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Old July 11, 2008, 09:59 PM   #1
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What To Do With Ashes after Cremation??

My husband, my Mom, our daughter and myself have all chosen cremation over traditional burial when we die. The one thing none of us has ever decided or discussed is what is to be done with the ashes after cremation. Currently our daughter is on life support and we have arranged for cremation upon her death but she can't tell us what her choice is for disposal of her ashes and it has suddenly occurred to us that we have no idea what we want done with our ashes either. Have any of our fellow Tuggers had to face this and if so, what did you do with the ashes. Thanks for any ideas or suggestions. Linda
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Old July 11, 2008, 10:22 PM   #2
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First off I'm sorry about your daughter. Children should outlive their parents, but there are no guarantees, and again I am sorry.

I've had aunts die and they had their ashes buried in the cemetary. My sister had a friend die, and I don't know if it was the deceased's wish or if someone else decided to spread the ashes in a particular public place. My sister told me from this experience that the ashes are not always powdery. I think she said some teeth were clearly visible. I hope this doesn't offend anyone, but I think one should know about this if you decide to spread the ashes somewhere.

My feelings are that the deceased's family should make this decision. It's the living that are really effected by this decision, and unless it was a specific desire of the deceased, the family should make the decision. JMHO

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Old July 11, 2008, 10:26 PM   #3
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I am so very sorry to hear your sad news. A BIG TUG hug.

I think my cousin spread her Mom's ashes in a park. I have no idea if it legal or not.
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Old July 11, 2008, 10:45 PM   #4
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My sympathies to you and your family as you deal with this difficult time.

My husband and I have not had a serious discussion on this topic, but every year when we go to St. Maarten he somewhat jokingly reminds us that when we dies he wants his ashes spread in the water there. We have spent some wonderful times together there, so I think I would find it comforting to dispose of his ashes in this way. It would seem fitting to return him to a place we have all been so happy.

Our church has just started construction of a columbarium on its grounds designed for the purpose of storing urns. If I were unable to travel, or later feel that I would like the idea keeping the ashes, I would also find this a nice option.
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Old July 11, 2008, 10:47 PM   #5
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I too want to wish all the best to you and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

My parents have a pre-arranged funeral plan and they will be cremated. Their ashes will be kept/stored in a pre paid crypt in the cemetery mausoleum. My assumption is that their ashes will be stored in a vase and then placed in the crypt and sealed with a plaque on the front of the crypt space. It will be the place where we will be able to go to visit them and show our respect.

I have also known people who choose to keep the ashes at home as a remembrance of their loved one.

There are also agencies that assist in the spreading of ashes.

I believe you will need to check local laws regarding spreading of the ashes, but I may be wrong.

Again, all the best.
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Old July 11, 2008, 11:25 PM   #6
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Final Resting Places.

My parents' ashes were laid to rest in adjoining burial sites at a small private cemetery not far from the church where they were both active from 1949 on as long as they lived. Dad lived another 20 years after Mom passed away. Their tombstones are side by side.

After Dad died, his 2nd wife lived on another 4 years or so -- if you can call severe Alzheimer's dementia like hers "living." Her remains were buried next to her 1st husband's grave at a private cemetery in Arlington VA.

Both parents of my good old friend from high school days (who I'm still in touch with) left instructions for their ashes to be interred in a specially designated burial garden on the grounds of the church near here where they were long-time active members. A plaque inside the church lists the names of those whose ashes were placed in the garden. No separate, individual burial sites are identified.

A guy I hired away from the Navy Department kept on working in my old office for another 5 years or so after I retired before he blew out an aneurysm & dropped dead at age 55, right before he was going to retire -- never knew what hit him. His ashes are in repose at the Columbarium of Arlington Cemetery. He was a U.S. Navy veteran.

Click here for a brief account of the military honors rendered at the burial of my cousin's ashes last year.

The father-in-law of a good friend I've known since before any of us had kids was a PFC in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1939 -- a "China Marine" (not my friend, his late father-in-law). When the old guy passed away last year, his daughters arranged for burial of his ashes in the Arlington Cemetery Columbarium. Even though the deceased was just a PFC from before WW2, the Marines put on the snappiest, most solemn, most militarily precise burial ceremony anybody could ever want -- with a Navy chaplain, pall bearers, a Gunnery Sergeant, a firing squad for the final salute, a real live bugler, a triangle-folded U.S. flag, & everything. It was an extremely moving moving tribute by today's Marines to a fallen veteran from way back.

