After a cremation the decision about the scattering of ashes can sometimes be quite difficult, but there is no hurry. Below are some traditional and some more creative ideas.
Where to scatter the ashes is a dilemma which is often overlooked at first. There is the shock of the death, then the funeral planning and service to survive. All is done in a mist of shocked disbelief. It’s an unreal experience as if you’re detached from yourself and looking on as a bystander.
Then, a couple of days after the service you receive a phone call to say that your beloved's ashes are ready to be collected. This happens at a time when you are still expecting your loved one to walk in the door and you can’t really come to terms that they’re not there.
In my case, half an hour after the phone call there was a knock at the door and our undertaker had 'kindly' brought the casket round to the house. Luckily my son had arrived a few minutes beforehand as I found this experience one of the most disturbing of all of the pathways of grief we have to manoeuvre.
To be handed what looks like a tin safety box and know that your
vibrant, hard-working loved one is reduced to a few ashes, which you are
now holding, is surreal, totally unbelievable. The undertaker lady left
almost immediately and my son and I stared at each other unable to
We had a hug and a weep, then I said he’d want to be in his precious workshop on the shelf by his lathe. That is where he stayed until I moved house.
One friend was horrified that I still have my husband’s casket at home several years on, especially as a friend of hers had had a relative’s casket stolen in a robbery. My husband had a great sense of humour. He would find it very funny that his ashes might be pinched.
But it is a serious responsibility and a duty that gives families much thought. What would the loved one have wanted? Many people leave instructions as to where they would like their ashes to be scattered.
We have so few family members that to me it wouldn’t be right for my loved one to be in that sort of place, but for many it is the most appropriate.
Whatever you choose, you do not have to rush this decision. It is not uncommon to find urns of ashes years after death at the back of Aunty’s wardrobe or even ashes still in a vase on the mantelpiece. Scattering of ashes can be a final act of acceptance along these long pathways of grief. It is letting go of the final contact with the loved one.
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