What Does Scattering Mean

Scattering is the act of spreading or scattering someone’s cremated remains. After someone prepares their Will, they may specify their final wishes. And, it includes what needs to be done with their remains and how they like to be memorialized. However, there are many options and it includes traditional burial as well. Many people prefer cremation and they ask their loved ones to scatter their ashes at a chosen location. The person who is entrusted to execute the task will make sure that the final wish is carried out without hurdles.

Most of the time, the deceased family members scatter the cremation ashes. This act of scattering cremation ashes is symbolized as letting go’. Also, it means sending them on their journey forward. Moreover, the location where the ash is scattered can represent their favorite activity or location.

What are the rules and laws for scattering ashes?

There are laws and regulations about scattering ashes. And, applicable policies depend on your desired location as well. Hence, it is important to check the prevailing laws with the desired location. Each state has its laws on scattering and if you intend to scatter ashes over water, you need to abide by the federal laws as well.

So, before you proceed with your planning, it is wise to check the local and federal laws that apply to scattering over water. In almost every state, scattering over public property is carried away with the permission of the local authority. Texas law, for example, states that anyone can scatter the remains over an uninhibited public land, sea or waterway, or on private land.

Also, the law states that the remains should be removed from the container before scattering. However, California’s law states that a person should only dispose of the ashes in a cemetery garden or scattering in a place where there is no prohibition with the property owner or other governing agency.

Furthermore, anyone can place the ashes in a mausoleum or columbarium, stored at home, buried in a cemetery, or stored in a religious structure like a church. If you plan to scatter the ashes over water, there are designated rules regarding burial. The Federal Clean Water Act states that the remains should be scattered in the sea at least 3 miles from land.

Also, the laws govern scattering in inland waters such as lakes or rivers. And, you have to obtain permission from the state agency that looks after the waterway. Ashes scattered at wading pools or beaches should be notified within 30 days. Regarding the scattering of ashes by air, most states don’t have specific laws.

However, federal law prohibits dropping objects that might harm the property or injure people. While the remains aren’t considered hazardous, they should be removed from the container before scattering in the air.

What to say when scattering ashes

When you are scattering the ashes of your loved one with family members or friends, you may want to say something. While there isn’t a right or wrong way about doing so, here are a few things that you need to keep in mind.

  • A little about the background of the deceased person and how they lived their life
  • A memory or a story to tell that means a lot to you. It could be anything that you remember about the person
  • Similar stories about your family members or close friends

Because it is the moment where saying less can be more, try to keep your speech short and simple. Also, keep it dignified because it is an important occasion and the right time to honor your loved one. Moreover, you can write whatever you are planning to say so that it becomes meaningful.

Hence, bring notes that you wish to say. Sometimes, it is easy to forget things. So, it is best to have them written out. That way, you don’t miss out on the important moments that you share with the deceased person. You can consider a group recitation as well.

What is a scattering garden?

Typically, a scattering garden is a separate section of the cemetery where the cremains is scattered and buried in urns. These urns are biodegradable and integrate naturally into the soil. For people who decide on having an ash scattering memorial, a scattering garden is the best option.

The scattering garden is a specific property in the cemetery. It means that it is designated and no one can use the spot in the future. Scattering gardens is the right option for people who want to scatter the ashes of their loved ones without the need to buy a plot.

As a result, a scattering garden can provide permanent memorials that give their friends and family a dedicated spot to visit the departed. Besides, scattering gardens allow for a less expensive way to instill tranquility and peace for people who want a separate place for grieving.

What is the cost of a scattering garden?

The cost of scattering gardens depends on the location and the facility is chosen. That way, the price range could be anywhere between $100 and $1000. However, when you research these places in your area, you may be surprised by how much certain cemeteries charge.

For example, some of the scattering gardens that you come across in North California start at around $500. Whereas other gardens allow you to have a dedicated spot for only $150. On the other hand, some gardens in Texas may charge you $550 for scattering.

Apart from that, the additional services that these gardens offer can make the price jump to $1000 and beyond. The services might include a dedicated bench with the deceased person’s name, a waterfall or fountain in the garden, and so on.

What to do with the urn after scattering ashes

If you are planning to keep the ash of your loved one as a memento, you don’t have to ponder about using the urn for another purpose. But if you wish to scatter the ashes, you may have an empty urn. So, what to do? If you are finding it hard to come up with something creative, perhaps these ideas might help you.

  • You can reuse the urn as a vase for live flowers if the urn can hold water
  • You can bury the biodegradable urns during the ceremony, compost, or recycle them later
  • You can donate the urns to financially weak families
  • The urn can be reused in the ceremony for other family members
  • The urn can be used in the home as a memento. You can add photos, love notes, or other items to the urns to make it an in-home memorial

Learn more about urns in this post.

How to spread ashes?

Spreading ash is a symbolic event and it helps family members to say goodbye to a deceased loved one. Because of the symbolic significance, location is an important factor. Now that you are aware of the key questions about scattering, here is how you can spread the ashes.

1. The deceased’s executor is the one responsible for making sure that the final wishes are carried out. Hence, connect with them and find out whether the deceased had wished for a specific location about spreading their ashes.

2. Research the spot and obtain permission from either the local government or the landowner. It is important to find out if there are specific guidelines that you should adhere to.

3. Arrange cremation services and retain the ashes. Besides, you can choose to receive the ash in an urn. Or else, the cremation services will get the ash in a simple box or bag and deliver it to you. Learn more about the cremation process in our post here.

4. According to the deceased’s wish, arrange for the scattering ceremony. Send invitations to family and friends and inform them about the event.

5. Bring the ashes to the location where scattering is about to take place. You can find specifically designed urns or tubes to carry the ashes. Or, you can make your design. However, make sure that you transport the ashes to the designated location safely.

6. After everyone gets to the location, ask them to make a circle and make a short statement in memory of the deceased. Also, don’t forget to check the direction of the wind. That way, none of the ashes will flow in the undesirable direction. Finally, execute the ceremony and thank everyone for their participation. Recycle or dispose of any receptacles and tools responsibly.

If you’d rather not scatter the ashes, you can learn more about how to keep your loved one’s ashes in a columbarium here.

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Readinform is a Wisconsin based writer for funerals explained. They have come to understand the struggles of death and loss. Through life experience they have gathered the knowledge to help others and answer questions related to the funeral industry. When not writing readyinform focuses on learning new things and exploring the differences society offers.

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