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Daddy's Girl

Letting Go Of The Ashes...

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Good morning to all,

I am writing to ask for some advice. My father passed away a few months ago and everday is a challenge. From the time that I can remember my dad used to say when he died he wanted to be creamated and his ashes spread in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania. My mom, sister, husband and I are going to do this for him in a few weeks. We have our plane tickets, rental car and hotel so we are good to go. I am very nervous about this. I feel like it will be very hard and I feel like he is dying all over again when I think about spreading his ashes.

Here are my questions. Has anyone had to spread their parents ashes? How did it feel? How did you get through it? Does it feel like closure or does it feel again like a tremendous loss?

Any advice would help.

Thanks,

Daddy's Girl

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Daddys Girl,

I lost my father a year ago today and he was cremated. We have the ashes in the house and will keep them there. He never said he wanted them spread any particular place, though knowing my dad, he would have picked a golf course if he had! I can't give you any advice on going through what you are going to do, but I really thought about your situation and tried to put myself in your place. I think if my dad had requested something like that, I would feel I was making him happy and giving him some sort of peace. He will always be with you, regardless of not having his ashes anymore. He is in your heart and soul. Hope this helps and I wish you the very best of luck with the whole experience. Let all of know how it went.

Shell

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my mum died in 1996 so althought memories are old i hope that they can still be of help to you. scattering her ashes was hard but for us it was probably closer to her death and so more just another feature of the numbness of that time. the worse thing about scattering ashes is that there is nowhere that you can go and know that they are there to talk to them. that has been so hard for me.

im not going to lie to you it does hurt to scatter them, i expect its worse than burrial. the final goodbye. its the knowing that from that point you are never going to see them again in any shape of form or in any place.

i used to take comfort that my mother was flying on the wind. but 10 years later i dont know where to think she is.

i remember the day we scattered my mum, i cant remeber anything that was said but i can still see my dad wadding into the water with my brother. i remember the biggest lump in my throat.

i suppose i dont actually have much advice to give i have told you a bit my experience and maybe that will help.

just think of it as the final goodbye.

just think that just by asking to be scattered on the Pocono mountains your father has given you with his death an amazing trip. i know that this sounds stupid because you would much rather go under different circumstances. but mayb you could try to really get a breath of fresh air when up those mountains see what your dad wanted mayb wanted to you to get from the trip.

i bet this sounds rubbish and annoying but mayb it wont.

clam xxx

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Thanks you, Shell and Clam.

The date is getting closer for when we have to leave and I am a little more yet a little less nervous. I know it is what my dad wants and my family and I are doing it for him. It wasn't something he mentioned once or twice he said it a lot, so I think it is a good thing that we are doing. I can still hear him saying it, he would smile and laugh and sound like that was all he wanted. Somedays are just so hard I want to just close my eyes and run away. I miss my dad so much and my heart aches so much. I would give anything to talk to him just once more and ask him how he is doing. Sorry, here I go rambling.

Anyway, Clam I think you are right about clearing my head up in the mountains. It will be a chance for me to make peace with what has happened. It will be an amazing trip and your right if not for my dad I wouldn't be taking this trip. I just wish that he was coming with us. Well... I guess in a way he is.

Thanks for your kind words and advice.

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also remember you can take your time on this too. if you have those feelings, i would share them with other family members. you said its only been a few months. not much time at all really. i would have a hard time letting go at that point.

its not the same, but my dad became obsessed with getting rid of my mom's belongings a few months after she died. he even gave away her santa bear collection of teddy bears. i felt it wasnt right, and he never even offered me or my brothers one. my mom loved those. if i had it to do over, i would have piped up much more.

anyway, if it doesnt feel right, at least talk about it more. sometimes you need to give yourself time with these things.

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Thanks Steve

I actually did talk to my mom about things and I decieded that I will keep some of my father's ashes. I know it sounds weird. I don't want to deny him his final wish, but I am not ready to let go of all of him either. I have a small jar that he and my mom gave me from a trip they took and I am going to keep a small portion of the ashes in it and keep it somewhere that means something to both of us. That is my way of letting him have what he wants and letting me get what I want.

