Stop walking on Grandad
When I cark it, then assuming that I haven’t succumbed so suddenly to Death (and it’d better be Neil Gaiman’s Death, or heads will roll) that my famous last words are “Oh, dropped me pastie”, I hope to get at least a short time to reminisce. At that light-headed, fun-packed time, you will ask me about the most laughter-filled days of my life, and I’ll tell you all about the day we scattered Dad’s ashes on Bleasdale Moor.
Dad died on 25th March 2003. Now before you sigh and stop reading, be aware that this isn’t a blog about how much he is missed (which is a gazillion times more than you think), or indeed about his funeral (moving and emotional, thank you), but rather about the fun we had disposing of his earthly remains.
Me and Our Julia took Our Mam to pick up what turned out to be a plasticky pot, deep red, vaguely urn-shaped, if you can imagine such a thing. We collected my daughters Cat and Ellie, and Julia’s son Danny. Being teenagers, what’s the first thing they do? Oh yes – off with the lid and have a good look:
“He looks like cat litter”
“Yeah, after the cat’s been”
Dad’s favourite place was up on windy, purple Bleasdale Moor, where (I’m told) he used to take groups of old ladies for picnics. It was a charity thing, not a pervy thing, you understand. The party drove up there, singing his favourite songs – a rousing rendition of “Wonderful wonderful Copenhagen” stands out. Over the ditch and up the heathery hill we went (This is on foot now – we’d de-carred), picking our way round and over a remarkable amount of sheep shit. We settled on a random place surrounded by tough grass and that heather, from which was a magnificent view across the valley. We each said a few words – “He was always laughing”, “Such a great dancer”, “Bye Grandad” and opened the plastic urn to the winds.
When you read about this happening in books, its always moving and beautiful. What never happens is that a gust of wind suddenly swirls in the opposite direction and surprises the mourners with a shower of Grandad.
After a few obvious cries of “Look out” or “Whoops”, one of us (possibly even me) began to sing “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair” to which we all joined in, Giggle Factor 10. Finally, we got it together enough to scatter Dad, although by now he’d been on a diet. It was the nearest we’d got to a solemn moment all day, although Cat broke that by walking just where we’d been tipping.
“Cat! Stop walking on Grandad!”
“You’ve got Grandad all over your shoes now! Get a stick and scrape him off!”
We put down a beautifully shaped stone to mark the spot, and have put down others over the years. From time to time we’ve added other things, such as flowers or ribbons, but the sheep and the wind soon put paid to those things.
The prompt for this blog was that we visited Dad’s Cairn, as we call it, again just the other day. The photo here on the left is me in my moth-eaten old favourite coat plonking another stone and a transitory feather down for Dad. He would have adored the fun we had that day in 2003. I love him and miss him every hour. But the real point of this is – when I DO cark it, kids – if you’re reading this – have a bloody good laugh at my expense.