Cremation & Memorial Service

Updated on October 12, 2011
S.G. asks from Rancho Cucamonga, CA
14 answers

My father passed away suddenly last Monday. I live in California and my parents lived in Florida. I flew out immediately and spent a week with her, and just got back last night.
His wishes were to be cremated and scattered. My mother wanted to bury him. They had compromised and agreed he would be cremated and then buried. My husband and kids think this is weird. And, making me feel funny about purchasing a burial plot. He says he's never heard of this before. Is this really that unusual?
All of the people who matter, family and friends, live in California - my parents lived here 30 years before retiring to Florida. So my mom didn't want to have a service in Florida. In addition, my father was the "Representative Payee" with social security for my 96 year old grandmother & 99 year old aunt, so my mom has a lot of stuff to do legal wise to get it switched to her to make sure they continue to receive their social security in order to pay their bills by November 1st. And, she would never just leave them unattended. So, it seemed too difficult for her to come to California so quickly. And my whole family will be with her in November for Thanksgiving. We decided she could come out in early December, after she's gotten the "ladies" square away, and we'd have a memorial service, and then she could just stay through the end of the month for the holidays. My husband, and supposedly everyone he's talked to, think this is weird to wait until December. But, it's not a funeral or graveside service, a memorial service at my church. I didn't think it was that unusual. Is it? None of us have ever been to one held so long after, but I'm sure I've heard of other people doing so. What do you think?

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answers from Orlando on

When my father passed on 2005 we had to wait almost 2 weeks just to get his body prepaired and sent to California, he passed in Texas. After the service he was cremated and we took some of the ashes and put them in the plot. Then my mom gave each kid who wanted some of the ashes. She also has some she keeps. And about 4 months after he passed we went to His favorite camping spot in California and spread some of his ashes. It was wonderful to have part of him where we spent so much time as a family :) and as weird as it sounds I took some of his ashes and added them to tla tattoo i had done:)

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answers from San Francisco on

I'm sorry about your loss.

It's your loss, and your business. Everyone deals with the loss of a loved one in their own way.

Hold the memorial whenever you wish. It's no one else's business.

p.s. My dad's ashes are in a plastic thing in my living room - 10 years after his death. I tried to scatter them once, and couldn't do it. I'll get around to it one of these days. If anyone thinks you're weird -- tell them about me.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I'm sorry to hear about your loss.

It doesn't matter if it's "weird" or not. That's what he wanted and how she wants to do it. Your husband should keep his opinions to himself and respect their wishes. When he's been married that long, he'll be entitled to an opinion on the matter. I'll bet he's got several years to go...

My personal opinion is that a memorial in December is a lovely idea. It's going to be a tough time for her, her first Christmas after losing him. This might be what she needs to cope.

Bless you and your family.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Fresno on

I assume your mom is going to be buried when her time comes? what about saving your father's ashes until that time, and burying them together?
Absolutely not weird to wait on the memorial. My sister died in February this year, and we had a memorial (though we called it a celebration of a beautiful life) gathering in May when the whole family could make arrangements to be together here in California. We all contributed pictures for a slide show and several people made toasts.
My other sisters held another gathering in July in Seattle for the friends up there.
Talk to your mom. You lost your dad, she lost her husband, this should be about what you guys need.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

I think that what you and your mother have planned makes a great deal of sense. It may not be "usual", but maybe it's the best way your mom can cope. At least she can actually take care of the legalities - if she couldn't you would end up having to do it.

I don't know if you have these in California or not, but many cemetaries on the East Coast have small spots to bury an urn. And you can put a plaque there and flowers too. This way, family members have a place to come and spend time with their loved ones.

I'm very sorry for the loss of your dad. I lost mine over 3 years ago - it's so hard, I know.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Who cares what anyone else thinks. Every family is different. My grandpa died last Tuesday. He lived in Arizona with my GP. Half of the family is here, other half in Florida. My aunt flew from here to Az after he died to help my Grandma pack up and come to NY to be with family. The Florida relatives all flew to NY. My GP was cremated in AZ. There is apparently a 2 week delay on shipping the ashes. Customs, permit, I have no clue. Anyways. He was Jewish so we had basically shiva at my aunt's house here in NY for 3 days. Concurrently, the uncles and aunts decided to have a memorial for GP here (he grew up in NY BTW, and his parents are buried here). They did not want to wait 2 weeks and have to fly back to NY, everyone had already missed alot of work traveling to AZ when my GP got sick a couple of months ago, so people at this point wanted to wrap it up, get my grandma situated and so on. So long story short, we found the burial plot where my GP's parents were buried here in Long Island. We all went there on Monday morning and had a very beautiful private family only memorial service there. Hundreds of other friends of family came over a 3 day period to pay respects to my aunts' house, bringing loads of yummy food too.
PS A beautiful poem was read at his memorial which I thought I'd share:
Death is Nothing at All
- Henry Scott Holland

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm sorry about your dad.

