It took a bit of time and effort researching how to go about it all . As I approached a number of organizations to see what could be done, I felt repeatedly dejected to find that our idea was just not looking like it would ever happen.
The National Trust were unable to offer any memorial benches or tree planting (although they do allow you to make a donation and record it in a book). However I read on another blog that they do allow scattering of ashes as long as you abide by a few guide lines and do it discreetly and respect other individuals.
Another organization called The Lake District National Park have a number of projects that you can donate money or time to (such as a gate, sign or helping build a trail etc). They also allow a small plaque with a name, birth and death date. Unfortunately for us though, none of the projects were in an area that had any sentimental connection or memories that we associated with Heni on our previous trips.
The Forestry Commission didn't allow memorial benches or tree planting either... and so my investigations came to an abrupt end. I was advised, during the many telephone conversations I had, that we should see if anything could be done on private land.
You may remember that last year on our Lakes trip we stayed at a wonderful place called the Cedars. It was one of Heni's last holidays... and her very last trip to Cumbria. We decided we would love to book the property again for this years trip. It is set in the grounds of Pullwood Bay estate just behind the large Manor house which is now converted into holiday apartments. The manager of the house very kindly approached the Pullwood Bay estate team on our behalf and as a result we were given permission to place Heni's bench on the grounds in front of the beautiful big house on the side of lake Windermere. The team were all amazingly understanding and helpful to work with on the run up to our trip.
The spot we eventually decided on was in front of a small beach area by the side of a lovely little jetty. The jetty already has another memorial bench on it ...
...but the area just a little further back is perfectly centred to the beach and framed by trees. It looks out to a small island full of ducks, swans and other birds. As you look further across the lake you can see the hills at the other side, just above Windermere town. If you look up the lake you can see Ambleside nestled amid the hills above it.
It really is just the perfect spot.
We ordered a lovely chunky bench from Sustainable furniture on line and we had it delivered to our home with the intention of taking it up with us in the Landy. Landy however, decided not to play ball and broke down a week before we were supposed to travel! It couldn't be fixed in time for the journey and we ended up having to hire a white van at the last minute to transport it up.
We deliberated for quite some time over what to put on the Plaque but we all loved this one below.
It puts in to words how strong our beautiful daughter was. She had so many reasons to give in and be unhappy but despite all of her difficulties she made it look easy as she smiled and carried her trials with grace and beauty.
On the day we had arranged to put the bench in situ we woke up to stunning blue sky... a real treat for us as we normally get rain and wind in the lakes at this time of year. It made me think that perhaps Heni must have been in charge of the weather department that day... helping us feel that she was mindful of us all! We were blessed to be able to go down to the waters edge, put our blankets down and enjoy the sun as we admired the company of the local swans and listened to conference in the back ground....
One of the talks we listened to resonated with me a great deal. It was a timely reminder of Gods plan for all of us....that birth and death are just milestones on our journey to eternal life back with Him. An apt message in light of our purpose that day and for us all on the run up to Easter!
"Because of God’s holy plan, we know that birth and death are actually just milestones on our journey to eternal life with our Heavenly Father".
We all took it in turns to plant the Tête á Tête daffodils on each side of the bench in pretty little circles.
I even managed to find a gorgeous heart shaped trowel (you probably know my love of all things heart shaped by now!)....in a local garden centre in Ambleside to dig the holes.
When the planting and setting of the bench was complete we all took a bunch of photos on and around it (with Heni's friend Rapunzel!) for the family album.... and then later that afternoon we walked in one of our favourite spots.... each scattering a small amount of Heni's ashes along the way.
It was a week of mixed emotions and I sure miss my sweet precious daughter... but we are SO grateful to have this place to return to each year (I'm sure it will be more often than that now!) Every day we were in the Lakes I loved to walk down to the bench and just sit, look out over the view and think of all that Heni has brought into my life and remember her beautiful smile. Now that I am back home again I still revisit the bench every day in my minds eye. I can see the stunning scenery and the peace and calm it instills. If there is one thing for certain, it is that the beauty of this view needed to be and thankfully IS so apt, appropriate and fitting for such an amazingly beautiful person as Heni!
I don't really need a bench to sit on and remember my daughter each day but as I recall her there is one thing that makes it bearable for me to be without her....and that is to sit and remember the one who made it possible for me to see her again one day.I hope that this Easter as you celebrate you will look beyond the Easter eggs, fluffy bunny rabbits and baby lambs and also take time to remember "The Good Shepherd" who sacrificed himself for his sheep John 10:11 ...even the one who called himself the "Resurrection and the life"... the one who if we believe in him, will make it possible for all of us to eventually see our loved ones again.
You can scroll below if you would like to see a bunch more pictures from the mornings activities.
|Sighting the bench in the perfect spot|