Saturday, 30 July 2016

Preparing to inter mum's remains

The next phase in the process of saying farewell to mum involves placing her ashes in a final resting place. To that end I got in touch with the rectory at the parish of St Peter's in Watsons Bay, where my grandmother - my mother's mother-in-law - was interred back in the nineties after she died. It was a bit difficult getting in touch with St Peter's at first because their office is only occasionally staffed, but I at least had the phone number from the funeral directors as I had spoken to them about using St Peter's on a number of occasions when we were arranging mum's funeral.

Once I got in touch with the parish office we started to discuss how to inter mum, and to this end they sent me an email outlining the different options in terms of the location of the requisite niche, and how to complete details for the plaque that goes on its outside.

In the meantime I drove up to the cemetery where mum's remains had been cremated and picked up her ashes. I did that yesterday during the day when the traffic was not so bad, and it only took me an hour or so to do. The people there were very formal and a bit cold, but I suppose when it comes to doing something as weighty as handing over a container of human remains you have to be thorough. They needed my drivers license to start with and they also asked me what I planned to do with the ashes - since I was not using their facilities to put them to their final place of rest - and so I told them what our plans were.

My brother had agreed to pay for the interment since it had been his idea to use St Peters, he said, and I did not disagree. I had already sent my idea about what should go on the inscription for the plaque to him and he came back with some emendations, which I included in the final draft. This I scanned into the computer and attached to the email I was sending to St Peter's to formalise the arrangements. I will now wait until next week when the parish office gets back to me with instructions for the next steps to take to fix the plans.

St Peter's columbarium - where people's ashes are interred in brick walls erected in a garden-like setting for the purpose - is a sweet little locality that you can find behind the church by going down a path and some steps. There are water features, trees, flowers, rocks and plants. People have been using the columbarium to put their relative's ashes to rest for as long as I can remember - we grew up in Watsons Bay, my brother and I - and the place was even for us boys then sometimes a place of resort in our wanderings around the area on weekends. The church can be found not far from The Gap with its old-growth scrubland bush and its tram cutting, now unused, sadly. I went to kindergarten at St Peter's, was married there, and we held granny's funeral there too. It is in a real way part of the family story.


Anonymous said...

Hello Matthew. I'm sorry. It's hard to lose your mother, and you have spent so much time with her over the last years.

Matthew da Silva said...

Thank you for your kind words.