I'd rather not dwell on the subject of death, but now the trees have lost their leaves, almost everything growing above ground level is a lifeless brown. Then there’s the interminable greyness of the British sky, the drizzly (or downpoury, depending on the day), rain - and the fact it gets dark so impossibly early. It makes the late Autumn and Winter months something you either have to get used to, or get SAD.
Today I was the latter as I helped my mother sprinkle my Dad’s ashes into a pot in the garden in the pouring rain. How did my mother pick out this curiously blue ceramic pot - and why did she not opt one of our eco-friendly acorn urns?
Well, she says she was drawn to it – and when she looked inside the bowl, she discovered that someone had painted a large ‘H’ inside, which is the initial of my Dad’s first name. So it was meant to be.
Anyway, we planted some flowers in the pot of her choice and some bulbs underneath – dark mauve fritillaries and irises to work with the blue of the pot. The cyclamen are there purely because they are flowering at the moment - I guess they too will die once it gets frosty?
I love the fact that something new will grow out of my father’s ashes. I think it’s important to accept death as part of life, because everyone dies. Even animals. In fact, ShopCurious’s poet in residence, Matt Bryden, has written a poem about burying his cat.
The tool weighed heavy in my hands as I lowered
her in a blanket into the hole which perhaps
that night would be raided by foxes.
I brought the back of the spade down
hard against the soil, tried
not to laugh as I cast my eyes
at the ground before my family.
Afterwards, I went up to my room,
knelt on the bed and gazed outside.
I was sure my voice would be stronger if I spoke.
I’m looking forward to the Spring.