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We lived in Southern California, but my family owns a beautiful lake cabin in Minnesota and my wife Mary always wanted her ashes spread there. My brother is headed up to the cabin in a few weeks and has offered to handle the spreading of the ashes at the lake. My finances aren't real strong and it may take me a year or so to get up there. I'm also thinking that the spreading of the ashes may be a real emotional challenge for me. I honestly don't think Mary would care who spread her ashes, as long as her wishes were honored, which I am sure my brother will do. It's just kind of hard for me to puzzle through all this logically. What do you folks think about this situation? Any suggestions or insights for me? Thanks in advance for your thoughts and your time.

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Hi Rob, welcome to our little community. Frank and I had no kids or our own but he had 4 from previous marriages. I tried to arrange a ceremony for a time and a place when all could attend but it didn't work out. Only two of his kids showed up, I was thinking to myself, I should have just scattered the ashes privately by myself.

But guess what, EVERYONE who was there got a great deal out of the ceremony/boat trip. They all told me how much it meant to them. We were away when he passed and there was not a wake or funeral. So it was a final "get-together" if you will, of the people who cared most about him.

Not sure if you have any family or not, it can be a meaningful time for all concerned. Your heart will guide you to the right decision for you.

Hi Rob,
Sorry for the reason you join us but glad you found your way here. You know, if you are having mixed feelings about this, why not wait until you are not as emotional--in a year or so, it may not be so overbearing. Either way, it is a decision only you can make but I have to agree, there is no timetable, no right or wrong. I waited a few weeks before holding a memorial service so that I could feel a little more composed and that helped me. It still took all the energy I had but it was best for me. I think there is nothing wrong with asking your brother to do this if you feel it's best for you. I can't offer any better advice except that we do whatever feels right for us at the time. To have a brother that would even make such an offer shows real compassion and understanding. You've got a good brother!

Thanks all for the thoughtful comments. I just want to do whatever's "right" by Mary in this situation. I know her spirit is not with her ashes but I kind of feel that the sooner its gets done the sooner she can have complete peace and keep moving forward. And maybe me, too. I was able to have a nice memorial service for her about a month after she passed with many of our friends. We and most of our friends are "Disney people" and Mary was a former Disneyland Cast Member, and they were kind enough to let us use a private area by Disneyland for the memorial. So we have had that, which I felt was the important thing to do for everyone to get some kind of coming together and beginning the healing process.

I feel that the spreading of the ashes is more of a technical issue that just needs to get properly handled, but I don't feel that I have to do it personally. It wouldn't be "saying goodbye" or anything like that, as I will always celebrate her in my heart and my home no matter what.

I'm still considering the best way to handle this, but I'm very grateful for your thoughts and insights. This isn't easy, but I am getting it that none of this will be easy. I didn't anticipate at all just how tough this would be. Having the support of this community certainly helps!

If there is one thing I feel certain about, though, is that if my actions come from a  place of love and respect for Mary, I can't really screw it up. So I will be sure to use that place as my touchstone in my decision.

We were married 30 years, had no children, and my wife's parents were gone.  They have a family plot in Pittsburgh, so I called the cemetery to find out what it would cost to have herinterred with her parents. By the time they were through with the urn, the vault, and the digging and covering, it was about $1000 dollars! Plus my airfare,car and hotel. My thought was neither she nor her parents would care, and there was nobody back there to visit her grave,

We spent every anniversary at a hotel on a peninsula in Oxnard, CA, so I rented a kayak, paddled out into the open ocean, said a few prayers, did some reminiscing, and scattered her ashes at sea.

No, it won't be easy. We had been married for thirty years and were childless as well.

I buried a portion of my wife's ashes at her parents' grave three months after her death, and totally lost it in front of my two brothers who had joined me for moral support. Both offered to do this task for me, but I felt I had to do it on my own--and I'm glad I did, hard as it was. I have since returned to other places to scatter ashes: the university where we had met, the lake where we had walked while on dates, and places we had vacationed. A few years ago, I went abroad and scattered portions of her ashes at Victoria Falls, Lake Malawi and the Cape of Good Hope. (Jude had always wanted to go to Africa.) Most recently, I sent a portion of her ashes over Niagara Falls. Someday, I'll scatter some more of them in Paris and Vienna. The final portion in the urn is to be mixed with my own ashes and scattered at a place I have designated. I won't be around to verify, but I am relying on one of my sibs to do this for me.

We buried my wife in a crypt, but while she was in hospice, I cut off a lock of her hair and carry it in my wallet in a small plastic bag.    After I retire, I plan to go to the Vatican and leave some of the hair there, possibly in a planter somewhere.    I plan to leave some more in Greece.    She wasn't much for traveling, but the only places she talked about traveling to were the Vatican and Greece, so I plan to leave some of her in both places.    Since she passed away, I have gotten the travel bug.   I am on my second visit to Chicago since she passed away.    I'm a big baseball fan and since she passed away have gone to ballparks in Arizona, Chicago (White Sox), Toronto, Cleveland and Wednesday, I will be going to Wrigley Field.   That will be my 18th MLB stadium.    I have 12 more to go.

Gosh, I forgot to cut a lock of his hair off. I had cut it all off before the chemo but I did not think to keep any of it. I have one hair in his hairbrush and a little in his electric shaver and I am keeping that hairbrush and shaver safely. He cleaned everything after each use so I do not have much left. I cannot believe that I have nothing of his physical self but memories. I tried travelling but I was so miserable seeing all the couples that I was dying to get back home.

You are right, Mary does not care.  Do what is best for you, she will understand.  She is with you, not with her ashes.  I had a session with a medium a year ago and my late husband told me he didn't care what i did with them.  (I have some in a vase with me in the house and some buried outside under trees; he told me both wishes while he was alive, but i was worried I did it wrong.  He didn't care any longer  He laughed that I should worry about it.)  They are with us, and don't care about their discarded bodies.  They have moved on but can still be here with us somehow.  They are not with their ashes.  So stop stressing about it.

Best wishes and healing to you, Rob.  Mary is with you.

Thanks again to all for your thoughts and insights. My brother is taking care of the spreading of the ashes at the place that she loved. Her wishes are being honored and respected and I feel that all is good with that. I have been fortunate to find a local Soaring Spirits Meetup group and I go to the meetings as often as my schedule permits. I find it comforting to share time and feelings with others who have suffered through the same thing. Mary was the love of my life, and we had 30+ wonderful years together. That is an amazing blessing, and I will always be so, so grateful that the one woman on this planet who I fell in love with chose to share so much of her life and love with me. Thanks again for your kind thoughts and words.

Hello Rob, glad your wonderful love requested her cremains be spread in MN at a lake she loved.  I am also from Northern MN, have been taking my dear wonderful Hubby's cremains with me now three summers traveling from Southern AZ to the Canadian MN border to spend summers at my family home.  We were together 34 years, we often vacationed with my family at their lake community (RV, cabins, etc), he always loved it since he was from Ontario.  During his long illness, I often asked if he wanted some or all of his ashes spread in MN, he would usually just tell me; "What ever you want babe, it's just fine with me".  I still have not been able to part with any of his cremains, he rides shot gun when I travel up and back across the states, and has a special alter here in our southwestern home.  Rob, keep attending the Soaring groups they really do help you focus on healing through the process of your grief.  Take care fellow traveler on this journey that none of us want be on.  Keep posting, folks here get it!!!

My brother and his spouse handled it, and it turned out beautifully, I think.

I'm glad you have this video Rob and thank you for sharing that with us.


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