A Celebration of Life

Day 10 – Thursday, 6 October, 2022

Grant was up at stupid o’clock this morning – I think he was a bit worried about the emotion of the day ahead. So he decided to light the fire – but the grate hadn’t been cleaned since the previous winter and not only did the smoke alarm go off (not sure what it is about Grant and smoke alarms this holiday) but the smell and smoke coming through the chimney into the bedroom above (where I was sleeping) was dreadful. I sprang out of bed and opened the windows to get some fresh air and began the day reluctantly not much after 5am.

Today though was all about farewelling Grant’s mother, Donna, who had passed away just before the lockdown in early March 2020. Although she was Scottish, she’d met and courted Grant’s father in Churchdown, just outside of Gloucester which is where he was from. We’d promised her that we’d bring her ashes back and scatter them with those of Grant’s father, so today that’s what we were going to do. The whole day, in fact, had been designed with Donna in mind.

First up was breakfast at Severn & Wye Smokery at Westbury-on-Severn not far from Gloucester. Donna introduced me to kippers for breakfast when we travelled through Scotland with her way back in 1995, so that’s what was on the menu – Kedgeree for Grant and kippers for me. While here we also bought some metal picnic shot glasses and a tiny single malt (whisky) to toast her with.

After picking up Grant’s cousin in Gloucester we made our way to Churchdown and the church on top of Chosen Hill, St Bartholomew’s. The Church has its origins in Norman times, about 1175, but the site was important earlier than this.

It was also important to Grant’s parents as from this viewpoint you can see for miles and it was on Chosen Hill that they used to walk.

When his father passed away some of his ashes were scattered under “their tree” on Chosen Hill, so we did the same. We also scattered some on his father’s headstone in the churchyard and toasted their memory. It was a simple memorial, but a lovely one.

Afterwards we went to lunch at The Frogmill Inn at Shipton Oliffe. It was here that Grant recalls the family all being together to farewell his father prior to his passing back in 1987, so it was significant that we celebrated Donna’s life here too.

After dropping our cousin back in Gloucester we made our way back to Tetbury via Rodborough and Minchinhampton Commons. It was such a lovely afternoon there were heaps of people out and about – and heaps of cows wandering freely too. The only fences on the commons are around the greens on the golf (links) course.

Dinner tonight in the cottage – cheese and pork pie with satsumas to finish a perfect day.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

37 thoughts

  1. How beautiful Jo and I’m sure Grant and you felt many emotions that day. I had a friend who was from Rome and moved to Australia in the early 50s. Her husband was from Lucca in Italy. When he died, she kept his ashes and when she died her request was that their ashes were combined and a third scattered in the Brisbane river, a third in the Tiber river in Rome and a third in the river in the village he was born. They will be together always. xx

  2. How lovely to be able to give Grant’s mum a final send-off on a gorgeous day, and to fulfill a promise to her at the same time. It would have been a lovely way to bring closure for Grant I’m sure. You did really well to arrange it all (I remember the hunt for the right spot before you on your trip).

    1. We certainly put some thought into it – and Grant was no help telling me about a pub from before we were together that had a mill in it. I had to work it our from that.

  3. You must have had a day so full of emotion and memories, both happy and sad. But it was a wonderful way to acknowledge and remember Grant’s parents.

  4. I love the idea of scattering ashes under trees or planting a tree as a memorial. It is never easy to say goodbye to a parent; no matter how old we are, we will always feel like a child losing a parent.

  5. Look at those gravestones! Ihope you use that churchyard in a book! As for the memorial, I hope he got a lot of comfort/connection in the process. It must be hard not being able to jsut ‘visit’ when you feel like it. The first time i went to ‘visit’ where we scattered dad, i thought I’d be upset but it was actually this really lovely ‘still’ hour of connection. Like I felt I could get him back if i wanted to – you know when someone is in another room – you aren’t talking but you know they’re there.

  6. This was lovely Jo and a perfect way to remember and farewell Grant’s mother Donna. I hope it felt right to you all on the day and you’ve made more lovely memories.

  7. Sounds like a nice way to say goodbye. We lost two family members in November last year and it has been a challenge for some people to deal with the grief, compounded in the way it was so close together.

  8. That sounds like such a lovely goodbye. Donna will be thrilled to be back under her tree with those beautiful views.

  9. Jo, ou gave your mother in law a great send off, and at the same time, have created more memories. I love your photos of Frogmill and would love to go there one day.

  10. What a perfect day to find closure. It’s wonderful when the weather cooperates. And I am glad that there was a wee toast to your mother in law.

  11. Hi Jo – this was lovely. Such a beautiful way to farewell Grant’s mother. Lovely to read the story behind it and to see the beautiful photographs of the scenery. I would’ve been up at sparrows too, with the knowledge of the emotional day ahead. Donna would be so happy you followed through with her wishes.

  12. This was an absolutely beautiful farewell, Jo. I remember you telling me about that trip. And that Grant’s directions for the perfect spot scantly mentioned a pub from before we were together that had a mill in it. That continues to make me smile! 😀

  13. What a treasure of memories created here from your words, and photos and how you and Grant (& cousin) shared this most important of occasions…Gosh it IS so important to make things ‘right’ as we believe they need to be. It was so good seeing your blog post shared via the Wednesday’s Words and Pics link up. Thank you for being part of the community here and I hope to see you next week too. Denyse.

Comments are closed.