Finally all the paperwork and formalities were completed which allowed us to bury my Father's ashes. We placed him alongside my Grandad (his father-in-law) as the two were great friends. I didn't bring flowers but snipped a sprig of rosemary (for remembrance) for each of them from the bush in my Mother's garden. It really is a beautiful location and it was worth waiting to get it sorted. That's Dad and Granddad in the foreground - and the foreboding shadow of one of the three enormous yew trees.
We left Dad to have a last sit on his favourite bench whilst we were getting the formalities sorted. It was a short ceremony as we'd already done the funeral last year; and only a few family members and my parents' closest friends were there.
My uncle read a bit from the end of Pilgrim's Progress (I'd never read the book) but that is where the bit about 'death where is thy sting' comes from.
I added in my head a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay:-
I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.
Crowned With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, but the best is lost.
The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.