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Farrar

Scattering remains

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Without getting too specific... let's say someone specified specific places they'd like their remains scattered. If you scatter in those specific places, what do you think the... personal ethics are on scattering in additional places of your own choice? Does the fact that there are enough ashes to easily do that make a difference? Does the relationship with the deceased make a difference? As in, if it was a spouse whose wishes you had really discussed vs. a more distant relative?

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The deceased, by definition, aren't around to care anymore. So long as you're not scattering them somewhere illegal (check local laws) or deliberately offensive, I think you're ethically in the clear to add to their list provided you're already the person designated to handled this matter.

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Scattering of ashes is a weird thing to me.  

When I read your title I thought about Disney World.  There are a very large number of people who request that their ashes be scattered at Disney, and more specifically, at the Haunted Mansion.  But um....................Disney just vacuums them up.

So, where does that leave the deceased?  I don't know, aside from a vacuum bag full of ashes in a Disney dumpster, which is I am sure not what the deceased had in mind.

When my FIL passed, the only wish he seemed to have (written out in a document that he only signed "dad" which doesnt' make it a legal will...seriously, make your will legal people!) was for him to be creamated and for his ashes and his wife's ashes to be combined (MIL passed like 7 yrs prior.)  Ok, so...............then what.  

SIL has them in a box on her dresser. 

 

So I guess my answer is that it's hard to think about and can be full of werid things.  I don't know that there is just "one" answer.  I think what works for your family....works.

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Yeah, I should have said up front... no one on any side of this discussion is considering scattering anywhere that would be illegal or, let's just say, unusual. The deceased did not request anywhere unusual and the people who feel that more should be scattered elsewhere are not suggesting anywhere unusual or where it would be illegal to scatter.

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2 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Yeah, I should have said up front... no one on any side of this discussion is considering scattering anywhere that would be illegal or, let's just say, unusual. The deceased did not request anywhere unusual and the people who feel that more should be scattered elsewhere are not suggesting anywhere unusual or where it would be illegal to scatter.

So, in that case, really..................call me crude but...........there are enought ashes to go around.

So, scatter some where the deceased wants.  Then, scatter whereever others want.  I am presuming others want the ashes scattered in areas that are important to the deceased.  And there are plenty of these sorts of areas to consider.....a first spouse's grave (which might be the other parent of the kids....original plots purchased etc.)  Or perhaps a military situation where the vet wants ashes scattered in a place of their military significance.  

I think that, scattering in various areas is not necessarily a bad thing.

 

The only exception to me would be scattering in an area the deceased was very opposed to.  So, in a probably unrealistic example is if the deceased is a very firm vegan and a child of the deceased wants the ashes scattered across their beef farm....probably offensive. 

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The Disney thing is fascinating to me. I mean, it sort of cracks me up that so many people are apparently into that. I'm not that grossed out by it, though I get that some people are.

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13 minutes ago, katilac said:

It seems a bit rude, lol. 

Scattering somewhere the deceased didn't request? Yeah, that's basically the crux of the two sides here.

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2 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Scattering somewhere the deceased didn't request? Yeah, that's basically the crux of the two sides here.

I think there's a difference between scattering where the deceased didn't request vs in places the deceased would actually object to.

 

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I wouldn't have any qualms about scattering ashes in a place not designated by the deceased unless (as has been said) the deceased had stated they did not want them scattered there. I don't see any problem with scattering in multiple places. 

My parents didn't give any instructions for their ashes. I finally found a place that took remains and scattered them over Niagara Falls.  At least, they said they did and that's what my siblings and I paid for. But honestly?  Since I just mailed the ashes to the place, they could have tossed them in a dumpster and sent me a fake picture of the scattering.  (My parents had been born and lived over half their lives near Niagara so it seemed appropriate.)

I don't believe that it matters to the deceased. I mean, I think people's wishes should be respected, but if they asked for something that turned out to be illegal or impossible, I would do the best I could to come as close as possible to their request, but I wouldn't do anything illegal or go to an expense that would hurt my living family.  (Like, traveling to a specific place that was far and expensive to get to, and would be a financial burden.) 

