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Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Looking for opinions on the etiquette regarding spreading ashes of the deceased?

Asked by Imadethisupwithnoforethought (14635points) June 14th, 2011

I have a relative who recently passed. I was not particularly close to this person.

I am on a trip to visit my hometown. I was asked by some family members where I would be staying. I mentioned I was staying at a beautiful hotel on the ocean I had gotten a deal on.

They asked me to spread the ashes of this relative at the location. I was unaware, but this relative had worked there for many years a few decades ago.

The relative who passed had many physical and psychological problems, and was very private. Nobody has until this point been able to think of a suitable location.

I absolutely have no problem doing this. Whatever.

Should I tell the hotel and have them say no, or just go ahead and worry about interruption or fiasco?

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17 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

Unless you are going to spread them in the lobby….just go for a walk along the beach at sunrise or sunset….say a few words and let their spirit go free.

zenvelo's avatar

Just go ahead and do it. Find a private spot on the shore and shake it into the sea. Be careful which way the wind is blowing, don’t stand downwind.

keobooks's avatar

I would check what the laws are in the area. Many places prohibit spreading ashes in the ocean or other places. Yes you might get away with it, but usually the laws are there for environmental protection. Find out where you are allowed to do it in the area and then pick a place. That will narrow it down a lot for you.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It depends upon the location’s laws.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I you weren’t headed to that location, how would the family have handled spreading the ashes?

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Barnacle Bill, they have been sitting on them, trying to decide what he might have wanted.

marinelife's avatar

Just go ahead with it discreetly.

FutureMemory's avatar

I would just do it discreetly, as @marinelife just said. Will it be their entire ashes? I once held the ashes of someone that passed away, and was shocked at how heavy they were.

sliceswiththings's avatar

My grandfather had a government job that came with a certain placement of his ashes. He cared more about his home and the ocean than that job, so when he passed his daughters sent his ashes to sea and buried kitty litter in the official location :)

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@FutureMemory I am totally new to this. I am agnostic, and private myself. I am now nervous I may be unprepared :)

tranquilsea's avatar

We had too many people die recently and a few of them were cremated. We just went to what ever location we thought was the right one and spread the ashes.

The last one was my husband’s grandfather. He asked us to spread his ashes on the beach in front of his house but to save some for the shuffle board and “have a game on him”. We did.

BarnacleBill's avatar

If he worked at the hotel that you are staying at, then I would ask if there is anyone who still works there that remembers him. I would buy them a “Here’s to Cousin Freddy” toast drink, not mentioning that when you check out, he will not. That will serve as your memorial service. If your relative worked there for many years, perhaps someone will have remembrances that are different than the family impression, and that will be a fitting send-off.

Jeruba's avatar

Are there any reasons for the prohibitory laws other than people’s squeamishness? Is there actually some kind of risk or hazard?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Jeruba That’s a good question. Here is the response from one US site under the heading of Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell:

There are no “scattering ashes police” in any state to ensure proper etiquette, permits, or permission are obtained and used. There are no health, safety or environmental issues to be concerned about. Your own moral compass/judgment can be equally right within the reasons of common sense. Source

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought There is more insightful information on this site that may help out.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Thank you @Pied_Pfeffer, I appreciate you taking the time to find that.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought You are very welcome. Just one request please. Do not scatter the remains on a sandy beach. Most, if not all, bodies that are cremated still contain bits of bone.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

The hotel is centered on a rocky islet with a slight beach. I will hit the rocky side.

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