On the 13th July it was the anniversary of my mum passing 25 years ago. That's almost half my life since, which astonishes me. In all that time my mums ashes have stayed with me, and all at the same address. But this was, in a sense, unfair on my brother and my aunt. My brother especially felt he had nowhere to go to pay his respects on occasion.
So the time had come to scatter her ashes, and on Sunday we did just that, in the waters of Loch Lomond.
Why there? Well, my childhood was a tumultuous one it could be said, but the time we lived on the shores of Loch Lomond, in the mid 60s, was the first time that all the family lived together, and they were happy and fun times. Because of this, it was a special place to my mum, including the nearby village of Luss, and so we decided these were the places we would take her back to. Almost full circle in a way. Our plan was that half her ashes would go into the water at the caravan park where we had lived, near Inveruglas, and the other half in the waters at Luss, though within a short space of time she would be everywhere.
My step father managed the caravan site for Halleys of Milngavie, but now it has changed almost beyond recognition since we left 50 years ago. But down on the shore were the concrete remains of the original jetty, where I used to play with my Action Man in his diving suit. My brother and I stepped over the gap of water and onto the jetty, where he read a favourite poem of my mums, by Leo Marks, as I scattered her ashes into the water.
The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours
A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours
I found this moment, as the ashes fell into the still waters, very difficult. I thought I would be fine, but it was so hard. All I could muster to say was that she had been my best friend.
We then repeated this moment in the village of Luss, which didn't have the same effect on me, most probably because I have no memories from there. The caravan site was where I have my earliest memories, and where my mum bought me my first bicycle.
I've changed in looks a lot since those early days, but what's remarkable is that my mum did not really change in all her years. In every photograph and image I have of her, it was her smile that was a constant and how I always remember her.
Back when I lived on Loch Lomond, a grand old paddle steamer called the Maid of the Loch used to plough up and down the deep waters.
Now there is one more lady on those waters.
I miss you.