Sunday, March 21, 2010

Aldershot - Colin John Drury

Today was a strange day for me. I jumped on the train for an hour south west of London to Aldershot, where I lived for the first three years of my life. I have absolutely no memory of this time so it was nice to have a look around. But the real reason for my visit was that I have a brother buried there and I have never seen the grave.

Colin John Drury was born on 11th August 1966 and he died 16 days later. Mum worked very hard to have this beautiful stone made for him. The line at the bottom says "One more angel".

I had no idea how I was going to feel meeting the brother I could have had. As is appropriate for this type of adventure, it was a grey drizzly day. I walked to where mum had shown me the grave would be on Google maps and looked up and down for the grave. This section of the cemetery is for children and is very peaceful away from the big cemetery. I walked up and down and could not find the grave. I decided to be logical. I saw that the graves were in year order so I went to 1966 and I finally found it. It was so dirty it was hard to read the words.

Now I had promised my mum I would clean the grave. I stood there and thought, 'I haven't brought anything with me to clean it!' I improvised by scraping off the dirt and mud with sticks and found a cloth in my bag. I was planning on picking some daffodils for the grave on my way, however they are only just blooming - hence this solitary bloom.

Okay, grave all tidied up, it was time to surprise mum. I had lugged my computer all the way out to the grave. I juggled an umbrella and the laptop to keep it dry from the drizzle and skyped my mum. She wasn't expecting that. Mum was sitting in her house in Australia and I was standing with Colin in Aldershot. It was a very touching moment. I don't think mum has been back to the grave since she left England 39 years ago.

I found it extraordinarily hard to leave the grave site. I stayed there about two hours cleaning it up and taking photos and skyping with mum. I couldn't imagine how very sad that day, 43 years ago must have been.

(PS... I found a local pub to have lunch in and as I sat there eating someone chose a song on the jukebox - "Plain Jane". How bizarre!! It was surreal. I had never heard the song before and there I was, the original plain Jane, and that song comes on!)


  1. Thanks for sharing this powerful moment. Beautiful pictures!

  2. That must have been a truly touching day. Huggies

  3. Wow! What a special time. "Plain Jane" ... yeah right? Nothing plain about you. Loved the photos and story.

  4. These places are so special. When Amy and I were in Londonderry I found my grandmothers's grave- and stood there thinking of her life and how she too had lost a son so early on. She died when my father was only six years old but I cried still- for her and for my father and the life that he had left for the new beginnings in a now world. He would have been so pleased to hear of that connection rekindles after so long neglected.