I feel ready for this trip because I too need to continue living my life. I know my father would not want me to stop living because he has. Most days its really hard, but I have to keep going and moving forward. It also helps that I have a counselor that I am talking to, to help me sort everything that is in my head.

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Daddy's Girl,

Just my 2-cents' worth here: There are also companies who will make pendants and the like, inserting your loved one's ashes right into a piece, eg. like a locket, but sealed....if you would like to carry your dad around, close to your heart. Just something else you might consider doing, even at a later date. I also know someone who actually disregarded local bylaws and scattered her dad's ashes on a golf course, cuz that's what he'd always loved to do, and she said it was difficult, but felt really good afterwards, too.

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a family friend requested his ashes be scattered on the basball diamond of the Catholic school he coached at while his daughter was in school. They asked the priest about it, who gave his implicit approval by telling them to take care of it at night so no one would see.

So they got out there around 10 pm. I think he would have found that funny.

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I have heard that the ashes of a loved one can be placed in some kind of small trinket. Ironically enough, I heard it from one of my students (5th grader). I wasn't sure if I believed her until you said it. Thank you. I will probably just put them in some type of small urn for now and look into that later.

Some people have given me funny looks when I said we are spreading my dad's ashes, but I am going to keep some. They said that it was strange to "split" him up like that. Can anyone offer some insight? Is it weird to be doing this??

Daddy's girl

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Hi, I didn't lose a parent, I lost my spouse almost 10 months ago. I just couldn't help replying to this post. I have a star pendant that contains some of my husband's ashes. I wear it around my neck on a chain with my wedding ring. That way I can keep him close to my heart. I was offered this option when I had him cremated. My soon-to-be daughter-in-law thought this was such a wonderful idea she got a pendant to have some of her dad's ashes put in. She will wear it on her wedding day so he can "walk her down the aisle". She said that she googled "berevement jewelry" and found several sites for them.

As for keeping some of the ashes, I kept half, and they will be spread with mine when I pass on. The other half we spread in an area that my husband loved to take the boys camping. We made up our own little ceremony, something that meant something to us. Yes, it was a sad event, but my boys found comfort in it. They know it would make their dad happy. Don't worry, there is nothing weird about whatever you choose to do. After all, it's your loss, not your friends.

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My dear friend,

It seems to me that as you travel this journey of grief, it’s important to figure out what brings you comfort and do what works for you. This is your journey, and it is for you alone to decide how you will travel the path and what you will need to take with you as you proceed. As one who has listened to countless stories of the many different ways people have chosen to memorialize their loved ones, I can assure you that what you are considering is neither funny nor weird.

I’m reminded of a time when, in one of my grief support groups, a recently widowed woman described the agony she had felt at the thought of leaving her husband’s cremains in a mortuary in New York, now that she had relocated to Arizona. As a devout Catholic, she knew that while cremation is now acceptable in the Catholic Church, it is required that the cremains be put to rest in a “holy place,” such as burial in a grave or placement in a columbarium in a Catholic cemetery. What she really wanted, however, was to keep her husband’s cremains close to her, preferably in a special place of honor somewhere in her bedroom. Despite the immense guilt she felt at doing so, she listened to her heart and brought the urn containing her husband’s cremains with her to her home in Arizona. Earlier that day, just before she came to our support group, she’d finally summoned the courage to discuss this matter with her pastor, and wanted to share with our group his response.

“My dear,” her priest had said, “your home is a holy place.”

I simply cannot describe the look of joy on this woman’s face, the weight that was visibly lifted from her shoulders, and the peace of mind she obviously had obtained from this man's simple but wise and wonderful statement. I wanted to go find that priest and hug him.

When my own father died over twenty years ago in northern Michigan, I did not know enough to take a lock of his hair, or to keep a portion of his cremains after we had his body cremated, according to his wishes. By the time my mother died a few years later in Florida, my sister and I held a private ceremony for ourselves and scattered her cremains amongst the red rocks in Sedona, at the Chapel of the Holy Cross – which was my way of bringing my mother to a “holy place” in Arizona. But this time my sister and I were brave enough to separate out and save a portion of her cremains, so a part of her would always be close to each of us. I placed my portion in a china sugar bowl that was part of a set that my father had sent home to my mother when he was stationed overseas during World War II. I sealed the container, and it now sits in a place of honor in a cabinet in my bedroom, with a picture of my mother next to it. It gives me comfort, and I feel her presence every time I look at it.

