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Tony Grist

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Ashes To Ashes [Jul. 12th, 2012|10:54 am]
Tony Grist
We picked the ashes up from the Co-op's new premises in Oldham. They came in a cardboard box, in a shiny purple carrier bag. They were surprisingly heavy. You hear the word "ashes" and you think of wood ash which is light and fluffy. Human cremains are more like something you'd spread on an icy road. Ailz says our ashes weigh as much as our bodies weighed at birth. I'd heard that one before. I'd like it to be true but has anyone actually tested it?

There was a bottleneck at the cemetery gates. Cars coming. Cars going.  This place was laid out before there were cars. A guy in a kilt and highland bonnet was unpacking his gear from the back of a van. Later we heard the skirl of his pipes from another corner of the cemetery complex.

There are raised rose beds on three sides of the crematorium chapel; that's where the ashes go. Behind the beds-  beyond a walk-way of astroturf- is the wall where the imitation stone memorial plaques are displayed. An attendant put the ashes into a pot with a handle; The handle has a lever in it; you press the lever and the ashes come out the bottom. Ailz and Dot did the business. For future reference, the ashes are in bed #1. The sun was shining- a rare occurrence this summer. 

[User Picture]From: ron_broxted
2012-07-12 11:07 am (UTC)
The only thing I heard (from a guy who worked in a crematorium) was that all the ashes are mixed up. The ones you got will have a % of the previous person and some of "your" ashes will be put in with whomever was after your cremation. I am opting for burial, mostly cos I saw a TV prog on archaeology and being dug up in 1000 years and having someone go "Ooh he had a broken nose" sounds interesting!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-07-12 12:20 pm (UTC)
I'm not at all surprised. I've always assumed some mixing would occur.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2012-07-12 01:43 pm (UTC)
My brother-in-law went to the crematorium to make sure the oven had been cleaned before they did my sister.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2012-07-12 01:45 pm (UTC)
Ecologically, that's a better way, I'm sure, but I think I prefer my family's way -- bury the cremains in a wee grave.

My brother's and my sister's ashes were very heavy. My mother's were comparatively light -- lighter, in fact, than those of our dog. It's possible that I was already prepared for the weight and thus hers didn't surprise me. I thought it had something to do with age and the porosity of many old people's bones.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-07-12 04:50 pm (UTC)
My father's ashes are in a wee grave in a churchyard.

Perhaps your mother was a very small baby.
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[User Picture]From: tamnonlinear
2012-07-12 02:15 pm (UTC)
My family gathered at Hyam's beach to scatted the ashes of my grandparents together, and it struck me that the cremains had roughly the same texture and density as the rougher beach sand. It blended in very quickly.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-07-12 05:00 pm (UTC)
Remember, O man, that dust thou art and to dust thou shalt return....
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[User Picture]From: faunhaert
2012-07-12 02:17 pm (UTC)
next time i talk to the sister in law the caretaker
i'll ask her about the birth weight thing

its always fun to have questions for her
the crazier the better
i make her laugh

it was a great day for a dusting!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-07-12 04:58 pm (UTC)
I'd be interested to know what she says.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2012-07-12 05:34 pm (UTC)
I really like that concept of dropping the ashes into a rose bed. I want my own to be put where something can grow from them instead of being buried in a concrete vault, enbalmed, underground, to no useful purpose whatsoever.
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