CREATING A SHRINE FOR MY MAM

Hi everyone. I have posted quite a bit here since mam left me on 25 November. I have a reach a place where I can sit with her and hopefully feel close to her. I have created a shrine filled with buddhas and flowers and fairy lights. Her ashes and lock of hair will be placed in the little porcelain egg she bought me one Christmas. It is a very peaceful place to sit with her and anyone can create this at home. I added my beloved pandy (he’s 51 now) with a nod to the lovely childhood mam created for me, full of camps and tea parties and dressing up.
I placed a little gold buddha in her hand at the chapel of rest to keep her company and travel with her on her journey. I still want to be with her but know that I have to wait to join her. I wish her a good morning every day when I wake and say goodnight as I try to go to sleep. I tell her what I am doing every day, though it’s not much because I have no enthusiasm.
I still need to add my memory tags and will post when I finish.
It would be lovely to share your creations. You don’t need much space and add whatever is precious to you and your loved one. Here’s mine x


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What a lovely shrine Christine and it looks a lot bigger that I had imagined.

Absolutely gorgeous and serene so I can see why you enjoy sitting there.

I too have a Pandy but his name is Benji and I am so glad he can’t talk about the things he’s seen and heard over the years lol.

Have a good night,

Suzanne x

You made me laugh! and I don’t feel guilty. I was getting up to mischief in the old house before they moved so I can’t even say it was when I was little. Yes, I’ve had to bride Pandy to keep quiet and he keeps coming back for more until I threatened to put him in the loft! He’s quite happy where he is.
I haven’t finished, still got memory tags to add and pics of mam and more flowers. It runs across the mantle and chest of drawers/bookcase and unit so I can keep adding more stuff. The candles are battery so not a fire risk. I’ve been wanting to do it for a while so pleased I made a decent start. Think I’ll stick pics on the mirror and work my way up.
Hope to see more shrines in time. Could be a lovely way of remembering loved ones.
xxx

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I’m hoping the idea catches on. Creates a peaceful place in which to sit and think and pray and chat to her. I can’t visit the grave where mams ashes will go (to be with her parents up north) so I thought I’d create my own resting place for her. It’s my vision of Heaven, a beautiful summer garden, like at their old house, and I’m hoping she will be protected and guided by the buddha’s wherever she is. I hope I can feel close to her when I get her home with me. My dad has her ashes with him. I can look forward to watching tv with her now, like she is staying over. I know how that sounds, a bit delusional, but I think whatever works to make it easier is ok. I know she isn’t really with me but I imagine her to be.
Much love x

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Goodness me Christine I’m in absolute awe of you for the creativeness in your “serenity space”. What a soothing ambience. You seem a lot more settled in yourself too. x

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I loved the Pandy humour so much that I actually had a silent giggle, That’s the first of the day !!

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Thank you! I have always been arty. I learned to knit and crochet before I started school (mam taught me). Love interior design. I have an Asian theme throughout so the buddhas and flowers make a nice setting for the shrine. I hope mam feels peaceful when she gets here. I do feel more settled but just can’t seem to push myself to get anything done. It’s because this is for mam that I was able to do it. Will add my memory tags when I collect mam in my egg (not sure when).
Love xxx

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Morning Christine,

Sorry if you’ve already said but does the Asian/Buddha theme hold a significance to you and/or your mum?
Not that it matters really but just wondered if it was inspired by travels or something and would like to have heard a story or two if it had

