Although Greg died and was cremated in March, we had not yet scattered his ashes. It was his wish to return to his home town in Lincolnshire and end up there. He never considered London to be his real home and certainly not his final resting place. The reason for the delay is that I had been waiting for his niece, Rhianna, to return from a year's stay in New Zealand. She was so upset she could not be there for the funeral, despite trying her might to get back. The expense and tortuous journey involved in getting back to the UK at short notice from the other side of the world proved all too impossible and Rhianna was distraught. I therefore promised her we would hold off scattering the ashes until her return.
But life is never that simple. Trying to find a date that would be suitable for several parties involved started to be worse than trying to fit in a meeting between the Queen and Barack Obama. Rhianna was dotting about here and there meeting up with her German boyfriend; then her brother also wanted to be at the scattering and he had meanwhile gone abroad; we were trying to avoid a time that clashed with Kay's exams and her forthcoming birthday; Greg's best friend from schooldays also wanted to be there too; and it had to be at the weekend, because Greg' sister would otherwise have to take time off work (and she had already taken quite a bit off to help me when Greg was dying, so I wanted to avoid that at all costs).
There were in fact very few dates that fitted the bill this side of doomsday and eventually someone suggested that Saturday 10 July might be the best date for everyone concerned. I pondered long and hard over this. It was not that I had anything else pressing to do, but the tenth of July is our wedding anniversary... thirty-four years to the day since we married. Did I want to spend it scattering Greg's ashes? Then I thought about it and I smiled. It was rather symbolic really. The day we officially got hitched would be the day we would technically part. It would be perfect.
That day was yesterday. I had collected Greg' ashes from the undertakers the day before. A strange bundle to show for a life - ashes in a sealed plastic bag inside a plastic urn, inside a plastic carrier bag inside a cardboard bag. Yesterday, as Kay and I left home, I patted the bag and told Greg we were leaving the house to go back to his home town. Every step of the journey, I was telling him where we were. I joked that it was the first time he had been on the Underground for years. At Kings Cross we caught an early train up to Lincolnshire, where Greg's sister Jill met us and drove us to the spot we had chosen. We met up with Jill's family and Greg's best friend Ross and his wife.
It was an idyllic scene The sun was beating down from a clear blue sky, the air was very warm, the river sparkled and the townsfolk wandered slowly in the heat to their destinations. The town skyline looked magnificent, the spires and towers of the many churches reaching for the sky and the crumpled uneven rooftops of the ancient houses settling down for a nap in the heat. The town Greg loved and never left mentally. There were eight of us all together. All there for one purpose - to find Greg his final resting place. We walked away from the town into the quiet of the surounding countryside across the land Greg had walked as a boy with a dog as his companion. It is common public land, where other people now walk their dogs or rest to admire the beautiful view of the town.
We found the ideal spot, under the shade of a spreading tree. I read a poem and then a few of us took turns to scatter the ashes. It was an emotional moment. We took photos to record the spot. Later we ended up at a cafe for a refreshing drink and headed back to Jill's for lunch.
A while ago, I had lent Ross Greg's old cine films as he knows how to transfer them to DVD and edit them with music and titles etc. He had transfered to DVD and edited a 30-minute film of our wedding and honeymoon,which we viewed after lunch. It was strangely comforting to see Greg as a young man again and so happy and free from the struggles of recent years.
All in all it was a wonderful day and when Kay and I got back to London in the extremely humid evening, we were exhausted but happy. Greg was now at rest in his favourite place. Happy Anniversary!