Need suggestions for disposing of cremains

About 10-12 years ago both of my brothers died, within a year or two of each other (one suicide, one cancer). My parents kept their ashes in urns in their house. Fast forward several years, and my mother died, so my father added her ashes to the collection.

Dad died almost two years ago. He was a member of the Neptune Society, a service that allows you to pre-pay for your own cremation and scattering of your ashes at sea. So that was all taken care of with little more than a phone call from me.

As the last surviving member of the family, I “inherited” the ashes of my mother and brothers. I’ve been keeping their urns in the garage - a bit crass, perhaps, but I don’t want something that ghoulish in my house. I certainly don’t want to be saddled with them for the rest of my life, taking them with me on every move, etc., but I’m at a loss as to how to get rid of them tastefully and respectfully.

My fiance suggested dumping them in the woods behind our house, but that’s too crass even for me. I know it’s not rational. I’m not religious, I don’t believe in an immortal soul, and no one would ever be the wiser. Furthermore, we weren’t close and they weren’t my favorite people - my family did NOT put the “fun” in dysfunctional. But still, I just can’t bring myself to be that…casual, for lack of a better word.

I thought about tracking down some of the people they were close to and asking if they’d like to have the urns. My mother has a living sister, my brother David had close friends in Austin, and my nephew might like to have his father’s remains. My fiance said that would be a strange thing to contact people about out of the blue, and I suppose he has a point.

We’re currently living in Florida, hundreds of miles away from any place that would have been meaningful to any of them, and I’m not inclined to go zig-zagging across the country to spread the ashes of people who won’t even know the difference.

So…suggestions? There must be an option better than throwing them away like kitty litter.

umm, how about using a regular cemetery?
They have a columbrium ( niches for urns)

Google implies that it might cost a couple hundred bucks for a niche.
But you’ll have a quiet conscience for the rest of your life.

If you have any family buried in a cemetery, like maybe your parents’ parents, lots of times you can bury an urn on the same lot. You can even put a marker if you want. Otherwise, what chappachula said.

Have you considered hiking into a local wildlife area, with a backpack and a hand spade? They’d be some place awesome, no one need know, you could visit if you, or others fancy! Just a suggestion. Good Luck!

When my husband died, I did a number of thing that included the zig-zagging around the world to honor him in places that were important to him. Not for you, I get it.

For the bulk of his cremains, I dug a deep hole in a special place on our property, mixed the ashes with good soil and planted a sapling of his favorite tree (Japanese Maple). It has grown into a thing of tremendous beauty and of course I think of him every time I admire it.

Maybe something like that could work for your family members? If you have enough room, four lovely trees might be a nice addition.

You can place several urns in a single columbrium, with everyone’s name on the outside. I suspect, and probably varies by location, you could have your own ashes added later.

I think you should at least make the offer to your aunt and nephew, since they’re blood relatives of the deceased. I doubt the close friends want your brother’s ashes.

And if not that, why not just go back to the Neptune Society and pay them for burial at sea?

Your fiancé has the right idea.

I do not envy the OP’s position, and have nothing to add other than that, FWIW, it’s columbarium.

My cousin and I buried my aunt’s (cousin’s mother) cremains between the head stones of my aunt’s parents. The original plan was with my mother who is buried about 20 feet from my grand parents. We made it look like we were trimming and cleaning up the grave markers while we dug a hole about 16 inches deep and big enough for the brass urn. A week later the family gathered at the cemetery for a proper send off.

The cemetery wanted $1200 to add the ashes to my mother’s plot which would have also allowed for the installation of a grave marker. We talked about it and decided it was too much money.

Make cookies?

With I hope poster ChefGuys permission, I would like to share something that his nephew shared with him in a time of grief.

“It’s a difficult process, to be sure; at some point, though, you have to decide which side of the ground you want to live on.”

ChefGuy found it profound. As do I.

The message is to live your life. Do as you wish with the ashes. It really doesn’t matter. As others have said, and your fiancé as well I would say good bye to them behind your house.

I would take them to an open area in the woods, place them on a flat open platform and let the elements take them wherever they want to go.

My family has a shrine where anyone in the extended family is allowed to be placed in as long as there’s room (my brother said it’s estimated it can hold up to 72 urns). I’ve made it known I don’t want be put in there, but want my cremains (BTW, thank you to the OP for using the proper term) to be spread over the ocean. I’ve made it known to my brother and sisters, though since I’m the youngest, it’s likely I’ll be the last. Which brings up the importance for everyone to make a will that clearly details what you want to be done upon your death. Makes it so much easier for everyone!

Nitpick: It’s “columbarium”, folks.

Do you have any large, potted plants?

Pick an option that is convenient to you that you can live with. Spread them in a pretty spot, but not somewhere you go to a lot or the memory of their disfunction would ruin that spot for you. Take a drive with your fiancé, pick a spot, spread the ashes and get on with your life.

I was just thinking about this double-checked if anyone had posted it. This would be my second choice after being spread.

Another option would the cremains compressed into a diamond. I won’t link to a site, because I didn’t like what I read about the process which at some level I knew, but didn’t want to think about. And that is since only the carbon in the cremains are used to make grow the diamond, the majority of the cremains aren’t used, just dissolved away. At least the cremains are what remains of the deceased.

BTW, contrary to what they show on TV and the movies, most of the time, cremains aren’t a fine ash power, though there is some ash like content. They’re much larger and harder than ash, think finely crushed oyster shells. And sometimes the pieces are large enough to identify as a bone. As an example of how hard the remains are after cremation, some Buddhists pick up the bones with chopsticks after cremation. They must be crushed to what you see in the urn. Keep this in mind when you’re choosing a place to scatter or bury.

Would something like this be an option?

Brief hijack: there is nothing particularly sacred or proper about the word “cremains.” It is a neologism (a portmanteau word from “cremated remains”) from 1950 or so and until recently largely industry jargon. End of hijack.

For the OP, I sympathize. Fortunately for me my sister was interested in taking both my parents’ remains so I didn’t have to be bothered. I think if I were in your place I would take the option of burying them somewhere I never have to go again, as others have suggested.