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Rich donated his body to the local medical college and I was told they would use his body as a cadaver for one to three years. Well, the university called last week and said Rich was on his way to me. They arrived today. I thought I would be sad. Actually a friend was here for lunch and was still here when the ashes arrived so I don't know how I would have reacted if I had been alone. I am strangly comforted by having the box of ashes. I am carrying them around with me. Last week I was really upset, because I was not expecting them so soon, and I realized that Rich and I had not talked of what he wanted me to do with his ashes. What to do with his ashes is not so much a worry to me right now. But what is this carrying around of his ashes all about? :blush: Should I just put them down? Is it alright to carry them around?

Beth

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You carry those ashes as long as you want. You will put them down eventually. There are no rules. No blushing....no embarrassment. The night before Bill died, I cut a lock of his hair. I have it in a special box on my dresser and every once in a while I go and hold them and cry. It is the only physical thing we have of a relationship that was so physical (as well as emotional and spiritual and intellectual). I would be holding them also. If it is really bothering you put them down once in a while and just sit with them. It is sort of like a wake as far as I am concerned. I am glad you got them back....Mary

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Thank you Mary for your advice. His ashes are sitting here with me right now. I also have a lock of his hair from what turned out to be his last haircut. Just checking to see if I am too far afield.

Beth

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YOu just got them....not even a day. Think about three day wakes of the past where a spouse was near her husband's body for three days. Give yourself some time. I bet you let them be in a reasonable amount of time. Mary

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Beth

You are absolutely normal. I do the same thing. Randy lived in his "man cave" with his big screen television and his sports, so I have his ashes sitting on the sofa in his man cave right where he should be. I wanted so badly to take him to our son's wedding, but thought that someone would think I was crazy carrying about a sack with his ashes it in, so I bought a little keepsake urn that fits in your palm and I put some of the ashes in there and he goes everywhere with me. It might sound kind of weird to some, but it does give me comfort knowing he is close by. They also have little keychains, pendants, etc. to place some of the ashes in. Our plan was to spread him in all his favorite places, but family members just aren't ready for that yet. You will know what is right for you and when it is right. In the mean time, find comfort in his ashes being with you and if it feels right, do it. There are no rules in this grief stuff that we are all going through.

Blessings and hugs

Becky

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I too talk to Harv's ashes all the time, I keep them in my bedroom and see them every night before I go to bed and every morning when I wake up. I really like the idea of having something small to put some of his ashes in and keep with me at all times. Peace and love to all, Pam

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I agree that grieving is an individual endeavor---there are no rules. The one constant I've run into is the adage "it never goes away but it does get easier".

Today is the 6 month anniversary of my wife's passing. We were together for 40 years.

When I finally felt up to opening the box of ashes, it was mothers day. My grown children weren't ready, so I opened it before they arrived to work in my wife's garden.

I had decided that I would eat some of or at least taste the ashes. It seemed like one way I could bridge the separation on the physical plane that I feel. It was an amazing experience which I can't describe.

I have had a lot of contact with my wife since she departed from the physical plane, both in dreams and waking consciousness. We definitely have an ongoing relationship

in so many ways, except of course the most obvious.

I would encourage you too go as deeply into grief as you need to while remembering that "life goes on". The chaos of such a huge life change feels overwhelming at times but there can be opportunities for you own personal growth as you heal. For now, remember that your soul is bruised. It will take time to heal---be easy on yourself but don't run from it either.

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Beth,

I carried Ruth with me for weeks in her Urn, then one day I purchased a samll pocket Urn and had it filled, I cary that with me daily, I have also set up a memorial for her in the living room, the Urn is placed on her favorite credenza topped with silk flowers, an angel, a rose, a picture of us, and an LED candle that burns daily from 6PM until Midnight, above the entire credenza is a crucifix...my new companion has her husband in her bedroom as Pam does, people have asked me if that bothers me when I stay with her sleeping in the room with his Urn there and it does not one bit, in fact I didn't even give it a thought until they asked...we each must do what we need to during this rough time, you will know when the time will be right to adjust what you do...but for now just take it day by day....

NATS

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Beth,

I don't think there are any rules about this kind of thing. When we got my husband's ashes back (kind of a traumatic experience), a close friend of his took my sons and I out on his sailboat and spread most of his ashes at sea. My husband loved the sea and sailing, so this seemed appropriate. I had planned to spread all his ashes there, but was somehow unable to part with them all. So I saved some. I figured I would spread some of them in the mountains - a place he also loved. If I can ever get the energy to go hiking again. And some I may just keep. I know he's not in there, but it's weird how important it's become to keep them with me.

My husband was a coffee connoisseur. He loved good coffee and no matter how financially strapped we were, he insisted on a top notch coffee machine. He even ordered fair trade coffee beans from Tanzania. So I went out and bought a coffee jar in white porcelain. That's where his ashes are, in this coffee jar on top of an antique cupboard (inherited from his grandmother in the kitchen, near the coffee machine. Sometimes I take the jar down and hold it for a while, even kiss the top of it. I suppose that sounds weird. But whatever works, I suppose.