The Chief Of Staff's mother was friends with a woman her age whose grown daughter was plagued with mental health troubles that led to various periods of hospitalization. After the older women died, The Chief Of Staff "inherited" the mentally troubled woman -- in the sense of looking out for her & providing hands-on help in various ways, just as The Chief Of Staff's mom used to do after the mentally ill woman's mother died. As it happened, the mentally ill woman -- who was about our age -- got hit with some terrible massive infection & died about 5 years ago. Her financial guardian accepted The Chief Of Staff's offer to deal with & dispose of the woman's belongings, which had been tucked away in a mini-storage bin so long that the storage fees paid easily overtopped the combined value of everything that had been in the storage locker. One tarnished metal container retrieved from mini-storage turned out to hold the woman's mother's ashes. The Chief Of Staff agreed, at the guardian's request, to accept the mentally ill woman's ashes also. So there they were -- mother & daughter -- side by side in separate funerary containers till The Chief Of Staff decided on an appropriate final resting place. When nobody was looking, The Chief Of Staff spread the ashes of both women in a small tract of undeveloped parkland near here.

It's a highly personal choice, and if ideas for the most fitting final resting place are slow in coming, there certainly is no rush. By & by you'll know the right place & will be able to proceed confidently.

BTW, 2 cop shows on TV -- both from the same producers & directors, I believe -- wove disposal of ashes into prime-time episodes. On Hill Street Blues, Sgt. Phil Esterhaus died while in bed with a hot babe -- earning profound posthumous respect & admiration from the rest of the cops in the precinct. They decided Sgt. Esterhaus would have wanted his ashes spread right there on Hill Street, so 1 night very late, the captain & the lieutenants & several of the officers & detectives went out on Hill Street, surreptitiously spread the ashes, said a few appropriate words of remembrance, & went on their separate ways. The closing scene of the episode showed the street sweeper truck on its scheduled rounds unceremoniously sweeping up the remains of Sgt. Esterhaus.

On NYPD Blue 10 or 15 years later, the widow of a retired ex-cop came into the squad room with a funerary urn containing her late husband's ashes. It was his final wish to have his ashes laid to rest somewhere in the station house, she said, and she earnestly entreated Andy Sipowicz & the other cops to make that happen somehow. They all said how sorry they felt that there was no way that could be done -- against regulations & couldn't be done without somebody noticing & removing the urn, etc. Sorry. Then Andy Sipowicz had a brilliant flash. A night maintenance crew was retiling the men's room floor. Would the widow mind if her husband's ashes were laid to rest in there? Not at all, she said. So, problem solved. The closing scene showed the floor workers setting the new tiles with mortar into which the deceased cop's ashes had been blended.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.


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Old July 12, 2008, 01:53 AM   #7
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Our sympathies and prayers are with you and your family.

The clan of my in-laws are heavily into cremation, my family isn't, so it was an adjustment to get used to for me. They've done a number of things with family members' ashes over the years. Other than places in the home or at memorial parks, I would agree with Ricoba as far as checking local ordinances as far as what can be done with ashes.

All the best.

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Old July 12, 2008, 06:31 AM   #8
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My mother has my father's ashes at home. When she passes she wants them both together - preferably scattered somewhere in the mountains where they used to vacation together. She has told all of her children about this so that there is no confusion about what she wanted. My mom is one of those people who NEVER ask for anything for themselves - so none of us "kids" would think of not doing as she asks.
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Old July 12, 2008, 06:35 AM   #9
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There is no right or wrong thing to do with the ashes. In the absence of direct instruction or request from the person in question, all you can do is what you think is right. I certainly agree that it's a difficult decision and one that I am still trying to make some 3 years after my mother's death.
My father was cremated and his ashes scattered in the gardens of remembrance adjoining the local crematorium. What I can't decide is whether to scatter mum's ashes in the same place or to return them to her birth place and scatter them near her own family. That question is all the harder because she always hated the area we live in despite living there for over 40 years. Whenever she travelled back to her home area on holiday the change in her was obvious, both physically and psychologically.
I'm swayed towards her ancestral home but that would mean scattering them without my brother present and that's a difficult scenario to broach with him.
When my best friend died at the age of 43 his wife scattered his ashes at their favourite holiday spot.
I suppose it all comes down to whether the surviving family feel the need to have the ashes close to, or if the memories alone will suffice. For me it's all about the memories and I'll always have those. The ashes, once scattered, are just that - scattered.
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Old July 12, 2008, 07:49 AM   #10
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As everyone has suggested so far, there is no one best place to scatter ashes. The possibilities are endless.

In our family we scattered our dad's ashes at sea, just off the coast of San Diego, because he loved the ocean and loved to fish. When my mom died 20 years later we scattered her ashes at the same location at sea. It was beautiful both times - we threw lots of flowers in the water to mark the spot and have wonderful pictures.

