Sad but True

.Ashes to Ashes

Putney Vale is the dominant cemetery and crematorium in our area. It is where  among others James Hunt, Arthur Askey, Bobby Moore and Roy Plomley had their funerals.My mother’s ashes are buried in a grave in the enormous  necropolis. She died fourteen years ago and no one has visited the grave for more than ten years. It is where Hans my stepfather was cremated.

Vivien’s father’s ashes have been planted at the foot of a flourishing vine(he was a vinter) which we pass regularly in the Common. Her mother’s ashes have been tucked  away unseen but safe in her sisters cabinet.. Dick Thompson’s ashes were put in an urn and placed on a mantelpiece in my sister’s home. My biological father’s ashes were spread on the gardens round his favourite country home in Brome  near the Canada-USA border.

All this is leading up to the fact that my step father’s ashes ,two weeks on, have not been picked up. Nor are they likely to be. Although his daughter before she went back to Florida showed an interest, she went home before she could do anything. The undertakers told me that if they were not claimed they would be spread on the crematorium’s Garden of Rembrance.

Elsewhere so many ashes have been placed at the top of Ben Nevis that the vegetation has changed. The Coop Funeral Service ,the biggest in the UK, did  research into what people did with ashes,it found

Over half of people in the UK choose to scatter the ashes of a loved one.

• 3 out of 4 people keep a loved one’s ashes for up to a year before they decide what

to do with them.

• The most popular place to scatter ashes is at a favourite beauty spot, with nearly

1 in 3 people choosing this option.

• For those that choose to retain ashes, 3 out of 4 people keep them in a dedicated

place within the home – such as on the mantelpiece or in the bedroom.

• 1 in 5 people don’t know what they would do with a loved one’s ashes.

Personally I find having memorial stones for my garden are a better idea. The whole idea that there is any significance  in where the ashes are  or are not placed seems almost ludicrous . It may help that wonderfully politically correct idea of closure. But really.  There are all kinds of reasons why you may find it difficult or easy to come to terms with someone’s death. Where the ashes are is neither here nor there. We surely have moved on from the time we thought there was some significance and benefit  in relics, saintly or other.

George,a widower for fourteen years, who visits and talks to his wife’s Putney Vale grave every week  says that most graves are not visited after a couple of years.


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