‘I’m finally feeling her death now’: Ashes of Salt Spring Island woman finally returned to family

'I'm finally feeling her death now': Ashes of Salt Spring Island woman finally returned to family
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After almost two years fighting with his late mother's lawyer to release her remains, her son was able to bring her ashes home.

When CHEK News first spoke to John Malcolm in February, he was in an emotional fight to get his mother’s ashes back from her lawyer so he could honour her final wishes.

Today, after a year-and-a-half battle, Malcolm was able to pick them up.

“I’m finally feeling her death now. I haven’t felt it for almost two years. And now, it’s real, it’s real,” said Malcolm

Phyllis Malcolm died in January 2020 at nearly 100 years old.

Her lawyer and executor of her estate, Tino di Bella, kept her ashes in a vault in his office ever since, telling CHEK News at the time that he hoped for COVID-19 restrictions to end so the Malcolm family could gather to honour her final wishes.

“That was her only wish to be buried with my dad and to not allow that? I’m lost for words,” said Malcolm.

“I just find that diabolical, inhumane. I would never do this to my worst enemy. I just don’t understand why somebody would do this.”

READ MORE: ‘She wanted to be buried with my dad’: Son pleads for mom’s ashes to be returned

After numerous complaints to the Law Society of BC, which resulted in a citation against him, Di Bella’s office is now closed and his files, including Phyllis Malcolm’s ashes, have been taken into custodianship.

“When we learned of that, we took steps to retrieve the remains, to be able to provide them back to the family,” said Jason Kuzminski, communications director of the Law Society.

Prior to that, Malcolm says the action was slow.

“You can’t allow people to hurt like this. It’s wrong,” said Malcolm. “I do feel like without public opinion, I wouldn’t be here. I’d still be fighting that guy.”

Depending on the Law Society’s investigation, di Bella could return to practice.

But today Malcolm, finally, after a year-and-a-half battle, was allowed to hold his mom.

“Her only wish was to buried with my dad, and that’s what I’m going to carry out,” said Malcolm.

Malcolm plans to keep his Mom close by until a small burial next week. A larger celebration of life is being planned for next spring.

There’s no word on how long Tino Di Bella’s suspension will last.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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