I have also scattered a loved one's ashes over the graves of his parents (probably not legal but oh well).

I am so sorry for your loss. I hope that your post will encourage everyone who wants to be cremated to finish the sentence with their family that starts with "I want to be cremated and my ashes......".

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Old July 12, 2008, 08:17 AM   #11
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I don't have any suggestions for you but wanted to add my sympathies.

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Old July 12, 2008, 08:26 AM   #12
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My deepest sympathies for your daughter's failing health and anticipated death. The choices you must make now for her may not be easy, or without potential for family conflict, but I wish you peace in doing what you believe she would want.

In addition to all of the great suggestions regardng scattering the ashes, I wanted to let you know that there are very nice trinkets used for storing ashes of loved ones. I'm sorry for the word "trinket" but I really don't know what other word to use.

The storage options include not only the traditional urns, but also pieces of jewelry, picture frames (small like table top sized . . . to large wall sized), and other very pretty things like vases or other similar decorative home assessories.

One thing that my husband and I have discussed is a process done through creamation called "Life Gems" that results in a "gem" similar to a diamond. It uses the carbon in the human body to create the stone. I think if you GOOGLE life gem you'll hopefully find out more.

God bless you as your family prepares to lose your daughter. You are in my prayers.
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Old July 12, 2008, 08:29 AM   #13
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Sorry to hear the circumstances

Quote:
Originally Posted by KCI View Post
My husband, my Mom, our daughter and myself have all chosen cremation over traditional burial when we die. The one thing none of us has ever decided or discussed is what is to be done with the ashes after cremation. Currently our daughter is on life support and we have arranged for cremation upon her death but she can't tell us what her choice is for disposal of her ashes and it has suddenly occurred to us that we have no idea what we want done with our ashes either. Have any of our fellow Tuggers had to face this and if so, what did you do with the ashes. Thanks for any ideas or suggestions. Linda
Again, nobody should have to deal with a child not outliving the parents. In our family my dad was in the Coast Guard and wanted his ashes scattered over the ocean which we did through the Neptune Society.
My mother n law was afraid of cremation and is buried locally and when my father n law passed away his creamated remains were put in an urn and buried on top of the mother n law's casket.
We also know some people that wear a small amount of the ashes in a charm so they can always have their loved ones with them.
My own opionion is do what feels right to you and yours. Your situation is rough enough that giving it the thought now will ease the burden when it happens.
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Old July 12, 2008, 09:33 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Timeshare Von View Post
In addition to all of the great suggestions regardng scattering the ashes, I wanted to let you know that there are very nice trinkets used for storing ashes of loved ones. I'm sorry for the word "trinket" but I really don't know what other word to use.
For Dad's ashes, I bought a handsome treasure-chest style box at T.J. Maxx or some such for $14.99.

T.J. Maxx I'm sure had no thought that customers would use that item for funerary purposes, but I'm also sure that the customers' purposes are mox nix to T.J. Maxx.

The closest equivalent available from the funeral director would have cost 10 times that but would not have been 10 times more fitting, more appropriate, or more suitable -- nor would it have been 10 times more "respectful" to the departed. So it goes.

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Old July 12, 2008, 09:47 AM   #15
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KCI, my heart goes out to you at this difficult time. You will be in my prayers.
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Old July 12, 2008, 09:48 AM   #16
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Our heartfelt thoughts are with you during this very difficult time.
My mom died in 1999 and was cremated per her wishes. We kept her ashes in a beautiful cherrywood box. Her wishes were to have her ashes mixed with my dad's when he passed away, and then buried together after we put a few mixed ashes in a garden, in Fl. where they had retired and where they loved. My dad died in 2007 and we did just that. Their ashes were mixed, spread alittle in Fl. and then sealed and returned to Michigan to the old family cemetery.

Our twin granddaughter died before her birth (her sister survived) and Abby's parents wanted her ashes to be kept in a beautiful little Lenox box with an angel figurine on the top of it. The funeral home did just that and then it was sealed. They have choosen to keep her in a special place in their home.
Whatever decision you make, it will be the right one for your family. May God give you comfort during this heartbreaking time.
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Old July 12, 2008, 10:03 AM   #17
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KCI , My heart goes out to you as a mother.

My husband's family believes in cremation where my family is more traditional.

When my husband's Dad died quite suddenly the kids who lived all over the US including Africa scattered ashes where they lived or someplace they visited with their father. Each of the children received a small enamel decorative container with some of the ashes.

