What to do with my mother's ashes?

My very-elderly mum passed away several months ago, not unexpectedly. She had arranged, years ago, for cremation. I now have her ashes. It felt odd to tell the cremation people that I didn't want them, but I don't. My mum was always "difficult" - narcissistic, demanding, critical, and often not a pleasant person to be around. At brunch with my aunt yesterday she told me of a situation that happened years ago where my mum was rude and uncaring to a family member needing temporary help. This only reinforced my feelings about mum being a not-very-nice person. Even with all that, I'm not sure I can just put the ashes in the rubbish bin. I'm sure I will never reach a point where I will ever want them, even part of them, and mum never had a "special place" where I would consider scattering them. And no other family would desire to have them, either. Any ideas of what to do would be appreciated.

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
Top Answer
Rofl...!!!

You wouldn't really do that, would you, Pepsee? Seriously?

Don't do that. It may be the church's duty to attend to its flock but it's a bit much if relatives just dump remains in the hope of a freebie funeral.

These are also not good times to be leaving unattended packages in a public place. You wouldn't want mother going sky-high in a controlled explosion by the security forces, would you now?
Plant them. Under a nice shrub, if you like shrubs.

Take them to a river and mentally release your mother to the world. Oh. I see from Dr Google that there can be laws about things like that, so I recommend you look up "what do you do with Cremains?" and check regulations in your area.

My sister once told me an extremely rude joke about a widow's conversation with her late husband's ashes but I'm still pretending I didn't understand it.

Pondering... whatever you decide to do in practical terms, might it be helpful to you emotionally to regard the final scattering as a ritual of acceptance? "Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, the judge of truth." Your mother may not have been all one might wish for in a mother, or indeed in a human being, but she was herself and that was her right. You don't have to like her, you're still perfectly entitled to feel hurt and sadness and regret over certain memories; but this is simply about wrapping up her life. That you want to do it respectfully, if perhaps not affectionately, is much to your credit as a daughter and as a feeling person.

OnlyChildCarer, does your Mum's parents have graves? You can check with the cemetery to see if your Mum's aches can be buried on top of her parent's casket. What about her husband's grave, or graves of siblings?

I plan to do that for myself. Since I am an only child, I now think I wish to be cremated and placed with my parent's graves. There are cemeteries that will allow an urn to be placed.
This might be an option from the Neptune Society;
Neptune Society offers a unique and more permanent alternative to scattering ashes at sea– the Neptune Memorial Reef. The reef lies 3.25 miles off the coast of Key Biscayne, Florida, and when completed it will cover 16 acres of ocean floor. To be memorialized here, the individual’s cremains are mixed with concrete, shaped into forms such as sea stars or shells, marked with identifying information, and placed on the ocean floor. These forms create shelter for marine life, giving ocean lovers a chance to continue to “give life after life.”

It's a nice thought while keeping a reef alive.

Good luck with your decision.
Dear OnlyChildCarer,

I'm so sorry, I know how hard this must be. I can imagine still wanting to be respectful but finding a good option is hard.

I know some cemeteries have an area where you can scatter them. I would check with the funeral or local cemetery or church and see what options are available.

I hope others can provide more suggestions.
Actually, CM, that would be a story for the grandkids (going sky high in a controlled explosion)! Lol I'm kidding, but the thought of it made me laugh. Certainly a way to be scattered.
Or........................
Don't tell anyone?

Then you can put them where ever you like.

Bit naughty? So what! Seems she was a bit nasty.

Sorry if this offends anyone, it is just what I think (no holes barred) I just hate bullies.
Mat be there is a spot or type of area that you have a small nice memory of being there with your mum?
Like she bought you an ice cream? At the beach? In a forest?
Failing that, somewhere YOU LIKE. Flower beds etc.

Good luck.
Hi only child, what a predicament to be in! I can understand you're not being comfortable with throwing it in the trash since, the body that's in that plastic bag in a cardboard box, is the body that created you. 

So, what I would do is take the little box, put a sticky note on the top that says... *cremains needing a resting place*. Then take it and anonymously leave it on a Pew in a large Church. Whatever they do with it...they do with it. But it's like giving her back to God. Best of luck to you.
I second the scattering them over the ocean; she can be as salty in death as she was in life...

In all seriousness and dark humour aside the main thing is if you or anyone in your family would want to visit the ashes/her burial site? If not, don't worry about it too much. Either in the ocean, or turn them into the soil of your garden so she can help grow something beautiful for you to enjoy.

There are a couple laws [at least in Canada] about disposing of human remains, ash or otherwise, so might be good to read up on those for your area...and choose a private spot for the sprinkling.

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