Like Bebekat and Maylissa, I now know of many creative ways that people have found to keep a portion of their loved one’s cremains with them – I've placed links to many of them on the Memorials ~ Funerals ~ Rituals page of my Grief Healing Web site. As I’ve said elsewhere, you are limited only by your own imagination, and you need to do whatever brings you comfort.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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Well, with this subject at hand, I now have something else to add, and that is my continuing frustration with not only my stupid brother, who's 'hoarding' our Mother's, Aunt's and Uncle's ashes ( in his closet at home, in just the cardboard boxes they came in ), but also with the court system in my home Province. After having finally spoken to a lawyer there yesterday, she first mentioned ( among my many concerns and questions ) that I could apply to the courts to get my Mother's ashes properly interred, something I never knew!.....BUT, apparently, just buying an urn and keeping them at home with ME would likely not be viewed as 'better enough' an interment than where they are now, and would probably require me buying a columbarium space somewhere ( out of my own pocket, too, as my Mother's funds were transferred to my brother before his POA for our father, who inherited our Mother's assets, was revoked ). I, too, consider my own home an even more 'holy place' than some vault far removed from my love for my Mother, and is certainly, morally and emotionally, a step up from a lousy closet! ( and I liked your own vessel, Marty, for keeping at least some of the ashes in; I could do something similar ). But it looks like the stupid courts have their own ideas about what's suitable, dignified and 'proper'!! So in one swift minute, my hopes for finally being able to get my Mom's ashes were dashed. I can already tell, this is going to be picking at my soul AGAIN - so close, yet not close enough! If anyone has any ideas as to what might be a really inexpensive interment, where I might even move them from later on, please let me know!

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I am back from my trip to Pennsylvania. My husband and I as well as my sister and mom went to spread my dad's ashes. We found a beautiful spot in the Poconos right over a Dam. It was a spot I know my dad would have loved. It was really hard and emotional. When we got to the spot I wasn't sure if I was ready for it, but I had to be. I cried a lot, but knew that was what he wanted and I had to remind myself that was what the trip was all about. We saved some of his ashes to bring home with us and I am going to look into getting something to put the ashes in. I am thinking some type of jewelery.

One strange thing did happen though, while we were at the Dam I took a lot of pictures and I even took a picture of the ashes after we spread them (I know that may sound weird). I really wanted those pictures, even though I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them. I used a digital camera to take the pictures and I forgot to down load the pictures on my laptop that night. The next day when I went to show a close family friend the pictures on the camera, the pictures were all gone. I looked through the camera and so did my husband, but the pictures were gone. I was extremely upset, because everything was gone and I can't get those pictures back. Has anyone had a similar situation, where something is there one minute and then gone the next when dealing with a loved one that has passed? My sister said, that maybe my dad didn't think I should have those pictures so maybe that's why they disappeared. I don't know what to think.

:wacko: confused Daddy's Girl

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My husband and I have pre-arranged thru National Cremation Society to take care of us at the end.  We do not want visitation, funeral etc.  We wish to be cremated and the ashes given to one of us remaining so we can scatter them at sea.  One daughter is giving me a lot of grief all of a sudden about this even though she knew of our plans.  She thinks she should get her father's ashes to keep until I pass away, then have a ceremony with family to scatter us both together at sea.   I don't think she has thought that I may live another 10 or 20 years  and where is my closure?  She is saying she needs this for her personal closure.   My husband is in Hospice now but I am in good health.  I told her I would not do this but will let the Society put some of her dads ashes in a receptacle, sealed and marked to give to her.  She came back saying we were not considering her or her sister and have not given them any consideration or thought in this matter and got rather nasty about it.   At this time especially I am stressed, emotionally drained going thru what is occurring and don't need this guilt.  The funeral director said it is our right to have our wishes followed as pre-arranged.   Anyone else have trouble with their adult children?  Just thought of a solution myself.  Will have the cremation, keep my husband's ashes myself and invite my daughter down to FLorida when weather permits, family get together and go out into the Gulf and have our ceremony together

Edited by EmotionallySpent
came up with solution

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