Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Final Farewell to Mum

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Final Farewell to Mum

Article excerpt

Byline: gary BAINBRIDGE One man's struggle with the 21st century Follow Gary on Twitter: @Gary_Bainbridge or email him at gary.bainbridge@trinitymirror.com

JUST over two years ago my mother died. That is still a strange sentence to write, even though clearly I am of an age at which I see the adults of my youth one by one fading away into memory.

But the death of a parent is not an easy event to process. Setting aside the tap on the shoulder from the Grim Reaper which says, "Your turn next, mateyplops," you lose everything from love right down to the knowledge of things that happened to you as a child, before your memories were formed.

It is, in short, rubbish.

The reason this has cropped up at this stage is that this week we finally got round to interring my mother's ashes.

Now, while there are fine environmental and logistical reasons for cremation - and it was definitely the right choice - it does leave you with certain problems down the line, chiefly, "What are we supposed to do with the remains of our dear mother?" Her death was sudden, and she was relatively young, so the family had never ascertained what we should do with her ashes. She did not ask for them to be scattered anywhere, not even on the carpets of her enemies, which, I suspect, she would consider an opportunity lost.

So we decided to bury the ashes in the cemetery where her own parents were interred, not far from where she was brought up. It seemed appropriate, and we arranged a headstone, which meant there would be a delay between the cremation and the interment, because they can't just put a headstone through a laser printer, apparently.

But owing to one thing and another - life, mostly - the delay between funeral and interment stretched and stretched until it was decided it would happen around the second anniversary of the funeral.

And so, on an unexpectedly sunny Monday, family and friends gathered in the cemetery for what was effectively a second funeral.

I do not think I was prepared for the double gutpunch, even two years on, of seeing my own mother's headstone, nor the casket containing her ashes sitting beside it. …

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