Collecting my mother’s ashes this morning four weeks after her death was an event filled with sadness and finality. I have made journeys like this in the past. Once for my father and once for my sister. There is something deeply personal in the collection of the essential elements of someone who was once so vital and alive, yet who has now been reduced to ashes.
I collected my father’s ashes during a summer many years ago, and my sisters ashes were collected in spring. I choose to make those journeys alone, as I also did this morning. Collecting the remains of these special people that I loved dearly was a privilege, and I have never feel spooked or scared by handling them.
Going out this morning the sun was shining and the day was bright. As I drove into the grounds of the Crematorium I saw this year’s first daffodils in bloom, their beautiful yellow heads peeping up through the soil.
In that moment I was simply reminded that spring always brings new life despite the dark winter that has preceded it, and that nature annually reflects the unceasing ebb and flow of time.
Spring can be about looking forward to a life filled with new possibilities….
Spring can be about the renewal of sleeping hopes that may have lain dormant throughout the long winter….
Spring can also be about acknowledging that our lives, like daffodils, are precious and short-lived, and that we should really make the most of the time when we are in bloom.
To Daffodils (Robert Herrick)
Fair daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain’d his noon.
Until the hasting day
But to the evensong;
And, having pray’d together, we
Will go with you along.
We have short time to stay, as you,
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or anything.
As your hours do, and dry
Like to the summer’s rain;
Or as the pearls of morning’s dew,
Ne’er to be found again.
Destiny can be about accepting the past while acknowledging the here and now and turning our faces up to the sun.