Over the past couple of decades, more and more people have begun to choose cremation. Cremation uses less resources than a modern burial, and costs significantly less. While natural burial has replaced cremation as the most environmentally friendly method of disposition (we’ll discuss the environmental costs of cremation in another post), many people are still attracted to cremation for psychological and financial reasons. But this leaves many families with one big problem – What do we do with the ashes?
I’ve seen this quite a lot, actually. A family who have been holding on to cremated remains with no idea what to do with them. I’ve heard of a wife keeping her husband’s remains on an end table in the living room. Another family kept a grandparent’s remains in the closet. One family even told me they had an uncle’s remains in the trunk of the car! (They joked that this was in case their car got stuck in a snow drift and they needed a little traction to get out – my horrified look elicited their assurances that he would have found this incredibly amusing.)
But I can understand the difficulty. It is illegal to scatter on private property without permission. And do you want to scatter remains at your home if you may need to move? Our state parks may allow scattering, but the family must obtain special permission. Scattering on Lake Erie does not require a permit, according to the Ohio Funeral Director’s Association, but anyone disposing of cremated remains must have a burial permit as well as the cremation authorization form. It can be difficult to navigate all these different rules, and obtain permission from the right person. And if you don’t obtain permission, you could end up getting charged with criminal or civil trespass.
In spite of that, some people still chance it. One family shared with me the story of a clandestine trip to the national park with plastic baggies in their pockets, discreetly shaking out the remains of a loved one as they hiked their favorite trail. While this may have been appropriate for them, we have found that many people would like something a little more official.
In addition to the burial of cremated remains, we are also offering scattering services at Foxfield Preserve. For a $250 fee, we will record the scattering location of your loved one, as well as some genealogical information. Future generations will have record of the final resting place, and your family will have the comfort of scattering in a beautiful nature preserve – without any super-sneaking necessary!