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ashes not yet scattered

Saying Goodbye to all This- Podcast, Not letting go of the ashes

I have just read a lovely piece on loss on the BBC website entitled – ‘My husband’s ashes are still unscattered, but we’re doing OK’ 

The author Sophie Townsend talks about going on holiday a year after her husband passes away, leaving her a young widow with two children. She decides not to take the ashes with her and describes an eventful holiday which is the beginning of the reconnection with the world. A moving piece, well written and thought provoking.

She was intending to scatter her husband’s ashes a long way from where they live – the trip was 10hrs, so yes that is a long way. She had chosen to take them back to Sydney, Australia where he grew up, but couldn’t cope with the thought of them being that distant from where she lives.

In the concluding section of the piece she writes:

His ashes are still in the ugly plastic container from the crematorium. He would have hated me spending lots of money on a nice urn, and I don’t know where we’d scatter them – everywhere feels too far away. I had thought of scattering them in our garden, but just as I’d made up my mind to do it, the back wall came down in a storm, and after the clean-up and rebuild, it all felt too hard.

This short paragraph tells us so much:

The ugly plastic container from the crematoria – so common – why do they do that?

The reluctance to spend money on an urn – as this is not something he would have wanted. I don’t understand why guessing at someone’s thoughts who isn’t there to say: yes or no, would be a deciding factor? And why does it need to be expensive? Are all urns expensive? What is expensive for holding someone’s ashes?

The fact that everywhere feels too far away. I guess she means everywhere of significance feels too far away.

Considering the garden then being put off after there was disturbance. I understand both of these: one, the garden feels right for many people – back to earth. And two, the storm changing that, as it sort of desecrated the spot, tarnishing it maybe?

Deciding what to do with ashes is very difficult for many people. Especially if the loss was tragic or too early. This is the purpose of Ashes Jewellery and Garden Memorials. This isn’t supposed to be a plug, but that is what they are there for, the jewellery is a keepsake, if the ashes are scattered you still have a part of them close. And garden items so ashes are in the environment yet portable should you need to move….

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