Pottering in the studio on Monday – the next Bah! book is a little bit on the page but mostly on the back brain, and needs a bit more time before it comes fully into the light – I listened to a terrific programme on Radio 4. It’s exactly the sort of programme that I would have thought I wouldn’t like: I assumed it would be morbid, maudlin and miserable, but turned out to be uplifting and beautiful. It was all about ashes. Human remains, post-cremation, and the different ways in which people dispose of them and, by extension, deal with their loss.
Listening, I learned not to scatter ashes near a tree, or plant a tree over them, because human remains are highly toxic. I had tears in my eyes as someone spoke about putting ashes into running water so that there wasn’t a single place where either the dead or the living could be stopped from moving on. I felt for the woman working out why she had left her mother’s ashes at the crematorium for a decade, and loved the man who’d invented a device for scattering ashes from a plane.
There’s also a site with ideas and resources about scattering ashes, here. Including being made into fireworks, or using a model Viking boat for flaming water burials. Both sound fabulous, and there are plenty of more everyday suggestions too.
But it won’t surprise you to learn that, when I am dust and ash, my beloved beach will be the place for me.