Jackie Brown at Band Practice - photo by Buck Miller

Scattering the Ashes

When my wife of 34 years passed away in October she had some very explicit instructions for me. One particular wish concerned her remains. Long ago we had both agreed we preferred to be cremated. But we’d never really discussed what to do with the ashes. Jackie was not interested in an urn or burial or any other type of internment.

One afternoon, just days before her demise, she told me, “Don’t put them all in one place.” Instead she wanted to be a part of places we loved to visit. Places her running group would often frequent. Special places.

After she passed the mortuary handed me a six-pound plastic box. I proceeded to learn more than I ever wanted to know about the care and transport of human remains. I found a very helpful article on Modern Loss that shed some light on dealing with my precious cargo.

Eventually I put together a list of places, some she had requested and some of my own choosing. I carefully filled some baggies with small portions of my wife’s remains and headed out. At each stop I photographed the locale and put up a Viva La Jaq sticker. Finally I assembled the photos and locations into a photo album so I could share my journey, and let others know about all the special places. Here’s a link to the album:

Scattering Jackie’s Ashes

I remember wondering in those final days if I would regret her decision. No marker? No gravesite to visit? But as usual, she was right. Instead of a single place of reverence, I have a wonderful selection to choose from. Each location containing a small part of a wonderful human, one I will love and cherish as long as I live.

7 thoughts on “Scattering the Ashes”

  1. Such a beautiful and soul-stirring alternative to the more traditional, and to me, silly attempts to hold on to the “ungraspable”. We didn’t live in a box or jar, why spend eternity in one? Those “six pounds” were merely symbolic. Jackie is everywhere! Love ya buddy!

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