Flying from Durban to Cape Town with Laura’s ashes. I had decided to free her ashes into the sea in Hout Bay, the little village where she had lived with us for four months in 2012/2013. Shortly before leaving for Cape Town I had put some of her ashes into a small bottle and placed it on the floor of one of my bedroom cupboards next to another small bottle which held some of my late husband’s ashes. It is hard to say goodbye.
Initially I thought that her ashes should be scattered in the sea in Dubai, because Dubai was the country she loved and didn’t want to leave. Then I decided that she should be set free in South Africa, where her family and I lived. There was a suggestion that her ashes be placed at West Park Cemetery in Johannesburg, a suggestion which I rejected immediately. Firstly she hadn’t lived in Johannesburg for many years and secondly, I didn’t want what was left of her to be imprisoned in a little box in a place which no one would visit.
The next thought was to release her ashes in the gardens of the security estate where I was living on the North Coast of Kwazulu Natal but my intention was to sell my apartment and move to Cape Town. Bringing her ashes to Cape Town was the right decision.
I packed the round silver canister with Laura’s remains along with her plainest black abaya, the one I called her house abaya, her hanging prayer mat and the set of prayer beads she used to photograph with the prayer mat. Around my neck I wore her Shiva/Shakti pendant on one of my gold chains as I still hadn’t found a chord to replace the one which hadn’t been in her luggage.
Laura’s ‘hidden luggage’. It is still a huge bone of contention and I will never forgive the Dubai government for trying to ensure that I would never find it. Totally heartless. I know the contents of the luggage can never replace Laura but it gives me some comfort, seeing and being able to touch items which she touched, especially her favourites like her Shiva/Shakti pendant, her prayer beads and mats, her Tibetan singing bowl, and many other things. Most of her items of clothing I’m slowly giving away, apart from her five abayas.
Tomorrow it will be 1 March. In 2015 it was a leap year and on 29 February, after a small memorial service on the beach, we boarded a National Sea Rescue Institute boat, and close to Chapmans’ Peak Drive we gently set her free. It was terrible. Terrible to say goodbye to my daughter. Even though she had died on 16 November 2014 and left her body, the finality of watching her ashes disappear into the waves was hard.
That was the first time I said goodbye to Laura but it wasn’t the final goodbye. I don’t think I can ever really say goodbye to her. I’ve tried. It’s taken six years to accept her tragic death and find some way to be able to live again. That is what suicide does. It doesn’t just kill the person who wants to end their life, it also kills the people left behind.
“I wrote your name in the sand,
but the waves washed it away.
I wrote your name in the sky,
but the wind blew it away.
So I wrote your name in my heart,
and that’s where it will stay, always”
Laura’s ‘baby’ brother now wears Laura’s pendant around his neck, hanging on a long black chord the way she wore it.
A collage which Laura made. She had such beautiful eyes.
A music video she shared on 29 February 2012…of course for Mubarak.
In love, in life, in death…