When you make the choice to have a loved one cremated it opens the door to all different ways in which to remember them. Making this decision is very personal and should be given as much time and consideration as necessary. This is a lasting decision with no do-overs that can feel like a colossal choice. The reality is, you don’t have a “wrong” choice - this is a personal decision that is about honoring a loved one. Take a deep breath, and know that you only have right options. It’s a good idea to write down each one, weigh the pros and cons of each, and make a decision based on your unique situation.
There are many options related to memorializing a loved one with their cremated remains. You can plant a Living Urn bio urn and grow a tree memorial, turn the ashes into a diamond, make a glass decorative piece, bury the remains in a biodegradable urn, or scatter their remains, among many other options. Each of these options can be done with all of the cremated remains, or the remains can be divided up into multiple memorials. In this blog we focus on the popular option of scattering some or all of a loved one’s remains.
Should I scatter ashes as part of the funeral or do a separate memorial?
Some families choose to make scattering remains a part of the funeral itself. While others consider scattering ashes a very private event that is for only them or close friends and family. Whatever you choose will likely have more to do with yourself, family, and friends, and everybody's wishes, as well as the size of the memorial. If you want to have a large amount of people present for a scattering ceremony, then it might make sense to have it be part of the overall memorial, which will already be set up to accommodate the number of people. If you are only choosing to have a few people at the scattering service, or even just one person, then you will want to set up a separate ceremony, likely on a completely different day to scatter the ashes in the chosen destination. If the place itself is what is important, not the ceremony, you can even choose to have a professional guide to scatter your loved ones ashes for you using an ash scattering service.
Regardless of how you choose to scatter your loved ones ashes, we have some of the most popular ideas outlined out below to help you with your idea process.
Scattering ashes at a destination, vs keeping / spreading ashes at home
Spreading ashes at home, can give a sense of having that person close by all the time. If you are considering this option, please consider a few things. First and foremost, are you likely to move in the near future? If you do move, will this bring you pain to leave the place where your loved ones ashes were scattered? If you are okay with either not moving, or if you do move, will be at peace with the decision, the most popular places to scatter ashes at home are under a tree or in a garden. You can spread them under a tree, commemorated with a memorial stone, or bury them in a special urn. Perhaps you have a special place in your home garden or tree that that is meaningful to a loved one. There are special biodegradable urns designed to safely scatter ashes almost anywhere.
If you are likely to move, or would not be comfortable with leaving the place where you had scattered a loved ones ashes, you can also consider not scattering, but instead placing the ashes in an indoor or patio urn. Regardless of where you move, you can keep these on a mantle desk, or put a picture on it, as part of a living memorial that can travel with you.
The third option, is to do both, scatter some at your home, and also keep some with you or travel and scatter some ashes at a special destination.
Scatter ashes at a favorite local spot, or special place
When thinking of your loved one, does a particular place come to mind? Did they have a favorite hike or park that they liked to visit? Was there a place they went when they needed to think and sort out their problems or simply to de-stress? Consider spreading their ashes there as their final resting spot. Visit our state guide to scattering ashes if you have questions around specific laws or regulations.
Scatter ashes where they always wanted to visit
Did your loved one have a certain place they always wanted to visit? Sometimes life is just too short to get to every place on your bucket list. If your loved one had a place they always talked about but never got to see, scattering their ashes there can be a way to give them their final wish. You can do this as a final good-bye and spread the ashes yourself in the place they always wanted to go.
Scatter ashes in an ash scattering garden
A cemetery scattering garden or Memory Forest is similar to a gravesite. These are often beautiful and serene places. They give people a place to go and visit the person they lost, without the drawbacks of a graveyard. A rising number of funeral homes offer memory forests, and can combine the ash scattering with the overall funeral costs, minimizing the details that need taken care of after a death. These gardens and forests can be visited time and again and by everyone who wants to pay their respects.
Scatter ashes at a favorite vacation spot
If your loved one had a special hiking spot or loved camping, fishing, skiing, or hunting, their ashes can be spread in their favorite place or favorite vacation spot.
Vacations are often places with the most memories of happy times. Spreading ashes there can be a perfect way to say good-bye and leave someone to rest in a place that was important to them and to the people they loved. It can help you feel connected to them every time you visit, and also incorporate some joy into remembering the loved one that you lost.
Scatter ashes at the location of a major life event
Is there a life event that happened at a special place? A location of your first kiss? Where you first said ‘I love you’? A park where a child learned to bike? There are many events that can change a person’s life - is there a place that comes to mind when you think of your loved one? These might be good options to scatter ashes. Consider the meaning that this has to your loved one who passed and their survivors.
Ash scattering services & online memorials
Do you want to see your loved one’s ashes scattered somewhere where you can’t go? Over the Pacific Ocean, the Rocky Mountains, among the California Redwoods, or the Atlantic Ocean? If all the details of scattering ashes are overwhelming; consider using an Ash Scattering Service. They take care of all the details like permits and other legalities. This service will scatter ashes for you in a ceremony and document it for you, or you can choose take part in an accompanied service. The service leaves you with a beautiful keepsake and certificate with the exact coordinates to keep forever.
Whether you are fulfilling someone’s last wishes or choosing the best way to remember them, we hope your choice of where you scatter their ashes gives you the comfort and closure to say good-bye to the loved one you lost.