Melina

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Thank you all for your comments. I am just trying to understand the "etiquette" of handling our loved ones ashes. I didn't have a good role model in my Mother in the way she handled my fathers' ashes. I am already looking into buying the small keepsake urn to keep with me where ever I go. And there is an odd story there. I buy and sell on eBay and always check eBay first when I want to buy something. There is a woman there who has a very compassionate store where the only thing she sells are cremation urns, large and small. She herself is a recent widow and understands grief. But she is selling from the little tiny town in Iowa where I have 14 ancestors buried and my father was born. I have considered moving to this town to do research, and here she pops up on eBay selling some lovely, inexpensive urns. I don't think I will buy the large urn, just the small one to pack around.

And another issue has cropped up. Rich's mother wants his ashes buried in Tennessee in her husbands/Rich's fathers grave. I am certain Rich would not want that. I am certain Rich would be happy being spread on our hayfields and the goat pasture. Rich's mom never did approve of us raising goats. So right now I am telling her that I want to keep his ashes with me.

Curley, I am working very hard to completely embrace this grief, to learn all I can about myself, and expect great personal growth from this experience. So far, there has been only pain and sadness. I did not expect the comfort and almost joy I have gotten from holding his ashes. Rich and I were huggers. If I stand and wrap my arms around the box of ashes, I can imagine we are hugging each other. And I am sorry to learn of your six month anniversay yesterday.

Beth

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Dear Beth,

Pauline and I both made the arrangements in 1996 to donate our bodies to science. I will not get Pauline's back for awhile. We talked about what she wanted done with them, many times in fact, once I have them back. After she passed I got a good lock of her hair and all he beautiful long finger nails. I keep them in my Bible. Carry those ashes around as long as you need to and want to. Not everyone had so many years to talk and plan out what our loved ones wanted after death. Pauline did have all those years, and we used them well. I knew exactly want and when she wanted things to happen. She was my gift from God, and I was hers, 33 years ago. Pauline being from the east coast, an I from Colorado, and to meet in a small town in Kansas, was and still is a gift from God. He knew Pauline would become sick with MS, and He new my soft gentle, caring and loving soul, was what she would need to make down and though her journey of life. Take nothing for granted because, I here all the time, even when a person has to battle cancer and other illnesses, That their loved one left behind had never came to the conversation, about the end of life and the wishes after. It is not an easy subject to talk about, but we all must find the strength to have it anyway. It has made things a lot easer for me, that I know, and knew what Pauline wishes were with every aspect about where she wanted to be, and how each thing would happen just as we planned after death. This has me shedding tears again right now.

God Bless

Dwayne

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Beth, whatever feels right for you...is right for you. Mike's ashes are in a red rock urn from Arizona, sitting on a bookcase that has AZ memorabilia from the years of traveling in Arizona. He loved Arizona. I take a small amount of his ashes whenever I travel, and spread them. My friend Tom went to Puerto Rico recently, and took some of Mike's ashes, his wife's ashes and dirt from the grave of our friend Morris to spread in the ocean. He is going to do the same when he goes to Brazel later this month. I think Mike would enjoy that he is getting to travel around. I talk to Mike's ashes in the rock all the time. I maybe don't tell a lot of people that I talk to him, but people here understand.

Mary (Queeniemary) in Arkansas

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And another issue has cropped up. Rich's mother wants his ashes buried in Tennessee in her husbands/Rich's fathers grave. I am certain Rich would not want that. I am certain Rich would be happy being spread on our hayfields and the goat pasture. Rich's mom never did approve of us raising goats. So right now I am telling her that I want to keep his ashes with me.

Beth

Beth,

It's entirely up to you, but if you want to make a compromise, you could give his mother a small portion of the ashes. Then he could be in both places at once.

I'm going to take a very small portion of Thyge's ashes to the cemetary where his parents are buried. His sister got his name carved on the family headstone - more of a "in memory of", and in time, when I'm ready, I'll drive the three hour trip down there, bury some of the ashes and plant something on the grave.

I'm just not ready yet, since I know it will entail at least three days of tears.

Melina

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Beth,

You do whatever brings you comfort...carry his ashes around if it helps you. As for his family, the ashes belong to you and you have the best idea of what he would have wanted...it is okay to do that. Maybe you can send a small amount to his mom to do with as she wants.

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Bill and I talked about this very subject more than once. We decided that who ever went first would be held in waiting for the other. Our Son requested to keep his Dad's ashes and has them in a beautiful bamboo box at his home. He chose bamboo because of the love Bill had for the islands and just plain tropical weather. My two daughters, two grandaughters and myself had small amounts of his ashes incorporated into heart lockets. Don't know how they do it but they are really beautiful.. they look like opaque stone with just a hint of color,and now Bill goes everywhere with me....When I am called to join him....our ashes will be mingled together and the children will toss them to the wind in some beautiful spot chosen by them.

It's a very personal choice and there is no right or wrong. I requested that if I went first my ashes would be held in a whimsical silver cocktail shaker I have. Children promised to honor the request....they understand my sense of humor...and I don't even drink. Not trying to make light of this subject..it's just that talking about it made it easier to know, when the time came, what would be done.

