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Home » What to do with my late parent’s ashes?

What to do with my late parent’s ashes?

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I’m off on holiday to Morocco later this year. We’ve rented a large coastal villa with the family for a week and then the recently retired Mrs B and I will enjoy a few more days together in a rather splendid Riad in Marrakech. This is the place that all the hippies used to go to back in the nineteen sixties and some of them never returned it seems.

Now here’s the potential problem. My sister has asked whether she should bring a jar containing my share of the ashes of my late parents. I’m not too sure that leaving Morocco and flying back into SA with a jar of ashes isn’t going to excite the customs people. They are going to assume that I am bringing back drugs and they are certainly not going to believe me when I tell them that I am carrying the ashes of my dead parents. So, we are going to have to make a plan.

Fortunately, both my parents had a keen sense of the ridiculous and would appreciate this dilemma. When my father pre-deceased my mother she took delivery of a very handsome urn containing his ashes and put it on the window sill of the living room. Then she decided that it was too morbid having an urn containing the incinerated remains of her husband of 54 years staring at her while she was watching her favourite TV programme and she moved “Dad” to a spare bedroom. When Mum died last year she was also cremated according to her wishes and it was decided to put the ashes with my father’s ashes and make a sort of crematorium cocktail. This has now been split into three for all the children and they have already been sprinkled on my brother’s rose garden in Scotland. My sister is going to sprinkle her share around the grave of my maternal grandfather which leaves me to come up with something innovative. Both my parents were keen and regular visitors to South Africa and I don’t think they’d object at all to being emptied into a strong Cape Town south easter or scattered from the top of the Amphitheatre in the Drakensberg. At a pinch, they would even have been quite happy to be gently drizzled out of the side of a game viewing vehicle in the Kruger Park.

But now I have to get them back here. We’ve already agreed that the jar has to go and they have to be decanted into a jiffy bag with a sealable top. I don’t want to put them in my main luggage because that seems a bit disrespectful and they might get nicked. So I am going to have to carry them in my hand baggage where they can enjoy a bit of business class luxury. That means I am going to have to shuffle along the security line at the airport with my toothpaste, deodorant, floss, shaving kit and other toiletries for the flight in one see through bag and my parent’s ashes in the other see through bag. Maybe there’s a law against this of which I am unaware. Are you allowed to bring ash into South Africa? But what I am really worried about is that I will get up at 3 in the morning on the flight for a visit to the bathroom and take the wrong see through bag. In my dazed state I will accidentally flush both my parents down the toilet of an aircraft at 32000 feet. And I’m not sure even their keen sense of the ridiculous would appreciate that.


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