Edited by marbel
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I think it is ok, especially if you have a specific reason.  My aunt's ashes were separated into jars for people to take home AND put in an urn to be buried.  I don't have any of the ashes, but I wish I had gotten some now.  I think she would have been ok with it.

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Huh. It just made me feel profoundly uncomfortable when it was brought up. I was like, but the deceased wanted this. Shouldn't we not go above and beyond that? I don't think the world will end if it's done. The deceased isn't here to care. It just makes me feel wrong.

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48 minutes ago, Farrar said:

The Disney thing is fascinating to me. I mean, it sort of cracks me up that so many people are apparently into that. I'm not that grossed out by it, though I get that some people are.

I don't really get it either!?  Like there isn't all that much green space at Disney.   Maybe if you snuck in a tablespoon of ashes into a bush or something.  

My dad's ashes were spread at a park near a river.  He requested that though it wasn't in writing.  He died very suddenly.  But I think he would have been fine had we wanted to distribute some differently.

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My very proper Quaker grandmother requested her ashes to be scattered in the Brandywine River in Pennsylvania rather than placed under her stone at the Meeting nearby.  We all thought it was too weird not to have any at her stone surrounded by her ancestors, so we snuck some under the headstone, sent some home with every descendant who wanted some and promised to work them into our gardens and then had a delightful scattering party in the river with tiny great-granddaughter, ancient sister (whose ashes now reside at the same Meeting and in the same river) and lots of daughters and grand-daughters wading in.  Did we fulfill her request?  Yes.  Did we improvise with loving and meaningful intention?  Also yes.  Be at peace, you will honor your deceased person with your intention wherever you scatter their earthly remains.

When you can use some humor on this: https://gimletmedia.com/shows/heavyweight/emhwel/6-james

I also know that if anyone in our family had objected to the improvised plan, it wouldn't have happened (because consensus.) So I do think that if you object, your other decision-makers should not insist.  Putting some at her gravestone gave us mourners a way to feel close to her when we visit.  

Edited by Harpymom
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55 minutes ago, DawnM said:

 My aunt's ashes were separated into jars for people to take home AND put in an urn to be buried. 

I sometimes feel torn in too many directions in life, I don't want to feel that way in death! 😂

Also, I can't imagine having a small jar of my aunt in the house. Like, where do you put it? What do you do with it? Is it just kind of there, or do you you purposefully visit it like a grave? How do you keep the cats from knocking it over?

 

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47 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Huh. It just made me feel profoundly uncomfortable when it was brought up. I was like, but the deceased wanted this. Shouldn't we not go above and beyond that? I don't think the world will end if it's done. The deceased isn't here to care. It just makes me feel wrong.

This is how I would feel, too.

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I don't know, the idea of dividing up a human being into lots of separate pieces and passing them around to people who will take each part to a different place seems weird and slightly creepy to me. Would people ever divide up a body like "Aunt Sally gets Dad's right leg, MeeMaw gets his left arm, each kid gets a hand or a foot, and Mom gets the head and torso"? To me, dividing up cremains is not much different from that. I mean, I realize it doesn't affect the dead person, and to a certain extent I agree that the living should do what makes them feel most comfortable because they're the ones who have to live with the loss, but it does seem somewhat disrespectful to me to parcel out someone's body like carving a turkey at Thanksgiving dinner. 

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I think the whole point of telling people what you want done with your remains to make sure that what you want done with your remains is actually done with your remains.  If not, why bother specifying at all? The same with death and mourning rituals.  I think people who struggle with boundaries might struggle with that idea. I do think that what you want done has to be very reasonable though.  You may want your remains at the top of the mountain, but that doesn't mean your loved ones can realistically get your ashes up the mountain without some sacrifice, and that's not reasonable.  If what the person wanted isn't realistic, then I think it's OK to do what works for the mourners as closely as can be done in the spirit of the deceased's wishes.

