Words that flow...

Words and images - powerful elements of our everyday life. Most of the time we take them for granted, but sometimes something happens to make you aware of how important they are... and how thankful you are to have the opportunity to use or appreciate them. Here lies some of my words and pictures (which are untouched apart from cropping, unless I've said otherwise) - Please add your words to mine, and leave a comment. Thanks for visiting!

03 May 2009

Sunsets on Samsø

Easter was a strange time. Just over six months since my mum died and we'd had the cremation ceremony with friends and family, we buried her ashes...

The Saturday that begun the two weeks break we buried half mum's ashes with my dad in the local churchyard. The ceremony was simple, and consisted of only family along with a couple of other friends who'd missed the cremation - one of whom had come over from Denmark with mum, and who'd trained as a nurse with her when she was in her twenties. A few words were said by the village vicar, and then we lowered the ashes, threw a handful of dirt, and filled in the hole ourselves. It wasn't as hard this time as the first time, but I have to say I felt another tie snap and mourned a little more.

Mum's elderly brothers couldn't make it from Denmark nor France for the burials, and we wanted the link with mum's birthplace to stay strong, so we had decided some time back to take her ashes back to the Island where she was born and scatter them with her brothers present. But, when we arrived there, my uncle couldn't bear the thought that folks would walk over her ashes, so we agreed to bury the rest of her remains in the churchyard she was married to dad in next to her parents.

Apart from having to negotiate with the local priest in Danish (luckily my younger sister had lived in Denmark for a year when she was in her thirties, so was able to guide us through this very tricky discussion :-) ) and apart from needing to purchase an urn from a local urn maker, it turned out to be a straight forward process. Nearly two weeks after burying half of mum's ashes at home, we buried the other half in the other place her heart was...on the island of Samsø, Denmark.

Funny, it wasn't what we'd envisaged. We knew the Danish there had lovely little gardens around each grave, where some had placed little seats, others flowers or trees, others yet had places some kind of memorial. Most 'headstones' were simple stones with 'mor' (mum) or 'far' (dad) painted on or carved. Some just said a name, such as 'Jens' or 'Signe'...no surname for it is unecessary in a plot that belongs to a family. Their christian names are who they were known as so only they are necessary in death. Some chose to be buried in the 'unmarked' part of the graveyard...wanting no lasting memorial for themselves. There was no cost for burying mum there as she'd retained her Danish nationality.

The ceremony was simply to lower the urn in the flower rimmed hole (they'd placed a perfect sized wreath to cover the hole, but to allow the urn to be passed into it...very pretty. That was it. No words. Just a general 'goodbye'.

Well, it was strange having three funerals for mum...and we joked that only she could have so many ceremonies for her, but we were all glad that we had done this last one...it was special to share it with her brother and the family present over there. It gave us and them a place to return to if ever we wanted to 'visit' mum, for we had wondered if we'd ever go back if there was no reason to go (being easier to remain on the mainland with her extended family in the lovely village by the sea where they lived!)

And, thankfully, that brings a closure to mum's life so we are able to move forward without her...

© Annelisa Christensen 5:58 pm

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At May 04, 2009 1:41 pm, Blogger Akelamalu said...

I hope now the ceremonies are done you will have closure m'dear, and you can concentrate on remembering the good times with your Mum.xx

At May 04, 2009 1:51 pm, Blogger bulletholes said...

Three ceremonies!
I did a post a while back about the XMrs Bulletholes biting me on my butt about where to bury me. I thought she was kind of rushin' things along, don't you?

Anyway, its not a long one and it mightr make you laugh...

At May 04, 2009 2:59 pm, Blogger Annelisa said...

Yep, Akemalu, I am able to move on now...I think I had already (being there at the end kinda brings it home to you anyhow) but I'm just glad not to do any more of those ceremonies. I want to remember her alive not dead.

Steve, I'd forgotten what a great story teller you are! I enjoyed your anecdote about the ashes, but also the ones about the fishing and the cigar...made me smile. Thank you! It has to be a good thing, though, that she cares enough to want to know what to do with your ashes! :-) Though I wonder if there might not be someone else around by then to worry about that! (After all, you're looking a long time into the future, aren't you! :-D )

At May 13, 2009 8:10 pm, Blogger TopChamp said...

The Danish ceremony sounds perfect. I love the photo of the grasses.

At May 17, 2009 3:08 pm, Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Sounds perfect and again, your beautiful photos are also perfect. Were they taken there?

At May 18, 2009 11:05 pm, Blogger Annelisa said...

Hey TC and MOI....yes, the photos were taken on my mum's island (well, not hers, but where half of her heart always lay)...it was particularly lovely there in April, but it always seems to be for some reason :-)

We stayed in a Summerhouse a couple of miles away, and there were porpoises, hares and lots of wildlife. The beach was great for the kids and perfect for quiet walks...it was such a good break!


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