Ashes to Ashes

Now here's a topic not many people want to talk about. But, of course I do. The importance of communicating whether you want to be buried or cremated is first and foremost. This is not a decision that can be reversed.

I read recently about how urns full of ashes are stacked up in the closets of funeral homes uncollected. Here are some thoughts as to why that may happen.

  • The family can't agree upon what to do with the ashes
  • The family can't agree as to where the ashes should be buried, if buried at all
  • The ground is too frozen to do anything until spring thaw
  • It is difficult to imagine your loved one  now in an urn
  • The urn was forgotten about

Nonnie wanted to be cremated and had communicated her wishes to Boo. She had also mentioned that to me at some point though I can't remember how the topic arose. Probably when her 89 year old mother died just a few years before.

Boo presented my brother Todd and me with what I fondly referred to as "bag of Mom"- a small bag of ashes to sprinkle wherever we chose to honor Mom.  "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust".  You may be thinking that that is not really appropriate, but Nonnie would have appreciated the sense of humor. She would have laughed at this too!

It says:

" I've secretly arranged to have my ashes carelessly spilled on and stubbornly ground into my children's carpets"

I saw a movie where the Dad dies, is cremated, and his son travels all over the country having a conversation with the urn that is seatbelted and strapped into the front passenger seat of his car. He carefully and methodically spreads his father's ashes out the window as he honored him.

Todd told me he spread Mom's ashes in the surf at "Fence Beach" in Nantucket;  Mom's favorite beach. I chose to spread Nonnie all over the island, in all the special places she loved, saying a final goodbye while shaking and emptying the "bag of Mom" off the bow of the steamship as it approached the end of the jetties that protects the harbor and headed out to the open sea.

So this is another thing to think about and then commmunicate to your parents, spouse, and/or children.

Where would you want your ashes to go? Who would you want to have some of your ashes? This can be very meaningful to those left behind.