If it involves an attraction open to the public, keep some things in mind. My dad's first cousin owns the Goonie house.  She did once give a distraught visitor permission to scatter her son's ashes in the garden, but since then there have been scatterings in her garden without her permission. I don't know what the laws are about scattering at a private residence, but don't forget trespassing laws and laws about allowing vehicles to move through the streets and driveway access. When the 25th anniversary of the movie release came along so many people came to the house daily that the neighbors couldn't get to their properties because 1000 tourists a day were driving up to the house.

We have a friend with a medically fragile foster child who has severe respiratory issues.  Their next door neighbors had huge holiday displays people came for miles around to see.  Everyone in the neighborhood struggled to get in and out out of their driveways.  If they had needed to go to the hospital, which happened often, or an ambulance was needed, access was severely limited. That matters.

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15 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

I don't know, the idea of dividing up a human being into lots of separate pieces and passing them around to people who will take each part to a different place seems weird and slightly creepy to me. Would people ever divide up a body like "Aunt Sally gets Dad's right leg, MeeMaw gets his left arm, each kid gets a hand or a foot, and Mom gets the head and torso"? To me, dividing up cremains is not much different from that. I mean, I realize it doesn't affect the dead person, and to a certain extent I agree that the living should do what makes them feel most comfortable because they're the ones who have to live with the loss, but it does seem somewhat disrespectful to me to parcel out someone's body like carving a turkey at Thanksgiving dinner. 

I do think of it as a different thing.

FIL has been passed for 2+ yrs, and MIL nearly 10+.  Yet, SIL keeps the box of their cremains on her dresser.  No one would keep an actual deceased body on their dresser for nearly 10+ years.  But to me, trying to equalize dividing up ashes to the same as dividing up body parts is like trying to equate keeping body parts on a dresser to keeping ashes on a dresser.  

Edited by happysmileylady
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If this was a religious person I would absolutely not do something differently than requested.  Only because I once heard a pastor say that before cremation was so widespread due to increasing funeral costs, it used to be done as a religious statement.  Apparently some people think (or used to think) that if you scatter their ashes in multiple locations you'll just be dead when you die, that God won't be able to put your body back together at the resurrection.  And even though the pastor assured us this was ridiculous, if this person was aware of that history and hated that idea I wouldn't scatter anything.  Just out of respect for human dignity.

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I hold legal power of attorney for an elderly relative, and will also serve as executor. It was recently necessary to work on some funeral planning arrangements with service providers, including a funeral service broker and my attorney.

Each reminded me that in that capacity, it was my responsibility to honor the deceased person's wishes as closely as possible, with exceptions understandable for logistical challenges. So, I feel duty-bound to do all I am reasonably able to in that regard, according to the elder’s expressed wishes. 

If I had no such burden of responsibility, and the person made his wishes known, I’d do my best to follow those wishes. It just seems the honorable thing to do, kwim? If there were nothing stated, I’d try to imagine what he may have wanted, and within reason do that. 

Personally, I would not feel good about scattering ashes contrary to instructions. And the more places ashes are distributed, well, seems to me that each additional location dilutes the meaning of each. That’s all JMO of course. 

Most importantly, please do be sure you know which locations actually do permit ashes to be scattered. It’s not legal on just any property, and I don’t think anyone’s last wishes (or those of a person  doing the scattering) trump the rights of current legal property holders. IOW, it’s not ok to let mama fly from a ride at Disneyworld. 

Edited by Seasider too
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14 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

I don't know, the idea of dividing up a human being into lots of separate pieces and passing them around to people who will take each part to a different place seems weird and slightly creepy to me. Would people ever divide up a body like "Aunt Sally gets Dad's right leg, MeeMaw gets his left arm, each kid gets a hand or a foot, and Mom gets the head and torso"? To me, dividing up cremains is not much different from that. I mean, I realize it doesn't affect the dead person, and to a certain extent I agree that the living should do what makes them feel most comfortable because they're the ones who have to live with the loss, but it does seem somewhat disrespectful to me to parcel out someone's body like carving a turkey at Thanksgiving dinner. 

