Wednesday morning 4.30 am, I lay awake knowing that today I will scatter my son’s ashes.
I force myself out of bed; dawn is breaking and I go out into the garden, where I laid my son’s ashes some weeks ago. Still in my pajamas, I lift my son’s ashes, in a tiny box, from under a rose bush and take them inside, placing them on the table. I stand, there, alone and dazed, not even able to think. There’s no one that I can turn to, no one that can hold me and comfort my shocked soul. Tears are falling, but I’m not crying.
I don’t know what to do; it’s as if I’m frozen in time. There is no one to guide me and show me what to do.
I pray to God and ask Him to give me the wisdom and strength to know what to do.
Then calmness comes over me as I walk into the kitchen to find something to unscrew the lid from the little box. As I worked to remove the lid, I was surprised at how heavy it was for its size.
As I unscrew I read the inscribed plaque on the lid; my son’s name, with birth and death dates, I have this strong feeling that someone is with me, then I see a tiny white feather on the kitchen server. In that moment I realize that God has sent an angel to comfort me.
I lift the lid off the box and remove my son’s ashes, wrapped in a plastic zip-loc bag. Letters on the bag confirm that this is my son.
Mothers who have lost a child – I know your pain.
As I hold the bag in my hand, I say out loud, “This is my son, I hold in my hands”. – His ashes feel so heavy!
“Is this all I have left of my son”? My heart cries out.
I Place the ashes in a red carrier bag, neatly folding and resting it on the TV stand.
How does a mother cope with such pain, I feel so numb, like I’m on autopilot?
Then I step into the shower and ask myself, “What have I got to be grateful for”?
I am grateful that I still have my younger son and his family, even if they live in faraway Ireland.
I am grateful that my friend Anita is coming with me to scatter my son’s ashes.
I am grateful that she has, for many years, been there for me.
It’s time – my mobile rings, Anita is here.
We take a slow walk up the road and along the way we find a path and begin to climb up the hill. I turn to Anita saying, “I think we need to find a recess in a rock, where we can place the ashes.” It seemed like seconds and we find the perfect spot. I am banking on the strongly gusting wind to blow my son’s ashes where it will.
We sit together on the rock and drink in the beautiful and peaceful valley below.
I empty my son’s ashes into the recess and wait for the strong wind to blow them away.
We had waited some time, when Anita said, “I think you need to help John to leave don’t you”? In that moment I could see my son smiling and trying not to laugh at me, he had such a wonderful sense of humour – taking his own time to leave us. “Son, It’s time to leave! I will love you till the 12th of never and that’s a very long time”. With this I push my hands into the ashes, then, almost in an act of jealousy, the wind gusts strongly and in a swirl, the ashes fly away.
Anita and I sit still, trapped in our own thoughts.
Silently, I bless my son and thank him for all we had together.
I am, by no means over the loss of my son, but I understand he was only on loan to me – for 47 precious years.
I have chosen to celebrate his life and all the wonderful times we enjoyed together; for this, I will always be grateful.
Yes, there are still many sorrows, many things that hurt me, but there are also many more blessings pouring into my life, since I have learned to daily express my gratitude for what I have.
I know my life is a journey; there are days I want to scream out for the loss of my son, there are times when I want to go to sleep and never wake up, but I always get up and face the new day.
Then I think of my son and family in Ireland; James, my partner, who truly loves me and always helps me to understand.
But the question still plaques my mind….’why,why,why? he was still so young….’
Please know, all you wonderful mothers out there, those of us that have had to give our children back; we were especially chosen to do so, though in sorrow and pain of loss.
As we share our experiences with others, we will grow stronger and encourage many.
Love and light to you all.
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