We decided pretty quickly that we wouldn’t have a burial. It was a number of factors really but it boiled down to the worry about leaving him somewhere or going to a cold cemetery to remember him coupled with the fear that seeing the casket lowered into the ground would make me want to fall in after him. We didn’t tell Isla that he would be cremated, it’s just too scary. That said a helpful “friend” from school explained to her that because she didn’t know where the grave was he must’ve been burned. Isla just asked us outright if this was true. Rightly or wrongly we told her his body was buried where we left it at the Crematorium. It occurs to me now that perhaps cremation is scarier than burial but really neither is ideal is it? It’s definitely better to have your child living and breathing with you.
Collecting the ashes of our beloved son was the worst thing we had to do after we lost him. It was surreal to be handed a small woven box with his name carved onto the top. I was terrified to touch it and determined that we should scatter his ashes as soon as we could because I couldn’t bear to have it in the house. We thought about the top of Arthur’s Seat or the local park. We discussed planting a tree in the garden and burying the ashes underneath it. We really went round in circles until it reached the point where I was no longer frightened by the little square box, in fact I liked that it sat in his room like it was part of him, a physical presence.
I made up my mind that I’d like Jude’s ashes to be put in with me when I die. I don’t care what they do with us then but I want us to be together. The Guardian had an article about this very thing at the weekend. I’ve linked it here. It was very well timed and I’m so glad that I hadn’t already rushed out to scatter them.
How depressing to have to make decisions like this but they have become fundamental to our discussions in the past few weeks, part of normal family life. We can flit easily between making plans for dinner and talking about the implications of inherited cardiac conditions and mortality rates. I have gone from someone who never discussed death to someone who has made clear that my funeral notice should not have mother to Isla and the late Jude and someone who although not actively looking forward to my own demise is now somewhat ambivalent to the prospect.