 

I agree. 

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My guess is that people want a sense of control when they specify where their ashes will end up, which is a reasonable way to try to grapple with the ultimate loss of control.

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1 hour ago, Farrar said:

Huh. It just made me feel profoundly uncomfortable when it was brought up. I was like, but the deceased wanted this. Shouldn't we not go above and beyond that? I don't think the world will end if it's done. The deceased isn't here to care. It just makes me feel wrong.

 

I would feel the same. 

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I personally can't imagine just holding onto ashes indefinitely myself.  But hey if that is comforting to someone, I don't have a problem with someone else choosing that.  This situation is very condition based to me.  I don't think like some random 3rd cousin that is rarely seen should wander up and demand a jar of ashes from a grieving widow.  But if someone's nearest and dearest has a respectful request for some ashes, I guess I don't see a huge issue.  But I do think someone like a widow or widower should be able to decline too.  If someone took the time to have very clear written instructions and an executor, well, I would certainly hope everyone would be on board following those requests.  So many people do not have their preferences written down that clearly though.  

I guess if I were involved, I'd primarily want to not make it a source of conflict.  

My parents are Catholic and my mom told a white lie to a priest to be able to spread his ashes.  So sometimes someone's religion doesn't align exactly with their own belief system either.  

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The living have an obligation to follow the wishes of the deceased when it comes to burial/cremation/etc. Unless the deceased made it clear that they did not care what happened to the remains but here are some suggestions, then the person should be disposed of as instructed. Otherwise, how far do people go in doing whatever they want because they are the living ones? Someone stuck a crucifix in my mom's casket even though she is not Catholic. Someone else said it did not matter, she was dead, she did not know. I think it was very disrespectful. She also was not buried where she wanted to be. She wanted to be in the same cemetery as her parents. Nope. People overruled that too. Just wrong. 

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Well I wouldn't follow the wishes of a deceased person if they put me in charge of scattering their ashes because it goes against my beliefs. So, I guess I lean on the side that it doesn't matter all the much anyway because the person is gone.

Edited by hjffkj
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I think that "extra places" doesn't seem like a big step to me, but I would err on the side of doing what was requested. If they had requested one specific place, I would assume they wanted all of their ashes in the same place. So, if you think that additional scattering sites are not okay, then I think people should defer to that as you are definitely following wishes. But I also think that adding additional sites would not violate something implied that rises to the level of "I don't want my ashes divided" because they've already specified multiple sites.

None of my preferences have anything specific to do with my religious beliefs--I'm just fairly traditional (cremation is on the table as a nod to the price of burials--I would prefer to not be cremated, actually, but unless someone could do a very inexpensive burial, cremation is fine). IIRC, some church's teachings do require burial of cremated remains--my grandmother was Catholic, and her cremated remains were buried, and it was a big deal at the time.

I am not sure I'd care if someone put mementos of their own in my casket, but if it was something that violated my beliefs (or is superstitious), I think it's rude. 

 

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These are interesting perspectives, thanks.

My mother went on a good bit about how she could do whatever she wanted with this relative's remains, assuming some were scattered where requested. When I was like, this makes me very uncomfortable because I know this is what relative requested for these remains, she got very mad at me. I was like, look, I just need to express that it makes me uncomfortable not to honor relative's wishes when we could easily do so and I don't think this is what we should do. But you're the one in charge of these remains and I respect that.

So she angry texted and called me all night and then sent a passive aggressive email putting ME in charge out of nowhere, which requires that I communicate with some people I've never met. This may be a totally separate issue, of course. Sigh.

Edited by Farrar
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Oh wow.  That's a big load your mother dumped on you, @Farrar.  For what it's worth, I don't think you are wrong.  Relative said "Do this with my remains".  If they wanted the remains divided among different places/relatives, I think they would have probably said that?  

 

I feel like sometimes people pull shenanigans like this  in an attempt to rewrite some part of history after a person has died.  They got the last word, so ha ha! They win.  That sort of thing. 😕 

 

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2 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

I do think of it as a different thing.

