Cremated Remains in the Closet? Time for Spring Scattering

Cartoonist Roz Chast admitted in her popular 2014 book “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” that her parents’ “ashes” had been in her closet, alongside shoes, clothing and wrapping paper, for more than five years.

In the spring of 2016, after receiving a tip from a fan, she finally took her parents’ cremated remains to their final destination. “It was time to say goodbye,” she wrote.

Beyond giving you more closet space, there’s a deeper benefit to finding a better, more permanent place for cremated remains. Scattering “ashes” can bring meaning, relief, solace and closure to the living. From a healing hike up a favorite mountain to a trip abroad, the experience can also pay tribute to the passions of the person who has died.

Sadly, funeral homes report that about one percent of their total cases are never collected. In Los Angeles, more than 1,500 unclaimed residents were honored last year in an annual ceremony.

There are many theories about why cremated remains go unclaimed. Sometimes, it is because it is too difficult to deal with the reality of the loved one’s death and families are “not ready to let go.” Sadly, sometimes it is because of a family conflict, poverty, or homelessness. Other times, busy families just don’t know what their options are.

When you are ready to part with the “ashes” in your closet, consider creating your own “scatter day.” A scatter day is a time set aside for families to find the closure and healing that comes with a more permanent goodbye. You can create your own with a little planning.

To create your own DIY scatter day, choose a day with meaning: a birthday, anniversary or favorite holiday.  Remember, rules about scattering cremated remains vary, so do your research. Our friends at Cake have tips for creating a cremation ceremony and suggested readings.

You can also transfer the cremated remains into a display urn or consider a more novel option, like creating a diamond, tattoo or vinyl record.

Whatever you choose, we hope that the promise of new life and new beginnings that comes each spring will motivate you to find a meaningful place for your loved one.

Photo by Keegan Houser

Solace Cremation offers online arrangements for direct cremation services with one flat price and 24/7 customer service. Solace proudly serves the Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland and Seattle metro areas. Learn more.

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