11 July 2010

How to Celebrate a Wedding Anniversary

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!

21 comments:

Working Mum said...

You had just the right attitude to doing this on your anniversary. Sounds like it went well and a fitting conclusion to a man's life. So glad the weather was good for you and you will have treasured memories of a sad, but dignified day.

Saz said...

oh gosh, whilst l am weeping at the tale of your day..l am happy for you that you have put Greg to rest in such a special way and honoured his memory in this way...

l'm so proud of you...and inspired by your strength and empathy..
luv

saz x

elsy said...

you are inspirational........ i am sure with such attitude you will find peace and eventual happiness again

Monalisa said...

What a brilliant idea showing the DVD of your wedding, it makes it more personal. So glad the weather was good, it will be a comforting memory for you and your daughter.

laurie said...

this is a truly inspiring post--it feels so right. choosing your anniversary reminds you of the good things about greg and about his life, which is what one needs at a funeral. this is a wonderful end to such a difficult story.

Millennium Housewife said...

Rosiero, what an end to your journey with Greg. Beautifully put, and I do believe you are awakening to a talent. The phrasing, beauty and cadence of your writing is stunning. The next phase for you maybe?
Much love and kindness to you
MH xx

Kelloggsville said...

Oh my tears are flowing but it all sounds so perfect and very well done. I am so pleased you could find comfort in the DVD. Another step taken in this arduous journey.

Shammickite said...

Well done.
A fitting conclusion to your husband's life, surrounded by friends and family.

Flowerpot said...

Well done you Addy. I am so glad that you were able to lay him to rest. Must have been a real mixture of emotions but it sounds like you have done the right thing. xx

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

An elegant and compassionate send-off. Closure now? I do hope so. You deserve to enjoy the rest of your life. And please keep blogging!

Furtheron said...

Indeed he can now RIP

And I hope it is another big step on you moving forward yourself. I hope Kay is moving through the grieving...

good luck

nuttycow said...

What a very brave thing to do on your wedding anniversary. It must have been nice, however, that you had Greg's friends and family around you (as well as Kaye, of course).

Retiredandcrazy said...

Addy, it's so weird how our lives are following the same path. I live in Lincolnshire and went up to London this weekend, probably passed you on the way. But that's not the only thing. Davy died at Christmas and this week we bought his ashes back home and he is now interred in his garden of rememberance.

nappy valley girl said...

It sounds like a very nice occasion - and I am sure it was definitely right to wait and do it when everything was less raw (although obviously still sad). Hope that you can now start to move on with your life.

Nechtan said...

Hi Addy,

It sounds like a very beautiful day and I'd imagine the cinefilm must have been an emotional assualt. The poem is lovely. I can't imagine how you are feeling but hope the feelings are warm ones- Greg in his younger days marrying you.

All the best

Nechtan

Nota Bene said...

I wasn't sure how to comment on this...there is a beautiful symmetry, but I realise how sad it must be too...it feels absolutely the right thing to have done...

one planet said...

it seems to be hot in europe ..
sorry i red and understand now your hubby died and you start getting alife .. best nwo to you and your daughter

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

How brave you are Addy and what a wonderful thing you did for Greg. Quite a day for all of you but especially for you. You described it all so beautifully and I am so glad that the sun was shining on you all. I felt quite emotional as I read about your day but it sounded a perfect finale to your dear husband's life. A x

Adamity_Bomb_Bomb said...

That is SO beautiful. The Universe works in odd ways, huh? (Yet comforting.) As I started to read your post, I was all but chomping at the bit to say to you, "Screw everyone else. This act is between you and the man with whom you fell in love!" I wouldn't say it that precisely, but I think you catch my drift.

Imagine my surprise when your post turned directions.

Your experience was AWESOME. It made me--and it probably made you--see how great and omnipotent the Universe can be.

Or...not even that.

Maybe it shows us that the traces of young love never never never ever fade. Ever. That, when we look into the eyes of our 60-ish, 70-ish, 80-ish lover we still see the clear green/blue/hazel/brown eyes of the playful youthful love of the Love.

Maybe?

In any case, with whatever psychotronics, Love is Love. Forever.

I am so glad that the calendar and the friends and the weather co-operated with you. (You deserve it.)

Peace to Greg and much Love to you.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Don't really know what to say but you have moved on so well. ....great.

Spencer Park said...

I don't really what to say. I'm never very good at times like these. So all I can say is that my thoughts are with you