Hope the day is kind to you,

Suzanne x

Hi Suzanne,
I’ve always been intrigued by spiritual enlightenment (Mam went to church and so I went to Sunday school growing up) so Buddhism and India was a natural interest for me in my twenties. I love the idea of goodness being rewarded with the reincarnation system (I want to be a cat). But generally it is a lovely way to live life, being kind. I was going to backpack around India years ago, had my route sorted, partying in Goa, chilling on a houseboat in Kerala… but I discovered I had breast cancer and obviously couldn’t go because of the treatment (I’m just relieved that I didn’t go and then discovered the lump). So during lockdown I redecorated throughout with a theme of hessian, gold and bamboo wallpapers, ochre and bamboo curtains, wooden floors and vibrant colour in the form of sari’s over doorways, cushions on green sofa’s and Indian fabrics stitched onto picture frames for the walls. Large leafy plants (bamboo and banana tree) set the scene for a chic boutique vibe. I’ve been told the garden looks like Thailand with my waterfall over the pond and large trees (lush in summer, not so much now) so it provides an extension of the house in the Asian theme.
Mam didn’t see it because of covid and whatever was happening. I’m so upset because she loved decorating. My Dad was always refreshing the paintwork every year and every house we lived in was decorated within the era (love the deep shag pile carpets of the seventies and eighties up the side of the bath). My parents taught me all I know about decorating, colour and pattern. But without mam here it’s just an empty shell.
I like the idea of retiring to India but now I’m agoraphobia (and have been for many years) I can’t imagine that happening. It’s a nice dream though. I love watching programmes about it.
I realise how lengthy my replies are! I’m getting my enthusiasm back. Just don’y have the energy to actually do much. But has been nice chatting.
xxx

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Hi everyone, I realised you only had segments of the shrine so this one shows the combination to give an idea of the scale. Any space can be used (floor, a chair, table, windowsill, cabinet etc).
Just updated my mam’s tribute site with my shrine. Nobody else has added pics, maybe too upsetting. I do get very upset seeing mam’s pics of when she was happy and healthy. Didn’t know then that those times would become so precious. She is so very precious to me. I love you mam. May you rest in the Buddha garden, bathed in light and flowers, until I can join you there. All my love xxx

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How wonderful to have this lovely peaceful place to pay tribute and contemplate

I have felt anger about the circumstances around my lovely Dad’s death, and at times I still do. I hope I can find peace and love when I think of my Dad, and maybe create this kind of place to sit and remember.

Thank you for sharing this x

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Hi Lanee,
I posted pics because I thought it could inspire others to create a setting in which to feel peace and reach their loved ones. It is the only thing I could do for mam. I can’t get back to my work and feel so empty that the days drift into each other. It is a lovely space in which to sit with her. I don’t even feel the need to talk to her. It’s like she’s there with me, watching tv.
I’m so pleased you are thinking of making your own. The candles I use are battery so no risk of fire (Amazon). And the fairy lights drift in and out to altar the light. Any space can be adapted, large or small, full or simple. I still need to add pics of her and memory tags (I will post again when finished).
Whatever happened to make you angry I think this could help to process events and put them to rest so you can enjoy the happiness and love you and Dad had together. A few of his favourite things (take pics of larger items) will create a rich tapestry of memories celebrating his life. You can always play around with stuff and keep taking pics to record your ongoing tribute to him, and also to yourself and your grieving process. It is such a long road ahead.
Wishing you love xxx

Hello Christine.

Thank you for showing the shrine full size in all its glory, It’s gorgeous. Being inside as well makes it more restful and private. You can just be yourself with your Mum without fear of overlooked by your neighbours if you just had the open space in your garden.
Went to the Churchyard today as the floral tributes were starting to look tired and needed to be removed. It’s a lovely small Churchyard but I still associate it with my Mum’s parents being there and not my Mum if that makes sense.
I am going to see if I can find a nice rose, we have a few in the garden but unless it’s me, roses don’t smell as fragrant as they used to. I remember an Aunt years ago with a garden full of fragrant flowers but flowers don’t seem to have the same fragrance intensity nowadays. Before I lost my Husband I was collecting hydrangea bushes and had some gorgeous ones but they all died as I was unable to care for them due to circumstances. It kind of bothers me though that I spent time gardening and tidying the garden that could have gone on my Husband but at the time we didn’t know time was running out for us.
Hope you’ve been doing as well as you can be.
Love x

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Is that your cat that’s just inside the picture!

