Scattering the cremated remains, or cremains, of the deceased is a popular practice. In many cases, when people are cremated, their memorial service does not include the remains; they are scattered privately, inurned and kept by the family or placed in a burial niche. However, there is a growing trend to combine the memorial service and the release of the remains. Here are some ways in which a cremation ceremony can be a very meaningful experience after someone passes away.
People Can See the Remains
Viewing the remains of the deceased can be the most difficult part of any funeral service, but it is also one of the most important. It is a significant part of the grieving process because it helps people accept the reality of the death and loss. As hard as it can be, it is also the beginning of the healing process in dealing with the loss. While people will not see a body or a casket, ashes are still something physical that people can see and have more impact than an urn or a photograph.
Loved Ones Can Share
If the deceased had stated their wish to have their ashes scattered, the ceremony allows their loved ones to share in fulfilling this important wish. Scattering the ashes is the last physical connection between the living and the deceased, and being a part of it is a tribute to the one who has passed away.
The Location Becomes a Connection to the Deceased
The location can become a proxy for a cemetery and give people a place to visit, reflect and remember the deceased. If the ashes are released in a publicly accessible place like a beach, a body of water or a scenic overlook, it will always draw loved ones and strengthen their memories of the one who passed away. If it was one of the deceased's favorite locations, there will be more of a connection to them each time a loved one visits it.
It Is Symbolic
When cremains are released, it symbolizes the deceased's transition from the world of the living. In some faiths, it symbolizes their return to their earthly origin and the completion of their earthly purpose. If the deceased was ill, in pain or otherwise suffering in life, the release of the cremains can symbolize their freedom from their burdens. This can be very comforting to their loved ones, especially those closest to them.
Some people embrace religious beliefs that include a transition to a spiritual realm after death. Watching the ashes disperse can help guests visualize the deceased's transition, whether it is to a place of eternal rest or the next place on the soul's journey. Whatever their spiritual beliefs, people can benefit from the symbolism of the ceremony to come to terms with the death.
Whether the deceased planned their own cremation services or left the planning to their survivors, seeing the ashes scattered has a profound effect. If a loved one has expressed a desire to be cremated, or if you attend a ceremony, consider how these factors can help the living with their loss.