We are often asked “Does scattering the ashes of a loved one bring closure?”. The answer is complicated, closure on what? What is it you want closure on?
After many discussions with grief specialists I have have come to agree that the term closure is unhelpful. It conjures up thoughts “Right that’s him sorted, time to move on chop chop”. This perquialarly British need to discharge emotions, it is quite odd if you think about it. What, so you want to think about that person less, love them less? I doubt it.
Scattering does bring to an end the funeral rites so to speak and therefore there in no nagging guilt about doing the task.
It is surprising the amount people that call us and say something along the lines of “It is high time mum got this sorted, the ashes have been in her wardrobe for six month now. It just plain morbid. So I have booked a boat and she’ll just have to lump it!”
The point here is if you are not ready, you are not ready. Simple as that. You decide what time is right. And sometimes there is no right answer, the balance between the release of guilt of taking the final step compared to the potential trama of separation. You will know when the time is right for you. And no one says you need to scatter all the ashes, many of us choose to keep some back for putting in ashes jewellery for example.
But there is one thing if you rush and get it wrong, you can’t do it again. So try not to be pressurised. Choose your location with care: do you want to return? Do you want to scattered at the same location?
Once you have scattered will probably feel different, a sense completion, not necessarily closure.
Grief is a journey, there are no way of fast forwarding to the end where the pain goes away. Scattering the ashes of loved one will not take away the pain but it may well move you on to a different part of the journey.
Grief is a natural process and nothing to hide from, nothing to be ashamed of. As the quote goes “The pain of grief is just as much a part of life as the joy of love; it is, perhaps, the price we pay for love, the cost of commitment.”
We supporters of the charity Curse bereavement