Yes, my lovely Porscha. I’ll post you a proper pic. She’s 15 now and still looks like a youngster. She’s my baby. It was grief talking when I said about getting her rehomed. I would never do that. She is so precious to me, like a child. Here she is xxx

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Hi Christine. Just been looking at the pics of the shrine for your Mum. Such a great idea and one that must give you a lot of comfort during these sad times xx

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I am loving sitting with mam, imagining her enjoying the buddha garden, bathed in light and perfume, watching tv with me and just naturally being. I had thought about creating a space in my garden but it would not be private like my shrine and I would certainly be overlooked and watched by neighbours.
I think maybe you need more time at the churchyard, to settle into that space in order to make it mam’s. You could remember family get togethers, take photographs with you perhaps to spark memories of when you were little. That happened for me when I was going through old projector slides from mam being young. I wish I had known her as a person before me and not just as my mam. I know she is one in the same but my perspective of knowing her has changed since she left. She has grown to beyond just me and our relationship.
I want to find an old fashioned perfumed rose for mam for the garden. Davis Austen does beautiful roses (can be a bit pricy but fab quality). Not sure if you have to pay extra for perfumed roses these days. The more they have been man produced (for perfection and colour) the less natural they are like I remember from my childhood. Amazon has loads of choice and I did see an ‘old fashioned’ rose collection which I will check out. Sure they had other ‘highly perfumed’ roses too. I have ordered from J Parkers, Thompson and Morgan and You Garden. They all do pretty much the same thing with different offers. You can go online to see what they have and order your catalogue (lovely to sit and ponder over the pages rather than a computer screen). I’ll really miss planning our wall planters because we’d both order and then share.
It’s always upsetting to lose cherished plants, especially when we don’t have the time to care for them. My garden takes 2 hours or more to water in the summer. Thinking of getting a watering system so all I do is turn on the tap. I love hydrangeas. When I did the garden patio I had to move the huge hydrangea just outside my window. Wish I hadn’t because it didn’t really recover. It has new growth but will never be the same. Maybe you could order a new one in place of the ones you lost, especially for your husband.
I just remembered something fab, the pound shop is brilliant for getting really cheap plants. I’ve had a lot from there and they have mostly taken. So well worth checking out when the seasons come around. Can’t believe I’m getting excited about my garden and plants. I can’t even go out there. Maybe it’s because I was so focused on getting it finished before winter, not knowing that mam didn’t have much time left. We/ she didn’t know. But I feel so guilty that my garden took my focus away from mam. I could have gone over, spent time with her, even if she had to lie down. I would lie down next to her if I could have that time again and just chat and tell her how precious she is to me. I miss her so very much.
Thinking of you xxx

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Tina, another thought to help you feel closer to your mam with the grave is to take your photos and place them with your flowers and maybe little precious things that evoke memory. Take photo’s so you can then transfer them onto your laptop and create a photo album with each visit. It’s similar to the shrine I created but you can create a new setting each time you visit. If you find it hard visiting maybe this could help make it more about your mam. Maybe get different flowers / colours each time, drape a scarf or dress to add colour and texture, add lights and candles. The more you do the easier it will become. You might find it’s not for you. Anything that helps you sit in the space to connect with your mam is worth a try. xxx

Hi Neil, It really is helping me because I did it for my mam. Before that I was sitting in a vast emptiness, like a zombie, unable to concentrate. It does feel like she is watching tv with me. I’ve created a comfortable space in which I can sit with her, whether she’s really there or not. It will continue to evolve with the seasons. I still have my memory tags to add so will post pics again to update. Hope you are feeling a little lighter xxx

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Thankyou Christine for all your wonderful advice. You have some incredible ideas. It’s inspirational that you are finding your feet and being able make your plans real. Like you say, anything that can help us to feel a bit of peace is worth trying. I can well believe you saying your garden took 2 hours to water!! I would often sit with the flower magazines and they are so much better sat with a brew and a biscuit than on a computer screen. My Husband was a sun-lover and often sat out on the lounger whilst I messed about with my container plants. I don’t think he was impressed but happy days. Mum has an Aspidistra that is more than 50 years old in the hallway. Id hate to lose that as I’m rubbish with houseplants. Love the cat by the way. Love x

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