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How long after the funeral should you wait before a scattering ceremony


Is there an ideal time to scatter ashes ? How long should you leave it after the funeral? As we think scattering ceremonies can really help the grieving process, if done well. Does it help with ‘closure’?

So we asked and expert Anne Wadey – Head of Bereavement Advice Centre. This is what she said:

“As far as your original question about the timing of scattering ashes – I don’t think there is a ‘right’ time other than what is right for each individual family/relative. I think the ‘right answer’ is what seems right to them – which in some cases may mean negotiating some family compromises. Avoid becoming embroiled in those whatever you do.

Some people keep them forever or until a surviving partner dies, others authorise them to be scattered/interred at the crematorium with no additional ceremony and all the options in between which you so helpfully outline.

I personally have a dislike of the term closure – it suggests there is an end point to missing someone. I think this is unhelpful, there will be various milestones at which most people find themselves looking forward more than back, in some cases coping with the idea and actuality of a new relationship but others, especially the very elderly will ‘turn their face to the wall’ as they perceive there is no future.”


4 thoughts on “How long after the funeral should you wait before a scattering ceremony

  1. Reply
    Trish H - 30th August 2020

    Hi. We recently lost our mother in May of this year. We had her cremated and have her ashes in an urn next to my sister’s urn, who we lost to cancer in 2012.
    Our mother planned on burying her ashes but just never did. Now my brother and I would like to bury the both of them but get too emtional thibking about it. We have close friends saying to just donit along with a little pressure from the funeral home to do so as well.

    Are we wrong to wait until next spring? I know its up to us but a part of me isn’t ready and another says we should follow through. Thanks for any imout.

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 3rd September 2020

      Hi Trish
      My advise would be to wait until you are ready. It is no one else’s business when you choose to do this. I would say that it might helpful to put a planned date in, then it wont always get deferred. You can the see how you feel when that date comes around.
      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards

  2. Reply
    mike wilson - 24th July 2018

    Sometimes I feel like I need to spread part of my wifes ashes in the ocean as she wished.
    When I think about doing this it makes me feel like part of her is not with me any longer

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 25th July 2018

      Dear Mike
      This is not an uncommon emotion feelings of separation impact a huge amount of people who have lost their loved one and find carrying out final wishes too traumatic. Firstly, I am not a bereavement counselor so I suggest a chat with the brilliant people at Cruse Bereavement who understand such matter at much great depth. I would say don’t rush, if you not ready then don’t do it, you will know when the time is right, it is not as if you are unwilling to do it you just don’t want to do it yet…
      I hope this helps
      Kind regards

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