FIL has been passed for 2+ yrs, and MIL nearly 10+.  Yet, SIL keeps the box of their cremains on her dresser.  No one would keep an actual deceased body on their dresser for nearly 10+ years.  But to me, trying to equalize dividing up ashes to the same as dividing up body parts is like trying to equate keeping body parts on a dresser to keeping ashes on a dresser.  

I was the guardian and executor for an elderly relative that passed away a little over a year ago, and I am keeping his ashes until I can take them to his sister in the UK next year. In the meantime, they are in my bedroom and I actually do feel like there is a dead body on my dresser. I mean that's what it is — a dead body that had all the flesh burnt off and then the skeleton was ground up. A ground-up skeleton in a box on top of a dresser is not that much different from an articulated skeleton sitting in a chair next to a dresser; it's just a more compact version of the same thing. So, to me, giving a cup of ground-up Bob to Aunt Sally and a cup to MeeMaw and half a cup each to the 4 kids, and 2 cups of ground-up bones to Mom, etc. is not conceptually different from giving one person a femur, one gets a radius, each kid gets a handful of hand and foot bones, Mom gets the skull and ribs, etc. The idea of not keeping the parts of a person's body together, but rather handing out "baggies full of Bob" as souvenirs to multiple relatives just seems really weird to me, and somewhat disrespectful to the dead.

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35 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

I was the guardian and executor for an elderly relative that passed away a little over a year ago, and I am keeping his ashes until I can take them to his sister in the UK next year. In the meantime, they are in my bedroom and I actually do feel like there is a dead body on my dresser. I mean that's what it is — a dead body that had all the flesh burnt off and then the skeleton was ground up. A ground-up skeleton in a box on top of a dresser is not that much different from an articulated skeleton sitting in a chair next to a dresser; it's just a more compact version of the same thing. So, to me, giving a cup of ground-up Bob to Aunt Sally and a cup to MeeMaw and half a cup each to the 4 kids, and 2 cups of ground-up bones to Mom, etc. is not conceptually different from giving one person a femur, one gets a radius, each kid gets a handful of hand and foot bones, Mom gets the skull and ribs, etc. The idea of not keeping the parts of a person's body together, but rather handing out "baggies full of Bob" as souvenirs to multiple relatives just seems really weird to me, and somewhat disrespectful to the dead.

 

I have to say this is how I feel. Not saying other people's traditions are just outright wrong, it just seems strange to me.

 

My Grandmother kept my Grandfather's urn next to her. She died a little over a year after he did with no real ailment but they had been married over 60 years and their ashes were mixed and buried together. Pretty sure his death was the begining of hers so that feels different than parceling someone out. Grandpa wouldn't have cared if he thought it comforted Grandma. It's hard for me to feel anyone outside of that close of relationship has any right to someone else's ashes. 

 

I'm sorry Farrar that you are put in such an uncomfortable position.

 

 

 

I have to add I find it very strange that people want scattered at very public places like Disneyland. Most of my family has been scattered on favorite mountains overlooking their homes or remote favorite properties. I forget the rest of the country doesn't have as many of those types of places.

Edited by frogger
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45 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

I was the guardian and executor for an elderly relative that passed away a little over a year ago, and I am keeping his ashes until I can take them to his sister in the UK next year. In the meantime, they are in my bedroom and I actually do feel like there is a dead body on my dresser. I mean that's what it is — a dead body that had all the flesh burnt off and then the skeleton was ground up. A ground-up skeleton in a box on top of a dresser is not that much different from an articulated skeleton sitting in a chair next to a dresser; it's just a more compact version of the same thing. So, to me, giving a cup of ground-up Bob to Aunt Sally and a cup to MeeMaw and half a cup each to the 4 kids, and 2 cups of ground-up bones to Mom, etc. is not conceptually different from giving one person a femur, one gets a radius, each kid gets a handful of hand and foot bones, Mom gets the skull and ribs, etc. The idea of not keeping the parts of a person's body together, but rather handing out "baggies full of Bob" as souvenirs to multiple relatives just seems really weird to me, and somewhat disrespectful to the dead.

