Ashes

My dad passed away on 27th January this year, it all came about suddenly after a time of not seeing him, it still feels surreal. Yesterday my mum, my daughter and I went to collect his ashes, it’s a strange feeling to hold the ashes when still struggling to catch up with the fact he is gone. My mum and dad would have been married 50 years later this month however, due to his alcoholism they separated 12 years ago. My mum was only 13 when they first got together that’s a lot of history. My mum has taken the ashes home and she has been talking about having them buried with her when it’s her time to go. I spoke with her this evening and she is finding it difficult to accept she has his ashes in the house, she has never experienced having ashes before as my grandparents were buried. I feel so overwhelmed and responsible for how she is feeling, for being part of the discussion to have him cremated at all although it is something he did talk about. It’s all too late for these thoughts silly even to say now. I have told my mum I am happy to have the ashes but I want to respect her role. Why do I feel so responsible for everyone’s feelings and so much guilt! Is this normal? Yesterday it felt like a relief to have collected the ashes to have him close but now he’s at my mum’s and I have this knot of hurt that won’t go away I feel all over the place.

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@Jojoba - I’m so sorry for the loss of your Dad and I can understand how difficult it is and wanting to do the best for your Mum now. Please don’t feel at all responsible/guilty for any discussion you had regarding your Dad being cremated and not buried. If he’d have spoken about this preference, you did an amazing thing and respected his wishes. My Dad passed away in November and the funeral was after Christmas. We’ve not yet collected the ashes and already my Mum has said she can’t have them at home with her (they were married nearly 66 years) and is getting a bit freaked by it all. Because of this, I’ll have to have my Dad at home with me, although I’m not really wanting this either but I will to save my Mum anymore heart ache. We’re going to scatter the ashes later this year, when we make a trip to somewhere very special we all spent many holidays - he’d have liked that we feel. My adult daughter wants to have a memorial piece of jewellery made so she’ll keep some ashes - she was so close to her Grandad and I think he would have smiled at the thought of her keeping a part of him with her…so typically her and he’d have known she’d do something like that.
I think feeling responsible for other’s feelings and guilt attached to that is perfectly normal right now so be gentle with yourself. Since my Dad passed I’m constantly worrying and wanting to do the best for my Mum and protect her from having to deal with more sadness surrounding anything to do with my Dad. Its all been baby steps with her and taking my time to suggest things - at first she didn’t want to go back to the holiday place and scatter the ashes but over time she’s become used to the idea and is starting to plan dates for this with the rest of our small family. Maybe you could leave things for a few days before asking if your Mum would mind if you kept your Dad’s ashes for a bit in your house, say you’d like him to be with you at this time…if she agrees you could keep them until she brings up the subject again. If you keeping them permanently or you wanting to scatter them, could you suggest some can be kept to be buried with your Mum? Its all so raw for you all at the moment and making decisions can seem so overwhelming. Sending :heart:

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I’m so sorry for your loss. I keep a small urn of my father’s ashes on his bedside where I’ve been sleeping. It’s surreal thinking that the person you love and cherish is in such a small container but the way I’ve seen it these past few weeks for myself is that the body is only a vessel and the soul goes on. You are not alone in your grief

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I’m sorry for your loss and I 100% agree with you that the spirit goes on as soon as a person passes away. Their body is simply their earthly vessel. I visited my Dad several times in the funeral home and every single feature was his but there was no personality and it didn’t look like him at all. It didn’t look like he was sleeping either, even though he looked so peaceful, just wasn’t him.

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Thank you for you kind words and sound advice @Jess2023, I apologise for my late reply. It sounds like you are a great strength for your mum it’s hard to navigate others grief on top of your own, how are you doing? My daughter would love a little keepsake necklace of her granda’s ashes but my mum hates the thought so I haven’t pushed it. However, I feel it is something that will help my daughter in the long run, so again something for discussion when things settle. I tend to put everyone’s feelings in front of my own and I realise this isn’t healthy for me, I fell apart in work today, I think I’m so busy trying to consider my mum’s/daughter’s grief I am neglecting my own. @Sadchef94 it is a surreal experience but you are right it is only the vessel. @Jess2023 My dad looked unrecognisable at rest in the funeral home, like a stranger. I keep a photo close to remind me of how he was. Thanks again, I am sorry also for your loss and hope that you are continuing to find peace and comfort x

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Hi @Jojoba - lovely to hear from you again and thank you for your kind words to me too.
I completely understand how you’d want to keep some ashes for a future keepsake for your daughter, sounds very much like my own daughter’s wishes. I’m going to have something made for myself too but I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to wear whatever I have made but never say never eh? Definitely wait a bit before suggesting to your Mum again but try and stand your ground, in the kindest way possible, to keep some ashes back for your daughter as she’ll want that keepsake of her Grandad. We haven’t cleared out my Dad’s clothes just yet, as my Mum couldn’t face it before now, but she said she’d like to now and I’ll take them to a local charity shop. I’m going to keep some things back and my aunt is going to make a couple of memory bears for me from my Dad’s shirts. I haven’t told my daughter I’m doing this yet but I know she’ll treasure it. Have to say though, my Mum isn’t too happy to have perfectly good clothes cut up when they could be worn by someone else. I haven’t mentioned it to her since and have sworn my aunt to secrecy about making them. I won’t show my Mum until I think she’ll be ok with what I’ve done…I know she’ll love them and will understand why I wanted them done.
I’m doing ok-ish at the moment and thank you so much for asking. Good days, bad days still. I miss my Dad so much but I can’t change what’s happened and I have to try and live my life now as he’d have wanted me to. I can’t sink, he really would want me to be happy. I remember so many happy times and that gets me thru on the bad days. He was such a practical person and truly believed death was part of life and the world doesn’t stop when a loved one dies. Its hard though dealing with other people’s grief and the last few months have been very fraught at times, with various family members but its only because we all grieve differently. I’ve come to accept that more as time has gone on.
I hope it wasn’t too traumatic for you when you visited your Dad. For me, I was so “pleased” (seems an odd word to use) I did as I think it made the day of his funeral easier to deal with and knowing how peaceful he looked when I’d seen him the day before.
Sending you healing wishes :heart: