Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sybella's Ashes

Sybella's body was cremated on the 6th of May 2010. The idea of cremation has the ability to be distressing, because of what cremation actually entails. But so does the thought of a little body decomposing somewhere. So we chose cremation.
The quintessential social and cultural belief is that ashes of a body should be scattered. Back when Sybella first died, I was bombarded by people about what "will be organised" and "what should be done" and "the proper way to do things." I didnt have the energy or strength to argue or fight it. I am happy with the way things went regarding Sybella's autopsy, viewings, funeral and memorial pieces. But lots of people had their own ideas about the way things should have been.
The cremation of Sybella's body seemed to be widely accepted, but I was met with surprise over what Kelvin and I decided to do with Sybella's ashes.
We kept them.
They sit on her shrine, with her photos and candles, a little white box with a silver nameplate on the top.

The normal expectation seems to be that ashes should be scattered. I think this goes hand in hand with the symbolism that the ashes should be "free" just like the spirit of the person who has died. It's a nice idea. I considered it at first, but only because I thought it was what I "should" do.

Then I got her ashes. All I could think of was that it was my baby in there. If I scattered her, the thought of her "blowing in the wind," in the middle of Winter appalled me. I didnt want her out in the cold, alone, away from us, her family. I wanted Sybella inside.

If she were alive, she would be at home, warm and snug, wrapped up. So that's where her ashes should be. At home, with her family, where she belongs. Warm. Safe. And that's where they are.


  1. We have Matilda's ashes home with us - it just seemed like the natural thing to bring her home where she belongs. I haven't had anyone say they think that's strange thankfully (I'd be very upset if anyone did).

  2. If I had Hope cremated I'm sure I would have kept her at home, too. You did the right thing.

  3. I kept my baby Lola's ashes too (she died on the 5th May 2009). She is in a pretty wooden box on my bedside table. I felt the same as you, a baby should be with her family and I need her close by. We took her ashes on our summer holiday too, i couldn't bear the thought of leaving her at home alone.