 

See, I totally get this. In fact I am asking for a holding plan with the mortuary until I can make arrangements to travel to the place of interment, because I know I would not be able to sleep with a box of cremains on my dresser, on the fireplace mantle, or in the closet. And it just seems rude to put them in the garage. 

Oh, the bane of a vivid imagination. 

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As I see it, a specific request should be honored, if at all possible.  If no specific request, then the person in charge of the cremains gets to decide what would be most appropriate. 

My elderly neighbor was put in charge of his friend's ashes.  His friend had no relatives and had asked my neighbor to scatter them, but without giving any specifics.  The neighbor kept them for a couple of years before deciding that his own backyard was as good a place as any.  He scattered them around a small evergreen tree of his that hadn't grown well.  Lo and behold, after that, the tree grew and grew.  It was a nice tribute to the friend.  The neighbor is gone now, too, but I still think of him every time I see the tree.

 

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I have several relatives that were cremated and scattered /buried in multiple places. I don't know if specifying where you want your ashes put excludes some of them  being put some place else. 

I agree with the previous poster who said people making their own funeral arrangements seems about controlling the ultimate  uncontrollable circumstance, and the continuing living deciding   differently  seems about the ways we grieve.

So I guess I would ask, does the extra scattering bring a measure of comfort to the living, and if so, would the dead want that comfort wrought?

Edited by Chris in VA
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I'm sorry you have been put in this position. To answer your question, I think the cremains should be scattered only where specifically requested. Based on this discussion, if I decide to be cremated, I will specify that the cremains be buried intact. I don't like the idea of being partitioned off at all and I certainly don't want to be a mantle decoration. If people routinely keep urns of their deceased loved ones, do these then get passed down to the next generations? I was raised Catholic so I was taught that cremation was wrong, but I think the church has changed its teaching to allow cremation as long as the cremains are kept together. 

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11 minutes ago, CAJinBE said:

I'm sorry you have been put in this position. To answer your question, I think the cremains should be scattered only where specifically requested. Based on this discussion, if I decide to be cremated, I will specify that the cremains be buried intact. I don't like the idea of being partitioned off at all and I certainly don't want to be a mantle decoration. If people routinely keep urns of their deceased loved ones, do these then get passed down to the next generations? I was raised Catholic so I was taught that cremation was wrong, but I think the church has changed its teaching to allow cremation as long as the cremains are kept together. 

This was what finally got my siblings to agree with what to do with my parents' ashes. I had them, mingled in one urn which was my mother's request.  I had them for years while siblings dithered about what do to with them, with the favorite plan being to leave me in charge of them forever. I finally said that I was not burdening my kids with their grandparents' cremains and would be shipping them to one or the other sibling within the next week if we didn't come to a decision.  Suddenly the scattering was approved.

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18 minutes ago, marbel said:

This was what finally got my siblings to agree with what to do with my parents' ashes. I had them, mingled in one urn which was my mother's request.  I had them for years while siblings dithered about what do to with them, with the favorite plan being to leave me in charge of them forever. I finally said that I was not burdening my kids with their grandparents' cremains and would be shipping them to one or the other sibling within the next week if we didn't come to a decision.  Suddenly the scattering was approved.

 

Great points above by marbel and CAJ. Editing my letter of intent to include that my remains are to be interred intact, in one location. I cannot imagine any of the kids thinking they’d want to keep any, or want to do anything other than follow my simple (easiest thing for them) instructions.

I have enough trouble dealing with hand downs *from* the elder generation. I don’t want any of them to *be* a hand down! 

And I definitely don’t want my kids to fight over who has to host an urn in perpetuity. That’s not the kind of legacy I hope to leave!

