Saturday, April 20, 2019


I buried my mother today.

Quite literally, I buried my mother. The ceremonials had been done and dusted a few weeks ago and today I placed her ashes in the bottom of a big tub in my father's garden, covered it with compost and planted over it a rose bush that my aunt had bought as a memorial for her. I asked my father if he wanted to say a few words but he said that he'd do it as and when they came to him on his own as he pottered about the garden. Which is more than fair enough.

I'd made the mistake of telling the ex-small object of desire that both parents would probably outlive the rest of us. A couple of weeks later and both were visited upon by the nasty chest infection that was going round. My dad was laid low at home and my mum had to go into hospital. One day she was at in a ward eating cottage pie and trying to play a tune on the oxygen monitors. A couple of days later she was critical on a ventilator. On her last day she had enough strength to be fed a bowl of leek and potato soup and some grapes, and lots of cups of tea. We managed to get the immediate family round to say goodbye, which was a consolation.

When I was making the funeral arrangements I gave my brother the job of coaxing a choice of three pieces of music out of my dad. In the end the choice was good: "Jesu Joy Of Man's Desiring," Mama Cass singing "Dream A Little Dream of Me," and the Beatles' "In My Life."

The other day I dreamt I was doing the reading at my own funeral. It was all rather lovely and I woke up with a tear-stained pillow. These were the three pieces of music:

Be kind to each other.