"I'll Eat Mom For Christmas": Grieving Daughter Plans To Season Turkey With Dead Mother's Ashes
FOLKESTONE, KENT, UK — A grieving woman plans to pay tribute to her late mother — by seasoning her Christmas meal with her ashes, and then eating them.
Debra Parsons, 41, will sprinkle the cremains of her mother, Doreen Brown, on the turkey and dessert. “We will have a place laid for her and a picture of her on the table so she can be with us on the very special day,” Parsons says.
The mother-of-two from Kent was left distraught when her mother died in May. She told The Mirror that consuming the ashes is "the only thing that will get me through my first Christmas without mum." She said, "My mum and I had a really strong bond and one which could never be broken, even by death."
Parsons says that the holiday period is especially hard for her, since December 28 is also the anniversary of the date her son was born prematurely, and passed away, in 1996.
After her mother's death, Parsons' sisters brought her her portion of her mother's ashes in a plastic sandwich bag. She explained that, although she had transferred them into a display box, she felt an overwhelming urge to eat them one day.
"I opened the box and licked my fingers and just dipped them into the powder. Before I knew what I was doing, they were in my mouth and the chalky, salty taste was comforting," Parsons said. Since then, she said she has been tasting the ashes a bit at a time — either on her finger or a spoon.
Parsons' fiancé, who wants to remain anonymous, has supported her through her grief and they plan to marry next year. She says that her other loved ones also support her method of coping with her grief. "I know my mum would have been happy for me to do whatever I needed to get over no longer having her in my life," she says. “I feel like she can live on by being inside of me, because if she is part of me she can breathe through my body. My breath is her breath."
Parsons has not revealed if she ever considered seeking out medical help for her compulsions — but she is not the first person to experience these types of cravings. In 2011, the show My Strange Addiction told the story of a woman who was addicted to eating her dead husband's ashes.
The desire to compulsively eat chalk, baby powder, or cigarette ashes is called pica — and, according to a 2011 study, hospitalizations for this sparsely known disorder rose 93 percent between 1999 and 2009. Experts believe that there may be many more sufferers due to the fact that many of the cases go unreported.
The cases vary widely, but stresses including emotional trauma, maternal deprivation, family issues, parental neglect, pregnancy, and a disorganized family structure are strongly linked to seeking out pica as a form of comfort.