Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Ada's Last Journey.



Yesterday I went for a walk with my Dad and my wife onto Ilkley Moor in Yorkshire. My Dad is 75 years old and not too good on his feet these days so he was struggling and had to keep stopping for breaks.

We pushed on through the ferns and heather, climbing a secluded gully with a stream running down it in the midday sun. I walked closely behind Dad so I could grab him if he fell but didn't make it too obvious as he is still a proud man, he served in the Royal Navy and the police until back injury forced him out.

Ordinarily he wouldn't be walking terrain like this but we were on a mission of duty. I was carrying a rucksack on my back.

It wasn't very heavy as all it contained was the ashes of my grandmother Ada Porch.

She died on April 22nd last year, eight months shy of her 100th birthday and my dad felt it was time to make the pilgrimage and scatter her remains on the moors above the small town of Burley-in-Wharfedale where she was born and raised.

We finally stopped halfway up the gully next to a water fall. This was the same spot where my dad had scattered the ashes of my mother 16 years ago. My grandma's husband had been killed in North Africa during World War 2 and my mother was her only child, she had never remarried.
She moved in with my parents before I was born and lived with us for many years, to me and my brothers it was like having three parents so we were close to her.

We stood by the waterfall as my dad took the ashes from the rucksack.

"Here we are Ada", he said, "back with your daughter again after all these years".

"You were always telling us you were a nuisance and in the way but we were glad you were always there for us", I said as my dad cast the ashes into the waterfall and we watched them swirl in the pool below and settle on the surrounding rocks.

When I was a kid my grandma would buy me a Pink Panther chocolate bar every Saturday when she came back from town. She walked me to infant school every day when I was young.

She baked the best Butterfly buns in the world.

She smoked Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes and liked to put whisky in her tea. She was always there for us and we all loved her.

Ada Porch, December 5th 1910 - April 22nd 2010.

Night night Grandma.

28 comments:

Margaret said...

Yeah. You keep saying that England is not full of noble Jane Austenish people and scenarios, but then you write this so I know not to believe you.

Life 101 said...

My wife Jilda says I'm pond scum if I don't start following you. Since that's now how I like to be described, I clicked the follow button.
Rick

Jilda said...

Tony, I just sat and cried and laughed...thanks for sharing such an intimate post. Having your ashes scattered on a Moor at a waterfall, much better than being buried six feet under!
Whiskey in a cup of tea sounds like the perfect way to end the day.

bobo said...

My condolences. It was nonetheless a lovely image. Thanks fro sharing this moment with us.

Al Penwasser said...

What a beautiful story. I'm sure that your Mom and Grandmom were looking down on you.

Violet said...

i had a dream last night of scattering loved one's ashes. how strangely serene and odd that i just read this.
hmmmm

Lynette said...

Tony, thank you. Sharing a private moment. Letting us feel for just a moment that we are on the journey with you. I loved the view (well the one I imagined).

Heath said...

Sorry I wasn't with you, bit of a communication breakdown with Dad. Sounds like a nice day and they also have Auntie Mabel for company as I beileve thats where Angela scattered her.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Margaret: Shot myself in the foot there, didn't I.

Rick: Thanks mate, pond scum always welcome. I don't discriminate.

Jilda: I always found whisky in tea tastes horrible. It's alright in coffee though.

Bobo: Thanks for the condolences.

Al: Not all the time I hope.

Violet: Am I reading your mind or you reading mine?

Lynette: You're welcome. The view there is beautiful. It's covered in ash at the minute though.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Heath: I was sorry you couldn't make it, although you might have found it hard going with your knees.

Hannah {Culture Connoisseur} said...

What sweet memories of a lovely lady. It seems you all sent her off well, and though she's sorely missed, your stories keep the joy of her life alive.

Jewels said...

I am so sorry for your loss but it sounds like she led a long and full life. What a lovely tribute!

Rob Cameron said...

Wonderful post, brought a tear to my eye. Wonderful lady, many fond memories of her.

TexaGermaNadian said...

I have a feeling she would really like this :) Very nice little write up.
On a side note, I thought I had been following you all along, but nooo. Dang GFC! Glad to be back.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Hannah: Thank you for that, much appreciated.

Jewels: No need for sorrow, she wouldn't have wanted that. Well, maybe a bit.

Rob: Thanks you big jessie.

Tex: Nice to see you back.

Doug Stephens said...

Nicely told, and I liked the memories you chose to share of her.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Doug: Thank you.

Lindsay N. Currie said...

That was really touching. I love the fact that you allowed us in to some of your most precious memories.

FYI, my deceased grandmother was quite fond of draft Heineken and swore like a sailor. Funny the things we remember so fondly when they are gone.

Susan Fields said...

What a beautiful tribute. She sounds like a wonderful lady. Thanks for sharing this very heartfelt post with us.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Lindsay: I remember my grandma getting drunk at a family party once and dancing about in my leather biker jacket. Like you say, funny what we remember.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Susan: Thank you for commenting, it means a lot.

Tony Storm said...

man, i wish i could taste her Butterfly buns

Tony Van Helsing said...

Tony: Steady on, that's my grandma you are talking about. Or have I misread this?

duffboi said...

She sounds to have had a good and humble life. Sounds like a good way to remember her, and spread her ashes. Especially with loved ones.

Elle Strauss said...

So beautiful. A long life well-lived. Thanks for sharing her with us.

Colin Biano said...

It's awesome that you did that for her

hopefully my future children will do that for me, those ungrateful not-yet-born bastards

altadenahiker said...

Now that's a grandma worth knowing. Nice, nice piece. (I always wondered why you Brits were so devoted to your tea.)

Amy said...

Beautifully written, and it sounds like a beautiful way to remember someone so special!