A Place to Rest

Our minds work in mysterious ways. The more I try to make sense of some things, the more confusing it becomes. Three months ago I made enquiries into placing Barry’s ashes. We then visited the local cemetery and had a walk around. By the end of the day, I knew I wasn’t ready to go through with it.

In recent weeks, for reasons I won’t go into, my mind has returned to placement of Barry’s ashes. This week, I found myself making the necessary phone calls to start the procedure and yesterday we returned to the cemetery for another look around, but this time we met an official who was able to answer all our questions.

Again, I was not happy with a placement in the garden. Anyone could dig up the ashes and walk away with them or destroy the container on the spot. It would break my heart if this happened, so I quickly dismissed all thoughts of the garden and returned to the safety of the wall.

Whilst the walls look to have few placements, there are actually only a few niches left for purchase as many have been bought and reserved for future use. Eventually, I chose a niche that can be seen in the photo of my post called The Ashes Wall. Barry will be placed in the right hand side panel in the upper left hand corner. Although it cannot be seen, there is a bench just to the right of the edge of the photo. We will be able to sit on the bench and look at Barry’s final resting place when we visit.

That was the easy part. I then had to consider the wording for the plaque. We spent almost an hour reading the other plaques and making notes. Eventually, I fell apart and Gary guided me away from the walls and back to the car. This sounds stupid, but I feel the words I put on the plaque will be the last communication I have with Barry and I have to get it right. Can you imagine the pressure I put on myself?

In the afternoon we went to the Council and did the necessary paperwork. Again, I started crying when we discussed the wording for the plaque, but the woman looking after us was lovely and helpful. I finally handed over the words I had written with the knowledge that I will receive a proof on Monday, at which time I can make any changes I want.

I’m not sure why this is important to me, but the placement date must be either 18 May or 26 June. I will not be happy with any other day. As 18 May is only two weeks away, I wasn’t really surprised when I was told that it will be impossible to arrange everything by that day. This means the ashes will be placed on 26 June 2007, which would have been Barry’s 20th birthday.

I know some people, my family included, wonder why I insist on placing Barry’s ashes in a cemetery, when I could put them in a pot beneath a beautiful rose bush and have them in the backyard beside a bench seat or something. For me, it all comes down to ensuring the world knows that Barry Andrew Henderson existed. He lived and breathed and loved. He smiled and laughed and joked. It is similar to writing “Barry was here” on the wall and knowing those words will never fade. If his ashes were placed in a pot, what would happen to that pot after I’ve gone? I imagine Daniel would take them, but what about when he has gone too? Who will care about Barry’s ashes then?

As Barry’s mother, I need to be sure that his ashes are safe and it’s important to me to know that there’s a plaque with his name on it telling the world that my son did live and he will now always live on in our hearts.

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