This is another photo from Whitby. For some reason the WP app for the IPad refused to accept it yesterday. Maybe it’s my not new iPad but the app is becoming almost unusable. Anyway today the photo seems to work and it will get its moment.

My partners ashes are still in the house. We have a sort of make shift shrine in a room overlooking the garden. Now she has been joined by 3 energetic gerbils. She would like that. At some stage we will start to scatter the ashes but not yet. It just hasn’t felt like the right time (for both of us). My mums ashes have been scattered in a cemetery (with the help of a squirrel – see earlier post…)

I asked our Son about if he was ready to start the process.

“Not yet Dad. Dad do ashes go off”

Don’t think so. They urn doesn’t have a use by date on (don’t think badly of me, but I did check). But an urgent google check confirmed no safety time pressures. But it did reveal some additional factors to consider.

  • The Vatican has issued guidance that Catholic remains should be buried in cemeteries rather than scattered or kept at home. However this clearly doesn’t apply to Quakers.
  • Ashes containing bones don’t decompose so they shouldn’t be scattered around plants.
  • UK Law is fairly easy going when it comes to scattering ashes. Nothing specifically exists to prevent scattering. You only need to secure the landowners permission.
  • In Germany cremated MUST be buried in a cemetery. Switzerland are quite relaxed as long as it’s not for profit. France does open up a few scattering options.
  • In the U.K. it is legal to scatter ashes in water or the sea. The only restriction being that you need to get the permission of the water stretches owner. In the US you need to scatter ashes at least 3 nautical miles out (and inform the EPA)
  • Currently you can take ashes out of the U.K.. The Tunnel and Eurostar are the most relaxed. However Brexit may change all this.
  • In the U.K. it is ok to bury a pet in your garden if you own the property, it has domestic use and (if I’m reading the legal stuff correctly) the pets have not been declared as Hazardous Waste.

So for the for the time being I suspect my partner won’t be going too far. So I can give her the daily updates about our son. As my partner was so very organised I strongly suspect that if roles had been reversed then I would have been out of the door within months not years.

I hope this all doesn’t sound a bit too matter of fact or flippant. This post could so easily have been extremely dark. I vividly remember driving my partners ashes back from the crematorium. It’s burnt into my sole. I was fine until I got back into the car. I put the urn on the front seat and quietly said “time to go home my love”. Suddenly the Dam broke. I completed collapsed into a deluge of tears and despair. Didn’t stop for hours. My lowest ever point.

Deep down I am worried. I am not sure the brittle foundations that my new self is built on are strong enough to cope with another one of those final car journeys to scatter the ashes.

94 thoughts on “Ashes

      1. If she didn’t mention anything when she was here on Earth with you, then I’d pray about it. If not, do what you think is right, I’m sure she’ll be ok with your decision.
        I know you’re not asking for it, but my personal opinion, try not to over think it, she loved you, she trusted you, follow your heart and do what you think is right. She’ll be ok with it, trust that she’ll be ok with your decision.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. That moment of moving beyond the threshold is the hardest part, the message of finality, and it can’t be done until the right time. The only person who can know when is the one who holds the moment in his hands.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. You don’t half make me think with posts like this. How would I… any of us cope? Flippancy would be the least of my troubles as my default and defensive position is to make a joke of everything, the more inappropriate the better… thank you (feels utterly barking to say that ) for forcing me to consider that rabbit hole. We all go down one sooner or later if we survive long enough.

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  3. I don’t think it was your lowest point. After all you were – and continue, to mourn the loss.
    When you said, if roles were reversed, oh my. That just got me. Yes, it’s true, a definite reality we’ll have to come to terms with at one point or another – losing a spouse. My husband and I have often spoken about that.
    I had no idea that they can give you an urn containing bones. And the different regulations on scattering ashes.
    Thanks for letting me in to your thought process of it all. Your vulnerability is appreciated, and I say, take your time. There is no timeline, no due date, no rush.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course, that’s why it’s very much appreciated. If you don’t mind me asking, how long has it been since the passing?
        It’s all part of mourning, yes, I think you never will. Or it may get easier, you know to speak about her, etc. and her memory will always live on in you and your son.

