home, his spirit had long flown from this earth. I think I’ve mentioned before that my mom was oddly comforted by knowing that dad’s body was at peace in Alamogordo all of those days, just an hour away from her. In fact, just this week she told me she finally has put Dad’s urn on display.

I was vaguely disturbed by the thought of my father’s dead body lingering in this world for all of those days. It just made me think how random and unpredictable life is. Dad never would have thought that his life, which started in Belfast, Northern Ireland would end in Albuquerque and include a post-death stop in Alamogordo. So many miles, so many memories in just one ordinary life.

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