Yesterday afternoon, I had a journey into Morley to pick up my dad’s ashes. I’m unsure why, but my inaugural viewing of his urn was one I found even more distressing than delivering the eulogy at his funeral.
The sign of the finality ashes bring with them maybe triggered this increased level of sorrow. Alternatively, or maybe in tandem to this, seven weeks on from his passing, it’s finally hit me he’s not coming back. Distractions I encountered during the initial weeks after his passing making it easier to maintain my state of denial at the enormity of this family life event.
For the first weeks of being bereft of our beloved family head, I found resources of energy that I don’t ordinarily experience unless I eat two bags of Haribos in the space of fifteen minutes. This last week, though, my spirits have deflated markedly; the tears I refuse to shed at his passing choosing to flow internally, congregating in my stomach next to the knot of angst and 4oz of gummy bears.
One thing that shocked me today was the weight of an urn full of human ashes. It’s the first time I’ve held this saddest of all ornaments; it’s weightiness leaving me to conclude that our choice of a leaden ashes container was perhaps misguided.
I’d venture that yesterday I became the first customer to ever leave a funeral directors having to spread the weight of an ashes urn by giving it a piggy back to the car. Thankfully, despite undergoing a substantial challenge set by the heavy item in the boot, my rear wheel suspension held out until we got home.
After I’d given the weighty urn a fireman’s lift into the house, I enquired where my mum wanted me to store the leaden ornament containing her beloved husband’s ashes. Not really wanting to carry this ponderous item upstairs, I prayed her choice would be somewhere at ground level.
“Just drop the urn in the bedroom over the garage, Gaz.” my mum responded.
“Dropping it isn’t an option, mum. With the weight of this thing, if I don’t ease it gently it’ll go through the floor and dad’s ashes will end up being scattered all over the garage.” I countered, attempting to get her to select a concrete floored downstairs room.
“Errrr…. I’m not sure then. Where’s an appropriate place to store an urn of ashes?” my mater enquired; briefly mistaking me for the administrator of the ‘Urn Storage Places’ page on Wikipedia.
“I don’t know mum. Do you want the urn on view or hidden away until we decide where to scatter them?” I queried, wanting my mum to preferably take responsibility for the decision.
“I definitely don’t want them on view, it would trigger too many instances of sorrow. The only way I could handle it being in the living room is if I couldn’t see the urn.” she asserted.
“What do mean, mum?…… Give dad’s ashes a disguise?!” I questioned, baffled at what she was alluding to.
“No, you idiot!….. I don’t want his ashes on the mantelpiece dressed as Scooby Doo!…… I meant masking it from my eye-line when I’m sat on the chairs or sofa.” my mum despaired.
“Right. So more concealed and less fancy dress outfit?!” I sought to clarify.
“Yes!” the septuagenarian Yorkshire woman replied assertively.
What followed was several minutes of silence; a consequence of my mum and I pondering how we could solve the conundrum of the urn being in the living room, but out of her view.
Eventually the quiet in the living room was broken when mater turned to me and enquired “Do you know where we’d be able to get a Scooby Doo outfit for an urn?!”
2 kids who've flown the nest, 1 wife whose flown with Jet2. Born at a young age in 1960's Leeds, the author became interested in the literary life when his wife bought him a dog. Having an allergy to dogs, he swapped it for a typewriter. Being unable to train the typewriter to retrieve tennis balls, he reluctantly turned to writing...... Website - www.writesaidfred.org