Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust: Our Mom’s Scattering Urn Takes a Road Trip

By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread
until you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return.

–Genesis 3:19, NRSV

All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again.

— Ecclesiastes 3:20, NRSV

I have so much to tell you.

Last week, on our mom’s birthday, my brother and I released a portion of her ashes in South Carolina’s Low Country. She’s now resting seaside at a spot she adored since the early 1960s.

The evening prior to our small memorial, because no one in my family had ever released anyone’s (or any pet’s) ashes, we carefully planned logistics. We even anticipated the catastrophic, worst-case-scenarios like this infamous Big Lebowski scene. The day-of, even with its hiccups, could not have been more perfect. I’ve begun writing about it for you in Born Dying: Faithful Reflections to Help You Cope with Death and Grief, due out in spring/summer 2019.

With laughter and gale force wind warnings (seriously!), let’s just say that we are now experts in cremation ash-releasing, should you need us.

My brother and me, on Mom’s birthday last week.

It gives my brother and me great joy to know that a piece of Mom lies where dolphins play and giant orange sunsets hover over cool blue water. We intend to make additional stops with the urn in tow. Next up: Mom hits the road to visit all the places she called home: Ohio, Indiana, California, and central North Carolina.

For nearly seven months, I’ve held on to Mom’s scattering urn so tightly I was devastated to think of letting even a portion of her go in these organic ways. But, as I continue to grieve, I’m learning to release her. In turn, I am released, too.

It has been one of the most formative weeks of my life. I cannot wait to share it all with you fully in Born Dying.

Meanwhile, thanks for joining me on this grief journey. Stay tuned for more details on the Born Dying  writing process, as well as our beautiful moment with Mom last week. 

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In what ways have you remembered your loved ones? Do you have a grief or memorial ritual that was particularly meaningful to you? Please share in the comments below, or share socially and tag me: @jdanatrent on Twitter, Instagram, or J. Dana Trent, Author, on Facebook.

One comment

  1. I’m so happy to read that this was a healing experience for you! I want to hear more about it. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

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