It's not unusual at all to have a memorial service after the death (even months after). Nor do the remains even need to "be there" at that time.

Also, the burying of cremated remains is QUITE common. Some cemeteries have special areas for this (urn gardens). There are also flat memorials (bronze, etc.) that are made specifically for urn burial (cremation memorials).There are so many options for final disposition of cremated remains: scattering gardens, ground burial, ground units that accept urns, niche units in a mausoleum....etc.

The important thing is to learn about the options and honor your father with a nice resting place and memorial service. The "when" is not what's important here at all.

PM me if you need more specific info.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

My ex's family owns funeral homes. I can tell you all of this sounds pretty normal.

Sorry for your loss.


answers from Redding on

My G. was cremated and then buried with my grandpa who wasnt, so it does happen.



answers from Houston on

My theory has always been...don't try and scramble and do all this stuff for the person AFTER they have died...the time they need you is BEFORE they die.. You can have a memorial service anytime you want. It would not matter to me if I were the deceased. For what really counts is who did what while they were living. My parents both died within four months of each other....and I have NO guilty feelings....cause I did all I could.



answers from Chicago on

First I am sorry for your loss. As for the cremation, my brother in law was cremated and then buried, they did take some the ashes out to be scattered at his favorite golf course and ballparks, but the rest of him went in the ground in a vault for an urn. Second, I was also recently at a memorial for my sisters brother in law which occured a month or so after he passed away. He also was cremated and his urn was on display at the church. So it really is not weird by an means at all.



answers from Chicago on

Who cares what other people think? I'm sooooo over that. If it were a funeral and then body burial, it would make sense to do it immediately. Since it's not, I think the family is free to celebrate your father's life in any way and at any time they see fit.

I'm sorry about your loss.


answers from Lakeland on

When my brother passed away we had to have him cremated. We were going to bury the urn with my dad, but that plot is almost full. (Grandparents and aunts) So no it is not unusual to bury an urn and have a memorial service. We had a service for my brother in GA, that’s where he lived as an adult. Then we had a service in NJ, for the families. And had the urn buried at the church (my sister and her hubby belong to it). We can choose at anytime to remove the urn and scatter the ashes or just keep them there. I think maybe your mom can keep the urn and when her time comes you can bury them together or scatter them together. This is what my MIL is doing. My FIL's ashes are in her bedroom on the nightstand and when she passes we will put them together somehow.



answers from Redding on

Having worked in the counseling office at a cemetery, trust me, the ways in which families handle arrangements, services, etc, are limitless.
What might seem "weird" to one person or family might seem absolutely natural to another.
Ultimately, the most important thing is for the person's own wishes to be carried out and it sounds like that was done according to the compromise your father and mother reached with one another.
Whether that's weird to anyone else is pretty irrelevant.
My father's wishes were to be cremated and placed in a plot he purchased for himself and my stepmother.
When he passed, they had a beautiful service at the Veteran's Cemetery he was placed at. I couldn't go because of my broken leg. A year later, the entire family travelled to have a big family reunion and to celebrate his life. It brought great comfort to me to see how beautiful that cemetery was and it all made perfect sense why he chose that spot. The view is spectacular.
So...some people might find it weird that he was cremated to be placed in the ground, but that's the place he picked.
Some people may find it even stranger that the day I got to go visit my dad, I attended a wedding later that afternoon. I even caught the bouquet.
I like to think my dad helped me out with that a little bit.

I'm really so sorry for your loss.
Don't let your husband and kids give you a hard time on top of losing your dad.
You and your mom be there for each other.
You know, when my father passed away, my mom was such a support to me even though she and my dad had been divorced for 30 years. He was the father of her two children and she mourned him too. My sister basically went off the deep end, so it was nice to have my mom.

Hang in there.
I don't think there's a dang thing wrong with your plans.

Very best wishes.

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