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53 minutes ago, CAJinBE said:

I'm sorry you have been put in this position. To answer your question, I think the cremains should be scattered only where specifically requested. Based on this discussion, if I decide to be cremated, I will specify that the cremains be buried intact. I don't like the idea of being partitioned off at all and I certainly don't want to be a mantle decoration. If people routinely keep urns of their deceased loved ones, do these then get passed down to the next generations? I was raised Catholic so I was taught that cremation was wrong, but I think the church has changed its teaching to allow cremation as long as the cremains are kept together. 

 

according to RC teaching, there is more than the cremains have to be kept together. They need to be buried or entombed. They should not be scattered or kept in a container at someone's home, etc...And if possible, the burial or tomb should have the name of the deceased.

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19 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

 

Great points above by marbel and CAJ. Editing my letter of intent to include that my remains are to be interred intact, in one location. I cannot imagine any of the kids thinking they’d want to keep any, or want to do anything other than follow my simple (easiest thing for them) instructions.

I have enough trouble dealing with hand downs *from* the elder generation. I don’t want any of them to *be* a hand down! 

And I definitely don’t want my kids to fight over who has to host an urn in perpetuity. That’s not the kind of legacy I hope to leave!

Just a comment re: the bolded. We had also talked about burying the remains but could not decide where. One sibling wanted them in my parents' hometown, but no one lives there anymore. Even getting the 3 of us there to have a ceremony would have been nigh impossible, forget about regular visits to leave flowers or whatever.  None of us could guarantee that we'd never move away, and one siblings was adamant that they not be "left alone."  So even that can be a sticking point. Of course not everyone has siblings like mine.  🙂 

ETA my posts might sound like I felt nonchalant or disrespectful toward my parents' remains. (One sibling certainly thought so and maybe strangers will read it that way.) I was not. But I knew that ultimately what happened to those remains was not really important.  I believe that God can knit them back together when it is time. 

Edited by marbel
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These cremains have already been portioned, for the record. At the request of the deceased. They were divided to be scattered in three places of the deceased's choosing. So the deceased clearly didn't have any qualms about partition per se.

I don't have any qualms about anything mentioned above myself. Like, if someone wants to be scattered, interred, set on a mantle, set on everyone's mantle, scattered in a million places, kept all in one place... it all seems good to me. I guess my primary thing is that I think we should abide by the wishes of the deceased as closely as logistically and legally possible. Obviously, the deceased isn't here to care. That's just what my own moral compass says is right. But I guess I can see that others have a different take, and that doesn't strike me as immoral necessarily, just a different take.

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18 minutes ago, marbel said:

Just a comment re: the bolded. We had also talked about burying the remains but could not decide where. One sibling wanted them in my parents' hometown, but no one lives there anymore. Even getting the 3 of us there to have a ceremony would have been nigh impossible, forget about regular visits to leave flowers or whatever.  None of us could guarantee that we'd never move away, and one siblings was adamant that they not be "left alone."  So even that can be a sticking point. Of course not everyone has siblings like mine.  🙂 

ETA my posts might sound like I felt nonchalant or disrespectful toward my parents' remains. (One sibling certainly thought so and maybe strangers will read it that way.) I was not. But I knew that ultimately what happened to those remains was not really important.  I believe that God can knit them back together when it is time. 

 

I did not think you sounded disrespectful at all! I hope I didn’t, either. The cremation option is a good one for many reasons, but the transportability of cremains does put an interesting spin on things. 

Further editing my letter of intent to  remind them that as an introvert I would be perfectly happy to be left “alone,” but that based on my faith, I don’t believe I’ll be lonely. 🙂

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14 hours ago, Farrar said:

These are interesting perspectives, thanks.

My mother went on a good bit about how she could do whatever she wanted with this relative's remains, assuming some were scattered where requested. When I was like, this makes me very uncomfortable because I know this is what relative requested for these remains, she got very mad at me. I was like, look, I just need to express that it makes me uncomfortable not to honor relative's wishes when we could easily do so and I don't think this is what we should do. But you're the one in charge of these remains and I respect that.

