What is your new tradition?
Executive Director, Cremation Association of North America
My great uncle died on January 31, 2014. I grew up across the country from him and really only interacted with him about a dozen times during my life. Here are my recollections:
My uncle was in the army in World War II and worked for AT&T until his retirement. During his career he moved every few years so home had a different meaning for him. It was about people and familiar belongings and pictures rather than a physical house or town. His daughters recollect family vacations that nearly always included a cemetery visit to find some genealogy information about long lost relatives.
This spring, his daughters carried out his wishes to be cremated and scattered in the same place in Colorado as his wife three years prior. Many of the family, including me, gathered to remember him, share stories, laughter and tears. He lived life well and left a legacy of corny jokes and beautiful memories.
None of us know why he chose to be scattered and we won’t now. We missed that opportunity to ask him, and to Have the Talk of a Lifetime.
This new tradition of cremation and scattering has become a familiar topic of conversation in my extended family. Our family lives in nine states and two foreign countries at the moment. Which cemetery is the official family cemetery? Does a cemetery even make sense? Will we all scatter in Colorado now? The answers will vary with each family member, but I am glad we are talking about it.
These conversations are practical, but also magical in that we touch on how we each want to be remembered as well as where.
- He never mixed his food and politely refused salads and casseroles
- He was proud of his Scottish heritage and completed a genealogy of his family tracing back to the earliest written records.
- He was quiet, stoic and never imposed on anyone.
- He genuinely loved his family and always had a kind and supportive word to offer.