What is your new tradition?


What is your new tradition?

Barbara Kemmis

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:  
  • 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.
  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.

2 Responses to “What is your new tradition?”

  1. avatar Jim Lync

    When one chooses to scatter their cremated remains there is nothing carved in stone that you ever walked this earth. Their is no legacy left for future generations to legitimize their heritage. The first thing Nazi Germany did invading Poland during WWII was destroy all the Jewish cemeteries and smash the existing Jewish monuments into cobble stones to repair the roads damaged by destruction. When making choices about disposition you need to consider this for those you leave behind.

  2. avatar Dianna Petrytus

    Thank you for your story this just btings home a conversation I am needing to have with my children. And to let thrm know why so they can dhare it with my granddaughters.


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