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What You Need To Know If You're Going To Scatter Ashes

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One of the more popular ways to deal with cremains (the remains of a body that has been cremated) is to scatter the ashes, and many people have an image in their minds of taking the ashes out to sea and dropping them in the water. It's not that simple. The act of scattering ashes isn't that difficult, but you do need to be aware of certain legalities and practical issues before throwing those ashes into the wind or water.

Always Check the Wind

Speaking of wind, always, always check the wind direction right before you scatter the ashes. If the wind is very strong, you may want to wait until the next day in the morning, when the wind might be less of a concern. Ashes fly far and are very light; the wind will pick them up easily. You do not want to spray your companions with a dead person's ashes; it's as disturbing as it sounds. If you can't wait for a time when there is less wind, position yourself and everyone else so that the ashes blow away from all of you.

Religious Restrictions May Apply

Few religions prohibit cremation (though let's acknowledge that there are some that forbid adherents from cremating deceased people, as it's important to honor religious choices of a person after that person's death). However, at least one, Roman Catholicism, allows cremation but forbids scattering the ashes. If the deceased was a devout Catholic who told you before they died that they did not want their ashes scattered, please honor that. You'll have to arrange for an entombment or burial.

Follow the Clean Water Act

You can scatter ashes in water, but be aware of the Clean Water Act. This dictates how far out you have to be from shore before you can drop the ashes in the water. When arranging for a boat to take you out, check with the charter company about current regulations. If you're using your own boat, check to see if there have been changes in the law.

Ashes Include Bone Fragments

Finally, you're not getting powder in that urn from the crematorium. You'll find ashes but also pieces of bone. These shards of bone can be rather sharp, so be very careful if you're dropping the ashes in the ground and mixing them in with soil.

Cremation is an economical and generally environmentally friendly way to deal with a deceased person's body. Scattering ashes takes care of the issue of what to do with those ashes after the cremation is done. Just be sure that when you scatter them, you do so legally and in accordance with any religious requirements.

For more information about cremation, contact a company like Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel.