The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Mum's ashes

I've disabled the comments on this post, as I don't think it's something I really want to get into a discussion about. I just wanted a record somewhere for my own benefit.

It’s 3 years ago today that we said our final farewells to my mother. That morning the sun was shining and as the landlady of the B&B served us breakfast, she asked what we were in Brixham for. I said we were down for a funeral, and before she could stop herself she said "Well, it's a nice day for it," while glancing out the window. I think there must be certain stock phrases that just leap out of the mouth as easily as the toast pops out of the toaster.

Unlike a traditional funeral, we held our own ceremony up on the cliffs at Sharkham Bay in Brixham, Devon, with the focus being on the scattering of the ashes.

It is a beautiful spot on a cliff top with the coastline swinging round on both sides and fading into the distance. The sun was glittering off the sea and there was a mild breeze. To be honest, this caught me by surprise: from the moment I'd started thinking about and planning the ceremony, I'd had these visions of lashing rain and howling gales. In the end it was a beautiful spring day.

We stood in a circle and I led the ceremony, allowing everyone to say a few words if they wanted. Nearly everyone did, from literally a few words up to talks of several minutes.

This was what I said. It’s not poetry, but it was from the heart.

Now is the time to finally say goodbye
Now is the time to lay our fears to rest
Now is the time to move on with our lives.

Mum made me. She made me who I am.
I grew in her belly. She nurtured me.

But more than just a physical act, Mum created the person I am.
She gave me love
She gave me perspective
She taught me right from wrong
More than anyone, she made me who I am.

I miss her
I miss her love
I miss her wisdom
I miss the way she would pull her mouth to one side and breathe out sharply through her nose when she was not impressed with what she'd seen or heard.

This past year has been a year of pain
A year of suffering
A year of false hopes.

It was a shitty end to her life
But then I don't know what a good end would have been.

But her legacy is within me
I cannot have truly lost my mother because I carry so much of her within me.

I hope I can be as wise as her
As loving as her
As understanding as her.

I heard it said once that people were always better for having known Mum
You cannot get a greater compliment than that
It is what we would all hope could one day be said about ourselves.

For all of us here, we know it to be true
That we are better for having known my mother.

And as such
Because of the way she has touched our lives
We all carry a part of her into the future with us.

I am my mother's son

And although I now move on with my life, without her mind and body
She will always be a part of me.

We then scattered the ashes on the cliff top, and everyone laid a daffodil, taking time to gaze at the ashes, the daffodils and the incredible views, before heading back to Dad's flat for food and chat.

I still miss her.
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