Whatever makes you feel comfort is the best thing for you to do. At this point it's all up to you...no one else. If it comforts you, by all means...the hayfield or goat pasture sound perfect...YOU know what he would want....just take the time you need....To all of you wondering now what to do...just follow your heart..who cares at this point what anyone else thinks???.....Love to all of you....Carol

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My husband also donated his body to science. I was told 5 weeks to 2 years. He'll be there for 23 weeks this Thursday. I am hoping to save enough money to buy 2 necklaces (a cross & a heart)so I can put a few of his ashes in them. That way he will never be away from me. They also make braclets for the same use. He wanted his ashes to be buried with me when I finally get to join him, but I am thinking about doing the same as him. You may be able to ask at a funeral home if they deal with such a thing as jewerely. If not, they may be able to send you to one that does. There is nothing wrong or insane about what you are doing. Anyone who thinks so, has not gone through the worst think anyone can go through, the death of their spouse. The only good thing between ashes and burial is, we can hold onto our loved one as long as we want or need to.

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Well, I am still really enjoying holding Rich's ashes. And I have good news on the Mother-in-Law front. She lost her best friend and neighbor several months ago and this friend was cremated and in an urn at the house her friend shared with her daughter, up until the daughter moved away last month. Ruth said she found herself going to the daughters house frequently just to be with her friends ashes. In our last phone conversation, she brought up the fact that she had not yet followed up on having Rich's ashes buried with Rich's father in Tennessee. I acknowledged that Rich's ashes had arrived and that I was very happy to have them around the house to hold. Ruth said she totally understood, because she also found comfort being close to Sylvia's ashes, and that if I wanted, I should keep Rich's ashes with me forever, or as long as I wanted.

Thanks Marty, for the links. The only thing so far I have decided to buy is a necklace/pendant to hold some ashes that I can wear all the time.

Beth

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Marty, thank you so much for the links for urns and memorial jewelry. Since my Harv was a cowboy and he wore his cowboy hats with pride, I found a beautiful cowboy hat pendant that I can put a tiny amount of his ashes in and keep close to me at all times. I have not filled the pendant yet as I'm a little worried how that will affect me. Maybe after a few coronas with lime, I'll be able to do that. I have been reading all the posts lately and saddened that so many have joined us. Not saddened they found this forum, but sad they have experienced their losses. Sometimes I think if I listen really hard, I can hear the collective shattering of hearts and dreams. Love you all, Pam

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I can understand. It's him and it's closest thing you have to being with him. I actually sleep in my boyfriend's shirt every night. Truth is, missing the love of your life is difficult. They're the addictive drug you had with you on a daily basis. Death is an instant withdrawal, but you only urge to have it back again. I hug my boyfriend's shirt with such a tight grasp because I miss him so much. His sweet embraces, his touch, his skin, - even his snoring. & to have it taken from you is tough.

- When you feel like the 'calling' is to do with them, you'll know. You're not limited to time.

I wish you the best hon.

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Wow kid I thought you were only 20.....you appear wiser then your yrs! but I think you have taught me something....you have nailed it on the head with your reply,,they're an addictive drug you had on a daily basis. Death is an instant withdrawal, but only you have the urge to have it back again.....Wow, this is the way I am feeling........I have so much good in my life, neice and nephew.... a really good family, depsite the fact I would love to wring their necks most times.......but that drug....Mike is what i miss, and miss......so much!!!!!!!!!! I really hope you are getting some professional help....Please take care!! Dave

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Dave, that's the same thing I thought, only 20 years old, but a wise soul. Stacyines, my Harv and I have 2 sons much older than you and it does break my heart that you have experienced such a loss at a very young age. You have much to share with a "jaded" soul as myself. Thank you. Love, Pam

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  • 6 years later...

I just read this and it gave me comfort knowing that I am not the only person carrying around their loved ones ashes . It has been a month now that I lost my beloved Jordan and I don’t like to leave the ashes alone when I go visit my sister I take them with me .He is in a beautiful wooden inlaid box like a jewelry box . I put his picture and some of his jewelry in it . I miss him so much a piece of my heart died along with him. Tony 

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Tony,

Thanks for posting to this older thread. I am relatively new (10 months), so had not looked back that far. I have my Dana's ashes now, given to me by her sons and ex-husband so that I can take them to the Pacific Ocean as soon as I can. She said over 30 years ago when I first knew her, and then last year when we reconnected that she wanted her ashes returned to the Pacific. I planned to take them this past August, but had some financial woes and had to postpone it.

I have a locket with a lock of her hair that I keep near me always. I will save a small amount of her ashes to do the same with, when the time comes and I make the trip out west. The lockets will go with me to my final resting place. I may donate my body to science with the same arrangement as described in this thread, and if so, will ask my sister to hold her hair and ashes until mine are returned.

I have a family burial plot already, beside the son I lost 18 years ago, so her small portion can rest there until I join her, after they are through with my remains. It may seem morbid, but I am already speaking with the monument folks concerning how I want things to be.

I have the jewelry I gave her as well in the same drawer I put my keys and wallet. There is a comfort in touching it when I leave in the morning, and when I return at night.

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