Creating your own special ceremony for scattering ashes of a loved one can be a remarkably peaceful and moving experience for everyone involved. Best of all, you can determine exactly how you would like the memorial to take place. It may be as simple as casting the ashes to the wind in a familiar and close by location or traveling to a far off location to distribute the remains by boat or airplane.
Casting ashes to the wind either over land or water is how most of us think of scattering. Indeed, this is probably still the most popular method. Other common methods are trenching and raking. Trenching involves placing the ashes, either loose or in a biodegradable urn, in a shallow trench. Raking involves scattering the ashes over soil and then raking the remains into the soil. With all three methods, you can have one person take care of the remains, or you can share the task between members of a group.
Check Federal, State, and Local Laws on Scattering Ashes
Whether you are scattering ashes on the water or on land, you need to check the applicable laws and obtain the necessary permission. Also, you might check to see if it is possible to make arrangements for a permanent memorial at the location. Some public parks permit memorials even though they do not necessarily allow scattering.
Many cemeteries have garden areas designated for scattering ashes. Typically, these scattering gardens offer memorial options such as plaques, inscriptions, or benches.
Think Before You Scatter
Be sure to consider the wind factor when you are scattering ashes. You and the others participating in your ceremony will want to stand downwind. The wind can be a particular factor when you are scattering ashes by boat over the water. There are special urns called scattering urns that are designed for this purpose. These urns can be cast into the water as well and will dissolve, leaving any remaining ashes in the water.
Scattering Ashes By Airplane or at Sea
Scattering by airplane is normally handled by companies that specialize in this particular service. If your ceremony will be at a beach, you not only want to check into local regulations regarding the disposition of ashes but take the tides into consideration. If, for example, you want to trench and the tide is going out, the water may not rise far enough to reach the ashes. Something to keep in mind regardless of what method you choose is that ashes can be surprisingly heavy.
There are companies that specialize in scattering ashes at sea. These companies are well acquainted with the necessary paperwork that is required in order to comply with maritime restrictions. Most companies that offer sea scattering services offer options to do it for you or for you and others to attend the ceremony.
Unique Ways to Use Ashes
Scattering ashes is not the only way to use ashes to commemorate your loved one, and new options are popping up every day. Here is a listing of some of the more unique ways you can memorialize your loved one.
- Launch the ashes into space.
- Create a piece of art using the ashes.
- Make a diamond or other jewel from the ashes.
- Include the in a piece of jewelry.
- Turn the ashes into fireworks.
- Get a tattoo from ink that includes the ashes.
- Commission stained glass or a glass ornament that includes the ashes.
The above is only a sample of the many options available to you. In reality, the only limitation to how you handle your loved one’s ashes is your imagination.