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Ashes to ashes

(53 Posts)
Peardrop50 Mon 12-Feb-18 11:05:13

How do you part with a loved ones ashes? Is it healthy to cling on to them indefinitely?
The reason I ask is that my sister still carries the ashes of her oh after 8 years. When she visits me she plonks the urn on my sideboard while we eat, it sits on the coffee table while we watch tv and goodness only knows where it is in the bedroom at night. Am I being insensitive to think this is OTT?

eazybee Mon 12-Feb-18 11:13:44


Nonnie Mon 12-Feb-18 11:18:35

Please don't judge her. I know that does sound OTT but people cope in their own ways and, unless you have been in the same situation, it is very difficult to understand.

DS's neighbour, who was 94, told her daughter that she was now ready to 'go in the cupboard' a couple of weeks before she died. Apparently her husband's ashes had been kept there for many years.

DiL's sister lost someone dear and had some of his ashes put into a tattoo.

We haven't done anything with DS's ashes yet, we have ideas of what to do but want to be sure that everyone is happy with whatever the final decision is. I don't know how hard it will be to part with them, will it feel like another bereavement?

Luckygirl Mon 12-Feb-18 11:19:13

I think it is unusual to take them around with you - many people keep them indefinitely, but usually at home.

kittylester Mon 12-Feb-18 11:22:25

I could understand (possibly) her wanting to keep them near but it's wrong to inflict 'him' on you.

The victorian had jewellery that could contain Ashes or locks of hair, could you but her something like that? And, I know that you can have ashes made into jewellery or ornaments. Suggest either of those things.

MissAdventure Mon 12-Feb-18 12:20:16

Whatever brings comfort is fine by me.
It does seem strange to carry the urn around, but its harmless enough.

paddyann Mon 12-Feb-18 12:39:41

I dont understand it,once someones dead they're gone...end of.The remains are just that .they aren't the person you loved...that person went when the light left their eyes.I dont visit cemeteries or talk to gravestones either,frankly I find that a bit odd.Almost as if you're proving to folk around you that you cared.The same as the FB happy birthday in heaven msgs to folk long gone .I DO talk to my Dad and my D who died 41 years ago...but its inside my head while I'm working around the house or reading and I read something Dad would have found funny etc.Ashes of our loved ones were scattered at the crematorium and we haven't been back there since .The dead are dead ,remember them as they were ..a tub of ashes isn't the way to do that .

Anniebach Mon 12-Feb-18 13:17:23

Why bother talking to them Paddyann? No different talking to your father whilst sweeping the floor to talking to him in a graveyard .

The woman who carries the ashes with her needs to, this is all that matters

Nonnie Mon 12-Feb-18 13:23:44

paddyann I think that is very insensitve. What effect do you think your post has an those who are grieving?

paddyann Mon 12-Feb-18 13:45:04

I thought this was a a forum for DIFFERING opinions it appears that I was wrong .I think its may be time to leave this group.If all people want is egos massaged and no REAL opinions theres no need for anyone to be here .Nonnie we ALL grieve in our own way ,it was my fathers anniversary on Saturday ,I remembered him by playing the music he loved ,not by crying over ashes....

Elrel Mon 12-Feb-18 13:45:05

My DM's wish was to be scattered on a relative's grave. It's in a lovely overgrown hilltop churchyard. Some went down the cracks in the stone but most were whirled by the wind out over the Bristol Channel. I found myself saying 'Fly, mummy!' and felt sure she'd have been happy with that.

Elrel Mon 12-Feb-18 13:49:03

Paddyann, it's possible to differ without shouting and certainly without being thoughtless and near brutal in your choice of words.

Peardrop50 Mon 12-Feb-18 14:00:20

Thanks for the replies. I try not to judge her but I don't much like the ashes being brought with her to my home.
I have several friends who haven't parted with their DH's or DW's ashes and I can appreciate their reasons but also am happy that they are kept discreetly in their own home. DH and I have discussed the idea that the first of us to go will keep the ashes in a cupboard to be sprinkled together by our family when the other goes too. More sentiment than belief that there is anything more than ashes.
So I think I worded my post badly. Should have asked 'Is it usual to carry the ashes of ones OH wherever you go?'
PaddyAnn, I do agree that they are no longer ones loved one but I suppose to some it is the last tangible thing and therefore hard to let go. I too chat to my Dad about stuff that happens that would have interested or amused him, same thing I suppose. Holding on to what we have.
I do sympathise with my sister but find this 'transporting of the urn' even to restaurants strange and at times even embarrassing.
I can't begin to imagine how anyone would cope with the loss of a child at whatever age, heartfelt apologies, compassion and love if my post is insensitive to those who have suffered such a tragedy.