So she angry texted and called me all night and then sent a passive aggressive email putting ME in charge out of nowhere, which requires that I communicate with some people I've never met. This may be a totally separate issue, of course. Sigh.

I am so sorry.

I am with you on this one. There is a big difference between, "Hey, could we add this site to the scattering because xyz" and "I can do whatever I want." Yikes. 

I hope that your communication with these people goes well if this is truly on your plate now (sounds like it could be something your mom might take back in an equally angry outburst). At least you have the wishes of your relative to go on. Wow.

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15 hours ago, Farrar said:

These are interesting perspectives, thanks.

My mother went on a good bit about how she could do whatever she wanted with this relative's remains, assuming some were scattered where requested. When I was like, this makes me very uncomfortable because I know this is what relative requested for these remains, she got very mad at me. I was like, look, I just need to express that it makes me uncomfortable not to honor relative's wishes when we could easily do so and I don't think this is what we should do. But you're the one in charge of these remains and I respect that.

So she angry texted and called me all night and then sent a passive aggressive email putting ME in charge out of nowhere, which requires that I communicate with some people I've never met. This may be a totally separate issue, of course. Sigh.

So which of your mother's stated/written instructions to handle her own  possessions (including her remains) is she OK with her executor ignoring? Some of it?  All of it?  This but not that?  Why have anything at all specified if she won't be around to deal with it anyway?

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We're in a funny spot with mil's ashes. They're on dd's shelf (she did move them as the dog could reach them) as she lives in sil's house. The family is insisting that *I* pay for the headstone so they can be buried next to fil out in the potato patch (we call it that, but it hasn't had potatoes in it for years--it's too shaded by trees now. However, it has a fence around it). I have declined to pay for said headstone unless everyone chips in. They won't, so they sit. Frankly, I don't care if they get tossed out. Typical mil--causing strife even after she is gone. 

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22 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

So which of your mother's stated/written instructions to handle her own  possessions (including her remains) is she OK with her executor ignoring? Some of it?  All of it?  This but not that?  Why have anything at all specified if she won't be around to deal with it anyway?

She specifically stated that she was okay with us doing similarly with her cremains as one of her arguments.

I genuinely have mixed feelings. I felt compelled to object because it felt like it was a conscience thing for me. But I also was not as close to this relative and don’t feel it should be up to me. And I can see the other side. But rather than being like, I hear your objections but this is why I’m doing it this way, she just couldn’t let it go. I genuinely stopped responding. But eventually in her long train of angry texts and calls she sent the message saying I’m now in charge. Uhhhggg.

Edited by Farrar
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15 hours ago, Corraleno said:

I was the guardian and executor for an elderly relative that passed away a little over a year ago, and I am keeping his ashes until I can take them to his sister in the UK next year. In the meantime, they are in my bedroom and I actually do feel like there is a dead body on my dresser. I mean that's what it is — a dead body that had all the flesh burnt off and then the skeleton was ground up. A ground-up skeleton in a box on top of a dresser is not that much different from an articulated skeleton sitting in a chair next to a dresser; it's just a more compact version of the same thing. So, to me, giving a cup of ground-up Bob to Aunt Sally and a cup to MeeMaw and half a cup each to the 4 kids, and 2 cups of ground-up bones to Mom, etc. is not conceptually different from giving one person a femur, one gets a radius, each kid gets a handful of hand and foot bones, Mom gets the skull and ribs, etc. The idea of not keeping the parts of a person's body together, but rather handing out "baggies full of Bob" as souvenirs to multiple relatives just seems really weird to me, and somewhat disrespectful to the dead.

But, the very definition of scattering ashes means that they get all separated.  If you (general you) want to keep all the ashes together, it would be best to bury them.  Scattering them isn't going to keep the parts of the person's body together.  

Edited by happysmileylady

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27 minutes ago, Farrar said:

She specifically stated that she was okay with us doing similarly with her cremains as one of her arguments.

 

But that's a nonsensical response.  Telling someone you're OK with them doing something with your remains is the opposite of doing something different than what someone told people to do with their remains. 

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