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Tré Miller Rodriguez, in the online article, "The 9 Things No One Tells You about Scattering Ashes", opens the conversation with the question, "What sort of ritual could be had if your husband died in the bed you shared and his ashes reside in your apartment?" She goes on to write, "The ritual found me a few months later. My suitcase was open, and I was attempting to pack for the annual Fourth of July trip we had always taken to Lake Winnipesaukee. A favorite cousin was accompanying me, but I felt overwhelmed about visiting Alberto’s 'happy place' without him. It could have been the close proximity of my suitcase to his urn or the six-pack my cousin and I had consumed, but I suddenly realized I could take Alberto with me."
For families who have chosen cremation for a loved one, the next decision involves what to do with the remains. Some choose to keep the cremated remains in their home, have them placed in a columbarium niche at a local cemetery, or scatter the ashes in a meaningful place.
In order to plan a ceremony for scattering ashes, it is important to understand what is involved. For many families the loss of a loved one leaves a void that cannot possibly be filled. However, through memorials like scattering ashes ceremonies and memorial services, healing can begin. When planning these families must first look into their options for cremation prices, cremation urns and most importantly research the local guidelines for conducting such ceremonies.
A casting ceremony, where the ashes are tossed into the wind, or sprinkled on the surface of a lake, river, or into the sea (either from the shore, or while on the deck of a boat), is perhaps the most common image we have when thinking about ash scattering events. Ms. Rodriguez suggests, "If you’re releasing ash into a body of water, buy or pick fresh flowers to release in tandem. This enables you to visually follow the ash flow and makes the ceremony slightly less melancholy. De-stem the flowers in advance and place them in a sealable bag with a wet paper towel." Here's another tip from our cremation professionals: before attempting to cast the cremated remains, check the direction of the wind, and cast downwind to avoid having the ashes come back to cover the hair and clothing of guests. Basically, no matter the size of the gathering, an ash scattering event can be anything you want it to be. However, it may help you in the planning of the event to know the five types of scattering ceremonies.
Cremation provides families with more time to arrange where and how to scatter the ashes. While there is no policing agency overseeing scattering, there are some basics you should know:
Knowing the right location in which to scatter ashes is a very important part of planning a scattering ceremony. After all, you really can't scatter the ashes just anywhere. Unless you're going to scatter the ashes on your own land, you'll need to ask permission of the county or city in which you live, or if you're hoping to hold your ash scattering ceremony on private land, the landowner needs to be consulted.
If you've got questions about any part of what you've read here; or would like additional information about what to do when scattering ashes, we invite you to call us at (516) 223-3516. We will be honored to assist you in any way we can.
Online Sources: Rodriguez, Tré Miller, "The 9 Things No One Tells You about Scattering Ashes", Modern Loss, May 22, 2014, accessed October, 2014