Scattering your loved ones ashes is a deeply important and meaningful event. However, circumstances sometimes prevent you or others from taking part - you might not be able to travel to the desired location to scatter, you may have health concerns, it may be a challenge to travel there during the current pandemic, or it may be a hard to reach a certain location due to access, among many other reasons.
What can you do?
Thankfully, you can take steps to ensure both that the ashes are scattered where you or your loved one preferred and that your loved one is successfully commemorated in a special and dignified way.
Who can assist with the ash scattering?
If you are unable to travel to the desired location and if other family members or friends are also unable to travel, you have many additional meaningful options to commemorate their memory. You can enlist the help of others, including Ecorial Scattering Services who can provide specialized services, such as ash scattering across a variety of locations.
Discuss with the funeral home or cemetery
Many times funeral homes or cemeteries offer a garden or other locations for a scattering (commonly referred to as a ‘scattering garden’). The staff members are often equipped and ready to perform such services along with a scattering ceremony. In addition, many also offer various other services with the ceremony, such as flowers, a speaker, music, food and beverages, and many other options.
Scatter at sea
Scattering your loved ones ashes does not need to be limited to land - sea and water scatterings are also very popular. Specific urns can be used and companies provide water scattering services, including boats and other means of transportation to your desired location or locations.
Aim for the air
Aerial scattering allows for ashes to be scattered from a higher vantage point. Certain companies provide piloting services to make these dreams possible or even incorporate the use of drones to reach otherwise untenable destinations.
Allow for alternatives
If none of these scattering options meet your wishes, then alternative forms of scattering can be completed by your designee or through independent services. Companies offer scattering options through balloon scatterings, fireworks, and even spaceflights.
What types of ash scatterings are possible?
You have options of how and where your loved ones ashes are scattered, no matter who ends up being stewarded with bringing them to the chosen location or locations.
Casting is the type of ash dispersal most commonly associated with scattering. This is where the ashes are cast into the wind and naturally scattered as they fall on the ground and other surfaces. It can be done in a variety of locations, including both private and public areas (restrictions may apply) and both, on land and over the water.
Floating is a relatively new way that people are using to scatter a loved one’s ashes. It involves using an urn that floats on top of the water, such as the Eco Water Urn or Flow the Ice Urn, then the urn will break down and free the ashes into the water below.
Trenching is ash scattering that involves burying. Often, a trench or small area is dug and the ashes are placed into the chosen hole or carved out area. The ashes can be placed directly into the ground or given a “green burial.” It can include using a biodegradable urn, or no urn at all.
Raking involves placing the ashes in a fertile soil and raking them into the ground. The act of ‘raking’ helps spread the ashes into a broader area.
Ringing is a type of ash scattering where the ashes are distributed around an object. Commonly, this will be around a tree or other natural element.
What are your options for dividing the ashes?
Many families choose to divide ashes of a loved one and scatter at more than one location, or divide the ashes into multiple memorials. Below we highlight some of the popular reasons why families divide a loved one’s ashes.
Divide ashes among locations
Many people have multiple places that are special to them in life, and therefore, it is a fitting tribute to divide their ashes and scatter at more than one location. This can include a childhood home, favorite vacation spot, on top of a mountain, at a special beach, or off of that favorite hiking trail, among many other places.
Divide ashes among family members
With many families not living in the same area, a loved one’s ashes are commonly divided among family members so each can scatter and have their own private memorial where they live or at a place special to them.
Divide ashes among times
Many families choose to scatter a portion of the ashes on certain dates that are memorable to the person who passed. This can include a birthday, anniversary, graduation date, or even held until after a spouse passes. It can be done over months, years, or even decades. This can allow time for others to travel to the desired locations and even allow for groups of different people to gather at various locations to take place in meaningful scattering ceremonies.
Divide ashes into multiple memorials
Another popular option is to have a loved one’s ashes divided into more than one memorials that are meaningful to your family. Some of the ashes can be scattered at a memorable location (or locations) and the remainder placed in other memorials, such as The Living Urn for a tree burial, keepsake jewelry, or included in a glass decorative piece, among many other options.
How can you prepare for the ash scattering ceremony?
No matter who receives the privilege of scattering your loved ones ashes, you can take steps to make sure that the commemoration is complete through preparation and specific instructions.
A celebration of life
Celebration of life and ash scattering ceremonies help you highlight the life and impact of your loved one. Having such a time of remembrance before, during, or after the ashes are scattered can be deeply impactful for yourself and others.
It is good to plan ahead and consider what you’d like to occur before, during, or after the scattering whether or not you’re able to take part yourself. You can craft a specific sentiment you’d like read, give details about the location and manner in which you would like it to be completed, add music to the event, and even include special notes or other memorable items with the ashes as they are scattered. Photos and videos of the scattering event can be posted on the Ecorial app and website and shared with family and friends to see.
Through planning and careful decision making, your loved ones ashes can reach their final destination and be laid to rest in a manner that honors them in a special and dignified way.
We have many resources and articles to help you with this process. Find additional helpful information on the blog, such as Planning an Eco-Friendly Burial, A Guide to Hosting an Online Memorial, and our other articles. You can also learn what other did, what they liked and didn’t like (and learn from their experiences) from our customer testimonials or on our Facebook page. If you have questions, you can also reach out to our Denver-based customer service team at (800) 495-7022, ext. 0 to learn more.