        Oh I hope not, I hope it doesn’t all go out the window. I’d be too shattered to think straight, I’d need to know what he said when he was here. Perhaps he should write his wishes down on paper. 🤔 And vise versa. We have my grandmother wishes down on paper. She had too many kids to not have things written down. There would utter chaos if she passes without her having had stated what she wanted to be done with her body. She wants to be buried in our home land, as we bury our loved ones.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It hasn’t been long, take your time with her ashes. Yes, it’s one of those things/conversations that happened to come up. Yes, my grandmothers wishes were even notarized, since her kids – adults now, are all not from just one religion. So in order avoid any chaos when she passes, my mother decided to have it all written down and signed by my grandmother. It’s something that is not pleasant to do or even think about, but it’s good to have it.
        I understand, 5 years is a long time ago. Oh big hugs sweet friend. Big hugs. You’re not alone.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. If you own the property you are on and plan on staying there, why can’t you bury the ashes on the property and put a nice marker? If you left them in the urn, you could always dig them up if you had to move them. What do you think your partner would have liked? My husband and a pilot had his father’s ashes scattered on top of a mountain near our home. They didn’t scatter well. He wished he would have taken them up the mountain and buried them himself. He carried the ashes around in his pickup until he had them scattered. He and his dad took several rides together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suspect my partner would have been more planned and got on and done it. Partner told us where she wanted to go but also left it to us two. I think another factor is one of her sisters has her mums ashes who left us last year. Her mum lived the view from our house and wanted her ashes put in a corner of the garden. I could see us doing something similar to the pickup truck.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s going to be one huge event – very personal to your and your son.

    I have had a few friends who have had to do this. My good friend Darren was married to Katrina for 20 years – they lived out in Africa. Poor Kat came back to England because of her symptoms (she had been told she might have asthma) were not clearing up. We cared for Kat after the news she received from the hospital for the following seven weeks. It was awful to lose someone so vivacious and joyful. She was much stronger than the rest of us.

    Darren climbed (I maybe should not say because I have no idea if he asked the National Trust for permission) which they had climbed together twenty years earlier on their honeymoon. Although getting him there was very much a team effort, he made the climb alone with Kat’s ashes.

    Our team of nurses became like sisters to Darren – we felt for him so much. Kat truly had touched everyone’s hearts. Darren visited us almost every day before he flew back to Africa and almost everyday he had a real good cry.

    It’s just utterly utterly sad – truly heartbreaking. You have to think of the practicalities (and well done for being brave) but what a huge tug it is going to be on your heart. You boys are going to need to be very brave for it.

    I am taking my little paua shell box with my little treasure up to Wales with me to the land owned by some of our family. Not looking forward to it…and yet I will feel a bit better with the thought of such a beautiful location being the resting place for my little apricot (she/he was the size of an apricot at eleven weeks). London is not the right place. But I have different feelings about the pretty garden where she/he will be in Snowdonia.

    I think I will sleep more soundly thinking of my little one sleeping soundly in a beautiful peaceful location rather than surrounded by concrete jungle.

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    1. Thank you. It must be awful for you. Part of me is like you. I suspect once we have put the ashes in the beautiful places my partner wanted then the thought of her being always there will be a great solace. So better than stuck in a room with 3 noisy gerbils….. sending you hugs.

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  6. This is heartrending Gary. You will know the rught moment when it comes. I am so touched that you and yoyr son can talk like that about it. I had no idea there were all those regulations concerning it. I felt your grief and tears with you Gary. Take care x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Written with your typical depth of character and suitably subtle sense of humour that is no doubt vital in your progress through this tragedy. Exemplary!

    You might doubt yourself and your ability to stay strong or recover from temporary deep hurt at ‘that’ time , i doubt any of those who follow your blog do! 🙂

    My father passed on 18 years ago, Mum and Dad were married for over 40 years and she still has his ashes in her lounge room (where she can keep an eye on him! 😉 or he can watch over her?). You said your lady would like having 3 whirling Gerbils next to her so why move her at all?

