Say goodbye the right way. Over 50% of Americans who died in 2020 opted to have their bodies cremated, and roughly 80% will choose cremation by 2040.
You can do many different things with your loved one’s ashes or cremains. There’s no need to rush anything. Study how to scatter ashes and then come to a decision on what to do.
How can you figure out where to scatter ashes? What are different ways to scatter ashes? Can you turn the scattering into a ceremony?
Answer these questions and you can give your loved one the send-off they deserve. Here is your comprehensive guide.
Find Legal Places to Scatter Ashes
Section 716.001 of the Texas Health and Safety Code provides the regulations on scattering ashes in Texas. You may scatter ashes over any uninhabited public land or a public waterway. You can scatter ashes in the sea, a river, or the ocean.
You can also scatter ashes over any piece of private land, as long as you have permission from the owner. This includes your loved one’s home or a cemetery where your loved one’s family members are buried.
You do not need permission or a permit to scatter ashes on public land. However, if you go to an inhabited park or nature preserve, you will need to get permission from the owners. Anyone can scatter the ashes.
Cities and states may have their own laws about where to scatter ashes. You should look into your local laws before you scatter ashes just to be safe.
If you scatter ashes outside of Texas, you need to check the laws of the state you are scattering in. Some states prohibit you from scattering them near protected wildlife refuges or in bodies of water.
You can bring ashes outside of the country, but you will need to follow that country’s laws. Read about ash shipping before you send ashes out, especially if you are shipping them to other countries.
Examine Your Loved One’s Wishes
Your loved one may have told you where they want their ashes scattered. If they did not, you should check their will to see if they have any requests.
If the will does not clarify what they want, you should talk to their immediate family members and friends. You do not have to do this right away. Some people may find the conversation too morbid, especially if their loved one has just died.
People may have different opinions about where the ashes should be. You can consider splitting the ashes up so people can put them in various locations. Some people may want to keep the ashes, and they can do so.
If you’re having trouble figuring out where to put the cremains, you can talk to your cremation company. They can give you suggestions and refer you to cemeteries with scattering gardens. You can place some or all of the ashes in a garden and grow plants dedicated to your loved one.
Figure Out How to Transport Ashes
Texas law requires crematories to store ashes in a container or urn after performing the cremation. You can choose whatever container or urn you want.
Take a look at a few different ones before the cremation occurs. Cremation urns can store a large amount of cremains, and you can find many designs for them.
Glass, natural stone, and metal urns are traditional and conservative options. If you are religious, you can get an urn in the shape of a cross or another religious symbol. You can also buy a chest, clock, or piece of statuary art.
You can keep these containers after the scattering. You can also leave the container at the site, as long as you have permission to leave it there.
Keep in mind that some people may not realize that the urn is a memorial marker, including the land owner. You may want to make a more obvious memorial or move the urn to another location.
Cast the Ashes Into the Wind
The traditional method for scattering ashes is to use the wind. You can place the cremains in a scattering tube, or you can leave them in a container. You then turn toward the wind and throw them into the air, allowing the wind to take them away.
Some people like to use their hands to scatter the ashes. You can take handfuls of ashes and throw them in the air one by one. Try holding the cremains at waist height so they do not blow toward your face if the wind changes direction.
Avoid scattering ashes on windy days. The direction of the wind may change, which can cause the cremains to fall on you.
If you want to get elaborate, you can scatter ashes while skydiving or riding on an airplane or a hot air balloon. You can also go to a cliff or mountain and throw the ashes into the air.
Some companies allow you to launch ashes into space. Ashes drift through space for several months before they fall into the atmosphere and are vaporized by radiation.
Let the Ashes Wash Away
If you choose to scatter remains in the water, you can throw them into the air and let them land in the water. Another approach is to rely on the tide.
You can dig a narrow hole on the beach or riverside. You can pour the ashes into the hole and cover them with sand. When the high tide comes in, the water will run over the ashes and bring them out to sea.
You can get creative. You can write a message in the sand and sprinkle ashes in the letters you form.
Take a look at the tide charts so you know when the tide is rolling in and out. Pick a spot on a beach or near a body of water where you will not be bothered.
Make a Memorial Marker
You can scatter ashes near a memorial marker, or you can make a marker on the scattering site. You can buy a gravestone and place the ashes in a circle around them.
Popular ways to scatter ashes include making a garden feature. You can scatter ashes over fresh soil, using a rake to distribute them across the land. You can plant a tree or flowers in the soil, allowing them to grow and become memorials for your loved one.
Many beaches, parks, and public locations allow people to buy plaques or bricks to commemorate their loved ones. You can buy one for your loved one, and you may be able to put it in the scattering area.
Turn Scattering Ashes Into a Ceremony
You can schedule the scattering to take place after a funeral, memorial service, or celebration of life. You can have whatever ceremony you want and then go to scatter the ashes.
Invite anyone you want to the scattering. However, you should bear in mind the limitations of the location you are scattering at. You should also keep in mind that some people are opposed to cremation on religious or cultural grounds, so you may not want to invite them.
Before you scatter the cremains, you or another person can give a speech or perform funeral readings. It can be as long or as short as you want it to be.
Toasting is a recent but popular tradition. Each person in attendance can get a small supply of ashes and deliver a short speech about your loved one, similar to a toast at a party or wedding. They can then scatter the ashes.
Ringing is another tradition. You can dig a circle in the soil and scatter the cremains in them. Each person then steps into the circle and gives a speech before you rake the soil and spread the ashes out.
You can play music before, during, or after the scattering. You can stay as long as you want at the site, though some people find it morbid to remain at the site for a long period of time.
Figure Out How to Scatter Ashes
Figuring out how to scatter ashes can be a little tricky. You can scatter them in any area you have permission to scatter them in. Spend time talking to family members and considering different options.
You can scatter them into the wind, or you can use water or soil. Try to leave a marker at the site so you know where to visit on future occasions. Perform whatever ceremony you want and feel free to give eulogies.
Talk to cremation professionals if you have questions. Lone Star Cremation serves the Mansfield area. Contact us today.