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Delayed burial of ashes
Posted: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 6:43 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4122

Hi Everyone,

I could use some help, ideas and even thoughts or opinions.

My mother died June 2015.  Ten months later I was quasi planning a 500 mile drive to add her ashes to that of my fathers.  Instead, I had a house fire.  The fire was contained mostly to the bathroom but adjacent rooms were touched.  The worst was the water damage due to the fire department attempts to extinguish and of course a great deal of smoke damage throughout.

I had to move out of my home and into an apartment.  Returned to my remodeled home October of 2016.  I have had to deal with 25+ years of boxes (household items and clothing that could be salvaged was hauled away, cleaned, santitized and returned). Addtionally, I have had boxes of papers to find and sort.  It's been an ordeal coupled with the grief.

I am more settled than before (still have not purchased a sofa as there were too many boxes) but I'm much closer to a return to some normal.

Im thinking once again that its time to bury mom with dad.  The strongest motivator is that mom said this is what she wanted.  I feel that when someone dies they need to be laid to rest.  Eternal rest.  On the other hand, she survived the fire (as I did) thankfully.  She is in her box shaped urn which is inside of a velvet bag.  Crucifix's that rested on the urn throughout the funeral are on top of the velvet bag.  She is safe where she is.  The velvet bag with the contained ashes within are in my bedroom on the top of my tall chest of drawers.  I have a heart shaped keep sake urn with a small portion of her ashes that I can take with me to bed or room to room if I'm feeling lonely or lost.Years ago my sister (who disowned mom and me 8 years ago) use to joke around about having mom's ashes on her fireplace mantel.  When mom talked about being buried with my father she added I "I don't want to be sitting on a mantel."

I just keep thinking I need to lay her to rest.  Her ashes will e 500 miles away.  I was never one that had a need per se to isit my father's grave although I did so when I visited my mom pre Alzheimer's.  However, mom's death is different.  It was mom and me for eight years- I miss her terribly.
Thoughts about what I should do.  Additionally, this would be quite a finality so I am interested in ideas that I might want to include when she is buried.  I will be at the grave site when she is added and joined with my father.  The finality/end frightens me that is will the whole grief process start again?

If I do move forward in burying her (funeral director believes I should do this) I planned to bear witness to the actual burial.  Dried flowers are available for purchase on line (sprinkling them at the grave).  Ideas for goods to add to the grave?  The day following the burial I was planning to have a Priest come to the grave (the opening would be covered with soil) to bless it.   Of course, I would also arrange to have burial flowers/floral arrangement?  What else have I not thought of? Music.  Photos?  What ideas do you have? Since there was already a formal funeral we do not need grave site services, just the Priest's blessing (holy water and prayers).  I'm trying to prepare emotionally by preparing "things" to do at the time of the burial.  I dread the long lonely drive of 500 miles back to my home without mom's ashes.  Help me.please.

Thanking you all in advance.




King Boo
Posted: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 6:59 AM
Joined: 1/9/2012
Posts: 3626

Bela, the only real company we are kept by our departed loved ones is the relationship that we had with them.  The intangibles.

Having Dad in my dining room or Mom in her closet (also for almost 2 years) did not mean they were with me.  In fact, it was kind of disturbing, and in my mind, I could hear my Mom saying "Seriously?"

Honor your mother's wishes, a quiet personal act of you accompanying her remains is all that is needed.  It is also a major step for you to continue your living.

You will be sad but you will be OK coming home.  

Posted: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 9:19 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 21242

I remember your posts after your mother died...what to do, was very important to you.

I don't think you need to do anything except have the priest and you could just leave one of her favorite flowers.

Do this when you tell yourself it is time and, from my point of view, it is really good to know what your mother's wishes were and you will at some point fulfill her wishes.

Posted: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 11:57 AM
Joined: 6/20/2016
Posts: 3462

Five years on and I still have my mom with me, but only because I haven't been able to afford and take time off for a trip to Boston.  I want to scatter her ashes on her father's grave.  Hopefully one day I'll be able to do that.  I don't get any particular comfort from her being here, but I also don't feel scattering her here is appropriate.  So I wait.
Posted: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 12:43 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4122

Three of my highly respected Alz connected friends....I value what you have said...and I feel comforted by your words, thoughts and ideas...Thanks my dear friends.


Veterans kid
Posted: Thursday, May 11, 2017 12:28 AM
Joined: 10/17/2014
Posts: 1239

My dear Bela,

 I think that some flowers, and the priest blessing, and your mom ashes there with your dad  as was her wish-I hope that there is a little bit of closure for you. I know it's been a very rough time-just from the fire and every thing else.  You've always been a shining light to me, and I know many others. Your love for your mom is so beautiful! 

King boo is right, it will be hard, but you will be OK. If in your heart you know it is time, then it is the right decision.