    I’m not sure how strong your or her faith was and what ‘instructions/duty/expectations’ any religion might impose upon you both, but i would suggest the ashes are more of a symbol that allows for a stronger ‘connection’ between her and both you and your son that is more a mental construct than any physical reality resembling the irreplaceable person she was to you both.

    It will be up to you two together to decide if and when that symbol is necessary to your surviving in comfort in the future or if it can be set ‘free’ knowing that nothing can ever break the bond of all she is in your Heart and memory.

    I have faith that you will make the right decision when you are both ‘ready’ (as you’ll ever be) and all 3 of you will move past the stifling depression as best as is humanly possible for those who love deeply.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you sir. I was reading about someone who has family ashes from over 100 years ago. Almost become a tradition that they are passed down and sit on a window. Knowing my luck I would say something like spread my ashes on my teams pitch. But then the buggers would sell the ground to a developer and I would end up buried under the frozen chickens in a new supermarket….

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      1. (Cluck) 😉

        I suppose i could see reasons as to how customs arise for dealing with our dead, but the thought of being buried in a wooden box for the worms, bugs and bacteria to slowly reintegrate me back into Mother Earth, or having said box be burned to a crisp so some poor sod can determine what to do with the ashes has never appealed to me in the slightest. My view is my body is but a vessel for something far more important and what happens to it once i’ve finished using it will not be all that important a concern. Sort of like owning a car you know you’ll never be driving again – and no-one else will either. 😉

        I’m such a sentimentalist aren’t I??

        Liked by 1 person

  8. It just means you’re not ready. Listen to yourself.
    It was a very odd feeling to drive home with Dad’s ashes. For a few weeks they then sat on the table near Dad’s favourite chair. Although I had comfort from knowing they were there, I found it difficult to look at them. And then we had to scatter them – elder siblings’ decision- and it seemed so impersonal and undignified to see them lying there. Like they weren’t protected. Months later, I think this has helped to remove my feelings towards them. In spirit, I know he will be here in his home with me. What I’m trying to say, not very well, is take your time. Grief is a strange thing and you may not know how you will feel or react after. I hope for you it is comfort and peace. Thinking of you.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think she will be in all the beautiful places you will be – when you are! With, or equally, without ashes. Her spirit will remain mostly within you (and your son), as UstoMe said of their Father, until such time as you set it free. And it should be totally your decision to do so, or not.

        Since you know her wishes best and respect for them is your domain now.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m sure you don’t need to scatter the ashes. If the shrine works for you and your son, why not keep it that way.

    Anyway, on a lighter note, it is interesting to find out how the law stands on scattering ashes. I’d have thought the bones would have been good for plants!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m a very simple fellow, so all I can say is if you’re not ready wait until you feel you are ready, I’m sure there will come a time in the future when you will be able to. I always said to my wife, half in jest that I would like my ashes scattered at Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit as I love going to the place but I think it must be nice to be at a place you loved being at.

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  11. You’ll know when the time is right. For the time being, your partner is with those she loved and who loved her.
    My Mum’s ashes were scattered in the Garden of Remembrance at the Crematorium some 6 weeks after the funeral. I hope it was under the same tree as my Dad’s were in 1996. We couldn’t make it down but knew the day and time, so lit a candle here and I played The Wind Beneath My Wings as if my heart would break.
    A dear boating friend died last June, and we have just heard that his wife has also passed away. The family will be scattering their ashes on the river up by the lock as they used to take their boat there every weekend, weather permitting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My dad died over 30 years ago. None of us can remember where he is scattered. Part of my partners ashes ideally need to go in the same place as her dad was scattered. Unfortunately no one who was present is with us now. So all we have got is a rather sketchy description in my head.

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  12. You and your son will know if, or when, the time is right. How you deal with the grief and its aftermath are different for everyone. Some, like my father-in-law deal with it immediately, others like those you mentioned wait over a hundred years. We all handle our grief in whatever is best for us, and in your case, your son, too.
    My heart ached reading your post. Prayers for you and your son.

    Liked by 2 people

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