Ash Monday

So today it’s been exactly one year since Mum had to go. 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8760 hours. 525600 minutes. Not one of those days has passed by without my thoughts turning to Mum, gravitating towards her like plants stretching for the sun. I used to worry about waking up one day having forgotten her face or the sound of her voice, until I realised an important truth. Part of her will never be gone; she’s embedded in me and H to the core of our beings. Her genetics, her passions, her personality, a technicolor inheritance of humanness imprinted on our hearts.

She was a beautiful soul who left an enduring footprint on this earth. The people whose lives she touched were varied and many; remembered for her smile, her love, her helpful heart, her incredible creativity, her passion for those others found too difficult and her crazy sense of humour. Her fifty four year journey here took her through wintry wastelands and sparkling summers alike, but the constant determination to carry on walking regardless is what inspires me the most. There were times she skipped freely, and times where it literally took every ounce of her being to drag her feet in line with her heart, but she made the choice to keep on keeping on. I’m eternally thankful to her for leaving me that gift, for showing me that whatever shit life hands me, I can choose to keep walking. I want to journey well. Not fast, but well. I want my footprints to count and leave a trail for those that follow. I don’t want to arrive at my destination without having changed my journey for the better.

Today we scattered mum’s ashes. It was another one of those surreal out of body experiences which left me feeling like I am definitely not a proper grown up yet. I got the giggles when we rocked up to the funeral director’s to pick mum up and they handed us a green plastic milk bottle container. True story. In fairness, it was in a very classy matching green gift bag, but my preconception of a ceramic pot with one of those space age metal discs with holes on top was blown completely out of the water.  Apparently you have to pay for the privilege of a sturdy ash-holder.

Armed with the ashes, we picked a peaceful spot by the river near where we grew up. It seemed a perfect place; sometimes mum took us down in the springtime after school to watch the new cygnets splashing about in the sunshine. A lovely place with some lovely memories. Thankfully it wasn’t all that windy today so no local fishermen were subjected to a face-ful of Lozza interrupting the tranquillity and putting them off their game. Maintaining a sense of occasion we recited a poem (for those of you not familiar check out my other blog- Don’t Grieve For Me) that I’d written this time last year, and we respectfully poured mum into the fast-flowing river waters. (At this point I’d like to plead ignorance to any officials reading this if we’ve inadvertently breached some sort of health and safety law. We honestly didn’t know. Really. Please don’t arrest us.) The flow of the water served as a pertinent reminder of the freedom mum now has. No more slogging out the journey, just a beautiful release.

Apparently us Brits have an average 77 years on this earth. 924 months. 4018 weeks. 28123 days. 674968 hours. But the reality is, nobody knows when their time is up. Each and every hour is a precious opportunity to leave your mark, good or bad. Mum left a legacy of love. What will you and I leave behind when our life-clock stops?

Dance like nobody’s watching.
Love like you’ll never be hurt.
Sing like there’s nobody listening.
Live like it’s heaven on earth.

Carpe Diem friends. Carpe Diem.


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