How many times have you visited another city and scanned the historical sites in that city to see “Benjamin Franklin’s Gravesite” or “Thomas Jefferson’s Gravesite.” Maps are specifically marked and sometimes described in detail with the location of the Gravesite. Why would anyone visit the gravesite where only dry bones and tattered clothing remain inside a decayed wooden box? That is precisely why I want to address the issue of cremain scattering. I was speaking to a history teacher recently and she brought this issue up with me.
Along Boston’s Freedom Trail, visitors will encounter 3 cemeteries including the Granary Burying Ground where three signers of the Declaration of Independence are buried: Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine. What is so significant about the cemeteries is not their simple gravemarkers (most are very simple with only names and dates) or even the not so well-manicured grounds (most consist of almost no grass at all). The fact that these people had a significant part of our lives is why we visit their gravesites. History came full circle from the minute these people were born all the way to the day they died. The gravesite is a reminder of that life so significantly lived centuries ago. Nothing more, nothing less.
When we scatter the cremains (cremated remains or ashes), there no longer exists a gravesite. I know what most of you say because I hear it all the time. “He or she loved the mountains, ocean, etc.” or “Those were her or his wishes.”
I love that we live in a country with so many choices. Scattering is a choice but do not choose that as an option only because of cost. Centuries from now, can you assume that others will not desire to visit your gravesite? To assume this is to have false humility explaining you were not significant enough. If your surviving relatives are all very clear that your significant life will be clearly displayed in the ocean, mountains, etc., scattering is definitely a great option!
“A nation that forgets its past has no future.” Winston Churchill