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  • My mother loved the house on Yew St, the house I am leaving now. She always wanted a yellow rose outside the front door, and, a few years after her death, I planted a beautiful David Austen rose there in her memory.

    Before she died, we talked about where she wanted her ashes to be scattered. I had already thought that she would probably want to go back to England, her real home, to be in the churchyard in the little village where she was born and where her mother, father and sister were buried. She laughed, and cried, when I told her that, because I had guessed exactly what she would have wanted.

    On the day after her death, in the funeral parlour, I told the woman there what I was going to do, and we discussed the logistics of taking a box of ashes in a suitcase on an airplane. Then, she asked me if I would like to keep a little bit of the ashes. It was the day after my mother died. I couldn't bear the thought of losing her and I wasn't really thinking clearly. So I said "yes," and we arranged for a pinch of ashes to be put in a little urn thing, which I received a week or so later and which I put in my special treasure cabinet.

    But that little urn made me feel uncomfortable. I felt my mother wondering what I was doing with the tip of her toe, or a piece of her ear, or whatever piece of her it was. I found it morbid. I didn't want to keep it any more. But then I couldn't think what to do with it. I was tempted, but couldn't bring myself, to toss it in the garbage.

    Today, I was doing some clearing in the house on Yew St, preparing to sell it and move out of it completely, the yellow rose was in full bloom, lush and beautiful and cheerful; my mother would have loved it. And, suddenly, I knew what to do with that urn. I dug a deep hole under the roots of the rose and placed it there. Doing it, I felt such a rightness. Now a little bit of my mother will be able to stay in the house she loved, and I can leave her, and the house, behind.
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