Tuesday, May 8, 2012

All That Remains ...

One of my cousins posted a link on my Facebook page she thought I might be interested in. It was a link to a news story about a couple of guys who have started a business packing relatives' ashes into bullets and shooting them out, as a way of scattering their ashes. Only a small portion is used and the families can decide what they want to do with the rest. It was, indeed, an intriguing story and interesting way to deal with human remains.

I'm against guns. However, I didn't think it was a particularly bad way to be disposed on. At risk of sounding flippant, which is not my intention, it seemed like one last joy ride.

There is concern these days about overcrowding in cemeteries. Cremation is a solution. However, not everyone wants to be cremated. Furthermore, it goes against the religious beliefs of many. Even with cremation, the ashes have to go somewhere, be it in an urn, a cemetery or scattered.

My mother-in-law's ashes sit in an urn at my father-in-law's house. Apparently, when he passes away, their ashes are to be mingle and scattered. It's kind of romantic, except for the fact, that I remember my mother-in-law telling me years ago that she wanted her ashes to be buried under a rose bush. Perhaps when the time comes, I'll remove a little of hers and put them under my David Austin so she can finally have her wish. I hope that when the day comes to finally scatter their mingled remains it's not a windy one. I've heard that the lovely notion of scattering ashes can come back and hit you in the face - literally - if the wind is blowing in the wrong direction. That is one of the things I like about the notion of scattering by shooting; it eliminates having your relatives' ashes become a mouthful.

My sister and I researched and stewed over what to do with our mother's ashes. For a short period of time they sat in a box on her sofa in exactly the spot where she used to sit. When I went to her house to sort her things and prepare the house for sale I liked having her there. I imagine my father-in-law feels that way. Ultimately we put my mother's ashes in a cemetery near her house, facing the sea and looking out over the school where she used to teach and where half of her grandchildren go. They sit in a wall, rather than taking up ground space.

Since putting my mother's ashes into the cemetery, I've only been to visit a handful of times. Considering the fact that I'm down there often dropping the children at school this speaks volumes. I know there are many people out there that get comfort out of visiting their relatives graves or plaques. I'm not one of them. My mother is gone but I carry her in my heart. In the months following her death, she came to me in dreams. As I cleaned out her house, I had conversations - albeit one-sided! - with her. There is a lovely photo of her on her plaque but it's not her, it's just some plaque in a graveyard.

Despite being Jewish, a people that bury their dead, I love the idea of scattering ashes. It seems like the ultimate "ashes to ashes". Furthermore, I have to admit, I kind of like the idea of having that joy ride out of the barrel of a gun!

Here is the link that my cousin sent me.

Holy Smoke



  1. Good California morning. I found you through Kaz, with whom I enjoy a good conversation now and again, and immediately liked what I found here. I enjoy the dry humor with which you talk about getting a mouthful of relative, and taking the final joyride out of a gun. I hadn't heard of this before; thanks for the dose of enlightenment!

    Best of luck with your novel. I wrote five of them before I gave it up as stealing too much time from my family. It might have been different if they had been bringing in some much-needed income, but they weren't. At least the grandkids will have a little something extra to puzzle over. I still write the occasional short story, and all this stuff is gradually getting put on my website. Once you have the bug, you never lose it. In your story, you might have had a primative microwave if you were affluent; a dishwasher was a possibility, again, if you were well-to-do; your appliances might have been avocado or copper, and would possibly have had a built-in, Star Trekky look. And there was more pollution, though it was on the way down from its peak in the sixties, when here in the States, a river in Ohio caught on fire (!), which did a lot to spark the modern environmental movement. And junky products were well-established, though not yet dominant. My wife and I, who met in the 70s and have kids your age, lived through that era. We often say that you can't buy anything of quality anymore, no matter what you're willing to pay. It doesn't exist, because no one is willing to put the time, effort, money, or pride into making it. It's just, make some piece of garbage, sell it for top dollar, and disappear before you get a warranty claim.

    Oh, and we recently tried vinegar on our weeds, and we too found it very hit and miss. It did help with one particular form of kamikaze grass that was drinking Roundup for an after dinner cocktail; others, not so much.

    Well, bottom line is I like this, and will be back frequently to see what you're up to. I've joined, and will put a link on my site as soon as I depart. Swing by for a visit when you get a chance:


    I've just gone freelance, so most of my material is still on my old blog, which you can link to until the end of this month. Hope to see you there! Take care...

    1. Hi Jack
      Nice to "meet" you. I'm glad you like the blog and appreciate your comments.
      I'll be checking out your site soon.