Day2nite2  made a great point  about just not feeling right about scattering her moms ashes where she is at right now. I totally get the not being able to afford to go at this time.

 If you're feeling the time is right, and you're able to make the trip-know that we are virtually there with you. Maybe you can make a playlist of songs that she loved or that the both of you saying and listen to them. I know for me, it would make me cry as it does when I listen to my dad's favorite hymns... but that's part of the healing, I do believe. 

Please let us know how things go and know that I am sending you any less hugs and pop tarts and Twinkies. Also virtual gas to help you along the journey! Wait… Is that a smile? I thought so-that's what I was hoping for!  

Posted: Saturday, May 13, 2017 12:54 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4122

Virtual gas...Yes, it made me smile.  In fact, I laughed.  Send more!!

To date, have not been able to listen to music...too heart breaking.  I do catch myself silenetly humming the song played at her funeral... that's all I can do right now.  

Yes, flowers would be nice.

One thing on my shortlist (for anyone contemplating a burial soon) a few appealing small containers to put a pinch or so of the soil from the grave (this was suggested on a website somewhere)~

I will keep everyone date/time set yet...

George K
Posted: Saturday, May 13, 2017 6:11 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

When my son died, it seems as though everywhere I turned all I heard or read  was about dying.  So I quit reading books and newspapers, watching TV or listening to a radio.  After about ten days I was on the local interstate and the truck tires were making a lot of noise, so I turned on the radio.  The very first song I heard was by The Who, and the words they were singing were: "I'm free!"  I started crying - for my son had been in physical and mental pain for the past ten and a half years.  I think God will use whatever source God can to help relieve my pain.  When my wife died, the very first song I heard that morning was a favorite song of ours; Bob Dylan singing a song with the lyrics

"Oh sister am I not a brother to you?

And are not our paths the same?

To love one another,

And follow God's plan."

I swear this is true.  Nowadays I listen to music every chance I can.  Bela, you wrote that listening to music is heartbreaking for you; for me music has been hearthealing.  I hope and pray you find some peace soon.

Posted: Thursday, January 14, 2021 12:02 PM
Joined: 4/1/2014
Posts: 5213

Dear Bela, I think your plans for the burial of your mother's ashes with your father are beautiful and will hopefully give you peace on your return trip. I take the ashes that were removed from the totality of my mom's ashes with me whenever I go on trips. The ashes are in a tiny golden urn and when I'm at home, they are displayed next to a picture of mom. I always have fresh flowers or a live orchid on the shelf, plus some pretty keepsakes that remind me of mom. It is a "shrine" to honor her. Perhaps if you did something similar, you will always feel her close to you.

I meditate on our mother/daughter love for each other and hope one day to "hear" or "feel" her presence in my soul. I know she has unconditional love for me, same as my soul has for her, which is the same as my Creator has for me and I hope to feel this blissful love while I am still in the physical world. I have done much soul searching since mom passed away and believe  the veil that separates us is temporary.

Best wishes to you and to all who viewed  and responded to your message.

Posted: Friday, January 22, 2021 12:15 AM
Joined: 1/23/2017
Posts: 1327

I feel as if I really have no wisdom to add to the  " real " wisdom that has already been brought forth here, but your thread seemed like the place to say what I intend to do with my Barbara's ashes.

We both had in our wills the wish to be cremated, but there was nothing about what to do after, so this is entirely my idea. I realize that Barbara is not in that plastic box. Doing something with her ashes is just for me, and for my own peace.

Barbara loved the ocean. I mean she LOVED it. And beaches - oh my - she could spend hours and hours walking on a beach, as she searched for her treasures. Since her passing, I keep finding those treasures, all over the house.They are in baggies, in little boxes, in jars, and in tin cans. They are tucked into the corners of drawers, shelves, kitchen cabinets, and in her craft room.

Most of the treasures will be donated, along with her craft and beading supplies to a local charity.

But the ashes - they will come with me, when I take my first trip to the coast by myself in 38 years - and I will toss them as I walk along the water's edge, singing to her, as the wind and the water carry away what is left of her body.

I already have the date set, and a yurt reserved in one of the Oregon state campgrounds.

It's a lonely, empty, and too quiet house now, but it's in this quiet that I can still talk to her, and share the memories that I carry now. It was my job to carry the memories for her while she was still alive, and it's my joy to carry them now, for as long as I am able.

Posted: Friday, January 22, 2021 11:16 AM
Joined: 2/16/2017
Posts: 1836

Chrisp,    This is so sweet of you and Barbara will be with you as you spread her ashes. My DH and I also wanted to do the same thing. I have spread his ashes in Oregon's Deserts and his sons spread some of them in the Wyoming Deserts. My ashes will also go in the ocean in Oregon. I also love the ocean. Looks like Barbara and I will be sharing the same ocean along with I am sure many others. Please take care of yourself. Hugs Zetta