Elegran Mon 12-Feb-18 14:02:31

Yes, it is a forum for different opinions, Paddyann. You are allowed to talk to your Dad in your head, others are allowed to talk to their loved ones out loud, and some people find it focusses their thoughts on their dear departed to have their actual physical ashes near them.

I don't understand either - but what I don't get is why you are getting so worked up at people who didn't like you dismissing other people's way of remembering that you feel the need to stomp off and leave. No-one is rejecting your way - just wanting you to be tolerant of other ways.

Peardrop50 Mon 12-Feb-18 14:14:44

Paddyann, please don't go. Your political views and lots of your points are totally opposite to my own and at times I have judged you to be a bit abrasive BUT always interesting.
GN would be so boring if we all agreed and would be poorer for not having your contribution.

Anniebach Mon 12-Feb-18 14:24:39

Paddyann, your opinion is yours to express, you do not believe in a soul, you are an atheist, fair enough but do you think your mocking of people who visit and tends graves as - almost proving to people they care is not too harsh

Grief is such a personal thing, we all have to work through it in our own way , there is no right or wrong way to come to terms with the death of a loved one . In my opinion.

Jalima1108 Mon 12-Feb-18 14:27:56

You can have a diamond made from someone's ashes, then it/they can be turned into jewellery.
After all, the ashes are carbon, diamonds are carbon and the spirit has gone from that person. As paddyann says, you can still talk to them, which you can do wherever and if it brings comfort to have their ashes near then a piece of jewellery would seem to be a good idea.

I would have thought that carrying an urn of ashes around with you wherever you go could be quite cumbersome but each to their own as I can understand someone wanting to keep them.

However, I would prefer to be scattered to the four winds and be free myself.

MissAdventure Mon 12-Feb-18 14:32:12

My daughter had some of my mums ashes made into a necklace. Not my 'thing' at all, but it was very delicate and pretty, and engraved with 'Always with me'.

trisher Mon 12-Feb-18 14:35:54

I wouldn't dare carry someone's ashes about with me. I'd be bound to drop it and the top would come off somewhere incredibly unsuitable. Either that or I'd leave them on a bus or train. Can you imagine trying to explain to lost property?

Jalima1108 Mon 12-Feb-18 14:37:56

Have you read The Keeper of Lost Things trisher?
I will say no more as I wouldn't want to upset anyone; however, it is a lovely book and your post reminded me of it.

Bellasnana Mon 12-Feb-18 14:47:59

Well, I can understand the OP’s sister maybe feeling comfort from having her DH’s remains still with her.

When my best friend, of 50 years standing, died in September, I spent a week with her family. Her ashes were in the house and I felt comforted having a few days with her still there. Her husband even took her ashes with him to feed the ducks because she had loved doing that.

After we had scattered her ashes, the house felt so sad and empty because she had really gone.

We all deal with these things in our own way and it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks.

Of course, everyone is entitled to an opinion, but not when it involves a lot of shouty capital letters. That’s just rude.

nanaK54 Mon 12-Feb-18 15:01:50

I'm so pleased that my parents made their wishes known to us before they died. My dad went out to sea from his favourite beach, my mum is in a wood in my village, she wanted to be amongst the bluebells so we 'kept' her until the bluebells were blooming.
If my DH 'goes' first I intend to 'keep' his ashes and instruct our sons to put the two of us together when my time comes, we would also like to be amongst the bluebells........I doubt that I would carry him around with me, but who knows.......

Lynnebo Mon 12-Feb-18 15:15:13

I've had Mum's ashes for 20 years! Dad gave them to me with instructions for when he passed. He then remarried (at 74 !). When my sister died 8 years ago Dad wanted Mum's ashes to be put with her, but despite his request my BIL secretly scattered the ashes in a park that I don't think Mum had even ever visited. Dad died last year leaving his widow and Dad's ashes were scattered at the crem - the fields where he wanted to be scattered is now a housing estate!
So Mum is still in my drawer and she will be coming with me! 💝

Nonnie Mon 12-Feb-18 15:15:58

Yes Padyann is is a forum for different opinions but I think most of us would feel it is not a forum for insensitivity on a thread such as this one.

Say what you like, hopefully politely, on threads about politics etc but surely there are some threads where a little tact is more appropriate. There are at least 3 people on this thread who have been bereaved recently, just think how you would feel if you were one of them.

trisher Mon 12-Feb-18 15:23:19

Haven't read that Jalima1108 I will put it on my to-read list. Thanks.