On Boxing Day (the day after Christmas), a group of my cousins got together. An uncle – unmarried and with no children - had died a few months earlier, and we were preparing to scatter his ashes.
After we’d had a picnic and an all too brief catch-up (including the obligatory introductions to the children who had all appeared since our last meetings), we adjourned to the local cemetery to scatter some of his ashes on his parents’ grave. We then visited other family graves, and reminisced about the years when we were young and growing up together.
Some of the cousins – those who had spent more time with my uncle in recent years - went home with little cannisters of ashes.
“At first, I didn’t like the idea of dividing his ashes and giving them out to everyone,” grimaced one cousin.
“But then I thought about his life, the fact he had no children or wife, or other family. And it seemed right, because ... really ... he belonged to all of us.”