It's an old tree in their garden. This is my step-aunt and I last October, about to scatter my step-mother's ashes as she had asked in her will. My step-aunt is holding the box of ashes. The house was rented and now I would have to ask the owner's permission to enter the garden and stand in this place.
My mother and her husband too are scattered in their garden at their home. That house will be sold one day.
There are no graves.
As all of Japan this weekend goes to visit the grave or temple or memorial hall I was thinking about all of this.
And I realized that in England we really don't have the culture of endless grave visiting.
75% of people in the Uk are cremated.
Ashes are interred/buried in a church graveyard, a city graveyard or the crematorium garden.
60% of the ashes are taken away by the family and privately scattered in a garden, forest, sea or river.
My grandparents were all cremated and I think (!!!) their ashes were scattered in the cemetary or crematorium gardens of remembrance.
But - and this is strange - I don't remember my father or mother EVER going to visit there with flowers or anything. Never. My grandparents died, there was a funeral and cremation and a scattering. And that was it.
Of course they stay in our hearts and memories. But there are no graves to visit.
Crematorium have different kinds of Memorials - from flower bulbs and garden benches to Books of Remembrance and stone plaques. But I think my family had nothing...scattering and flowers maybe.
As I look at the lines of cars in Minami-Hiragishi this week of people going to visit the graves I was thinking about all of this.
When I die I would like my ashes scattered in the garden too - if I have a garden at the time of my death - or in a river near my Dad's house.