What to Say When Scattering Ashes
Send your deceased loved one back to the earth with thoughtful words and these ideas on what to say when scattering ashes.
Experiencing the loss of someone important will never be easy. Knowing what to say when scattering ashes is also never easy.
Arranging a cremation and then spreading a loved one’s ashes is a good way to go. It’s a meaningful way to honor them and their legacy. But what is the right thing to say when scattering a loved one’s ashes?
While there are many directions you can go, finding the right words to say does take time. While everything may feel overwhelming, don’t worry about how to speak at a scattering ashes ceremony. Here are some ideas on how to scatter ashes of deceased ones with thoughtful words.
Give a Eulogy or Speech
One of the more popular ways to honor a loved one’s memory is to eulogize them in a speech before you scatter their ashes. You can prepare this ahead of time. It’s better to stay brief with a eulogy on your loved one, but you can still make it impactful.
First, begin with a self-introduction and how you know the person who passed. Set your loved one’s life into context near the beginning of your eulogy. Speak about their life and accomplishments. “We are gathered here today to honor the life of ______” is overused, so try to keep it unique.
You’ll also need to think about what tone you’d like to use in the speech, whether it is more humorous or more somber. Make sure you also thank those attending the ceremony as well.
Reminisce on Their Life
You can also reminisce with those there to help spread ashes of your loved one. Whether it’s a funny or serious memory, painting a full picture of someone’s life before scattering their ashes makes the experience more meaningful.
Those who are there with you to scatter will have their own memories or experiences with your loved one to share, and it can build on the energy before or after you scatter ashes. You can do this by gathering in a circle or semi-circle and taking turns sharing memories. You can also have a more freeform conversation, depending on the mood.
If you’re alone, you can still reminisce (as you likely would already do). Recall all of the precious moments between you and your loved one to set the mood you want for scattering their ashes.
Depending on the religious beliefs of your lost loved one or those attending, you can pray before and/or after you spread ashes. Some religions, such as Judaism and Islam, forbid cremation unless under extraordinary circumstances. Others, like Hinduism and Buddhism, have it ingrained in their religious practices.
If your loved one was Christian, sometimes finding the right prayer is tricky. The Lord’s Prayer is always a good option. If you’re looking for something a little more concrete, you can also recite Bible passages before a collective prayer.
Psalm 23:4 is a good choice too. This psalm speaks to the relationship between those who have died and the Lord when moving through death or “the darkest valley,” knowing how the Lord is there throughout the journey.
Ecclesiastes 3 is also a beautiful option for a recited psalm. It includes the sections “A Time for Everything,” “The God-Given Task,” and “From Dust to Dust.” All of these are common Biblical recitations for those who have died.
Recite Quotes or Poems
For both religious and non-religious people, sharing relatable quotes or poems about your loved one’s passing is another excellent way to sum up how it feels to have a loved one pass. Using a quote or reciting a poem might help you put into words how you feel about the passing of your loved one if you feel stuck thinking of your own words.
If you’re feeling lost on what to say, here are a few great quotes and poems to consider:
“It is not the length of life, but the depth of life. He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson hits home with this quote that encompasses the meaning of death and life in one.
“Because I could not stop for Death / He kindly stopped for me / The Carriage held but just Ourselves / and Immortality.”
This poem by Emily Dickinson is a classic one with great imagery to help you give a proper send-off to your loved one. It is both whimsical and serious enough for an occasion like spreading ashes.
“O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done.”
Walt Whitman holds the somber feeling of grief in his poem “O Captain! My Captain!” Its tone is both quick and emotional, describing mourning well.
Quotes or poems are also good jumping-off points for you to construct your own eulogy or speech if you decide to do so. Find a quote or poem that resonates with you and how you want to memorialize the life of your loved one.
A Moment of Silence
Sometimes there isn’t much that can be said at all. Saying nothing is, depending on the ceremony, better than saying just anything.
If you’re scattering ashes of a loved one with a group of people, you can share a collective silence. Group silences are powerful ways to bring everyone together to mourn your loved one.
A moment of silence is meant to honor your loved one. It allows those in attendance at a scattering ashes ceremony to pause and use the moment to fill themselves with memories or feelings of your deceased loved one.
What to Say When Scattering Ashes
Knowing what to say when scattering ashes isn’t easy, but the right words will come to you: through a eulogy, reminiscing, praying, silence, or sharing a quote. You can even use a combination of these different ways to craft a unique statement to remember your deceased loved one’s life.
If you need to arrange a cremation for your deceased loved one, book an appointment today. We’re sorry for your loss, and we’d like to help you honor your loved one.