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Ashes - Splitting After Cremation
December 27, 2013 6:07 PM   Subscribe

Ashes taken against both the letter and spirit of the dead's wishes.

My uncle passed away a few months ago and now we're all back in town. The instructions were clear, he wanted to be cremated and wanted to go where my grandparents go.

During the scattering my cousin (the executor who has probate) put some of the ashes in a baggie. He gave some to his sister who was most likely going to split them with his ex wife who didn't want to have any ashes. He also took some for himself.

My father is incredibly distraught about this but my grandparents just don't want disharmony. I'm absolutely livid because I consider the wishes of the dead as sacrosanct more than anything. I had a talk to my cousin and tried to make him respect the stated wishes but my other cousin already left with her ashes.

All I've come up with is this is bullshit but I don't know what to do from here. Do I just drop it for the sake of harmony? Do I try to force them to respect the wishes of their dead father any way I can? Do I just cut ties with the responsible party?
posted by Talez to Human Relations (10 answers total)
 
If the deceased's children are content with their actions, I think you should butt out. I'd be incredibly pissed off if my cousin tried to tell me what to do with my own parents' remains. Your father, if anyone, should be the one to say something, but I can't say that I would care what my parents' siblings had to say about the matter, either.
posted by gatorae at 6:18 PM on December 27, 2013 [24 favorites]


Uncle is dead, and his children are making their peace as they see fit. Leave it alone and move on.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:19 PM on December 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


Not much you can do about assholes.

This said, once the person is gone it's about the living. If there were legal documents in place you could get a lawyer and pursue those options, but that's a cost and a hassle.

I'd let it go and if the person who took them means something to you, keep him in your life. If not life's too short for assholes too.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:20 PM on December 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I wouldn't drop it for the sake of harmony. I would probably drop it for the sake of futility though. If your uncle's parents or children really want the ashes back I think it would be worth the confrontation and unpleasantness of standing up on their behalf. If not though I don't see that there's much that you could do that would relieve the distress that's already been associated with this experience.
posted by headnsouth at 6:21 PM on December 27, 2013


I think if you really want to make an impression and/or cut ties you should make a ghost costume in your Uncle's likeness and "haunt" the party responsible. Should work out great unless some teenagers with a talking dog get too nosy.

But probably the right thing to do is to just drop it. Your uncle wouldn't want everybody hating each other over his ashes, I'm sure.
posted by johnpoe50 at 6:22 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


They were returned and scattered.
posted by Talez at 6:33 PM on December 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm glad they were returned, Talez! Also, people act weird around death sometimes; odd feuds and fights can occur when someone passes. People will fight over worthless figurines or pieces of furniture because they're sort of in shock and dealing with a lot of emotions. Don't be too harsh on your relatives.
posted by emjaybee at 7:05 PM on December 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


For me, the chain of deference in bereavement goes: spouse > children > parents > siblings. Niece/nephews and ex-spouses fall in somewhere after this and if they have any say at all it's likely they'll be battling and one's dropping out of the conversation and declining to participate in the decisions will be to the benefit of the future.
posted by rhizome at 8:20 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm sorry you went through this and I'm glad they were returned. But I wonder if his children thought they were mostly following his wishes and that their dad wouldn't mind if they had just a little of him. Unless the will specifically said "and don't do anything else", they might not have even thought they were doing something outside his wishes. I wouldn't get into a battle over it...family is important.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 8:43 PM on December 27, 2013


good they wound up scattering them. if they hadn't, I would've called that lifelong grudge stuff.
posted by jpe at 4:54 AM on December 28, 2013


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