My BIL who lives in Africa scattered some of the ashes in the Nile river. It seemed fitting and comforting since his Dad visited him in Africa a few years before.

My MIL buried the urn with the remainder of the ashes in a cemetary near her church in Florida where he moved to a year earlier. Later her mother and my BIL who died in his 30's were cremated and buried along side my FIL.

My SIL planted a memorial tree in the yard of the house and town her father loved and then scattered some ashes in the soil around the tree.

When my nephew died at birth his parents intended to bury his ashes on Martha's Vineyard where they also planted a memorial tree. Even though we attended the service I don't think that my SIL ever buried the box. I understand as a mother. I also would find a special place in my home.

I know it was a great comfort for a co worker to have her mother's funeral flowers made into bracelets and she has extras made for her niece. I had never heard of this before. She brought one in to show me. She read about it online. Depending on one's faith you can have flower petals made into a rosary. I am sorry to say I do not recall the website but it was someplace in New England.

We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Whatever you decide will be the right thing. Each of us has to honor our loved ones in our own way.
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Old July 12, 2008, 10:04 AM   #18
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My deepest sympathies are with you.

Both of my parents were cremated and we picked out containers at the funeral home. I have both of my parents, Dad is in a wooden box(he was in the forest products industry for over 50 yrs.) and Mom is in a china vase.

They sit in my china cabinet.
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Old July 12, 2008, 10:39 AM   #19
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I am so sorry to read of your difficult decision.

My closest friend was cremated 6 years ago.
Her DH and DS buried part of the ashes in a cemetary that had a separate section for 'cremains'. Friends and other loved ones are able to periodically visit this way.
Part of her remained at home for DS to keep and part were brought to Israel to be scattered at a place she loved .
I guess there are as many options as there are people to think of them, and sometimes multiple options for one person as shown here.

I will keep you in my thoughts during this difficult time.
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Old July 12, 2008, 11:45 AM   #20
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KCI- My deepest sympathies to you and your family. I can not even imagine what you must be going through right now.

As far as the ashes go. My in-laws are also big on cremation. We lost two family members last year and they were cremated. My husband is the executor for his brother. Like someone said earlier you don't have to use the containers that they sell you at the funeral home. They can be VERY expensive. My brother-in-law lived on his boat and was very much a sea man so I went out and found a nice ceramic container that had nautical decor on it and we had the home put half of his ashes in a "free" container for spreading in the sea and the other half was sealed in the container I purchased (the funeral home will do this for you) and given to his niece. He had never married or had children his niece was as close to him as any daughter could be.
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Old July 12, 2008, 11:49 AM   #21
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My prayers are with you.

I have asked to be cremated, but my wife prefers a traditional burial. Because of the difference in our ages, I am most likely to go first. She would like to keep the ashes in a suitable container and have it buried with her. I like the sound of that. ... Ray
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Old July 12, 2008, 12:12 PM   #22
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Linda,
Sorry to hear about the difficult times you and your husband are having.

Awhile ago I thought I'd need an urn (but didn't) so I started Googling. I found this place, which not only has more types of urns than I ever imagined, but also has pages and pages of memorial jewelry which can hold part of the ashes.

One thing that intrigued me, but would be more for a parent's death than a child's is that you can purchase a set of small matching urns so that several people can share in having a part of the ashes.

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Old July 12, 2008, 01:55 PM   #23
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My advice would be to think about where your daughter has always seemed the happiest. That will give you your answer, whether is a small bit of her ashes or the whole box, will depend on the location.
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Old July 12, 2008, 02:01 PM   #24
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Advance Instructions.

I have told The Chief Of Staff that when I assume room temperature, she can load me into the minivan, drop me off at the funeral parlor, & tell'm she wants "the usual."

As for what happens after that, it will be a matter of major serious indifference to me when it actually occurs. But I can't help thinking 1 of those Arlington Cemetery Columbarium military ceremonies would be about the best my survivors could expect.

Here's hoping that event is still a few decades off in the future.

With all the funerals of relatives & friends we've arranged through those folks in recent years, the staff has reached the point where they greet me by name any time I show up.

Shux, Cheers was supposed to be the place where everybody knows your name.

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Old July 12, 2008, 02:06 PM   #25
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My own opinion is do what feels right to you and yours. Your situation is rough enough that giving it the thought now will ease the burden when it happens.
I think this is very good advice. One good thing about cremation is that you really don't have to decide immediately about what to do with the ashes of your loved one. The ashes of my husband's father and mother are in boxes in our garage. My husband and his brother really couldn't decide where to scatter the ashes so some time in the future they can make that decision when it feels right.
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