Ashes in the Wind: How Far Would You Go To Honor Your Loved One?

By: Amanda Winstead

Scattering the ashes of a loved one can be an incredibly significant and deeply personal act of remembrance. It holds a profound importance not only for the departed but also for friends and relatives left behind. After all, it symbolizes a final farewell, a letting go of physical remains while embracing the enduring memories and spirit of the departed.

Finding a meaningful and unique space to scatter ashes can add a layer of profound significance to the act, too. It’s worth considering how the location and method of scattering can reflect the personality of your loved one. That said, it’s important to remember that there could be logistical challenges involved.

When it comes to spreading ashes in the U.S., understanding the legalities surrounding this practice is crucial. While it is a deeply personal and meaningful way to honor a loved one, it is important to abide by local regulations to ensure a respectful and lawful tribute.

Different states have varying laws and guidelines regarding where and how ashes can be scattered. Some states allow scattering on public lands, while others may require specific permits or designate certain areas for this purpose. Make sure to research and understand the regulations specific to your location.

In addition to state regulations, there may be federal guidelines. For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets regulations surrounding scattering ashes at sea. According to these requirements, cremated remains must be scattered at least three nautical miles from the shore to ensure environmental safety. It is also essential to inform the EPA of your actions within 30 days after the event.

Funeralocity wants you to know your rights as well as the legal limits when it comes to planning a celebration of the life of your loved one. 

Heading to Space

If you’re looking for a truly unique and celestial way to honor your loved one, consider the option of sending their ashes to space. This extraordinary form of tribute has gained popularity in recent years, enabling you to pay homage to your departed family member or friend in a truly awe-inspiring manner.

Several companies and services now offer the opportunity to launch cremated remains into space. Through these specialized programs, you can have the ashes encapsulated and attached to a spacecraft that will journey beyond Earth’s atmosphere. There are two primary options to consider: launching ashes into orbit around Earth or landing them on the moon.

It’s important to note that sending ashes to space can be a significant financial investment. The costs associated with such services typically include the cost of the capsule for the ashes, a contribution to the spacecraft launch, and any additional commemorative items or certificates provided by the company. The price varies depending on the provider and the specific service package you choose.

This option may well become more elaborate in the near future. There are growing trends in privatized space travel, with companies committed to making trips to the moon a practical possibility. Indeed, independent projects to take photographs on the lunar surface and leave mementos are already underway. It may be the case that the next couple of decades offer opportunities to hold funerals on the moon or to livestream the scattering of ashes. 

Embedding in Objects

If you’re seeking a lasting and tangible way to honor your loved one, consider the option of embedding their ashes in objects. This unique approach allows you to create personalized memorial items that hold deep meaning and serve as a cherished remembrance of the departed.

One popular choice is to embed ashes in family heirlooms. You can have a small portion of the ashes incorporated into a pendant, ring, or even a clock. Often, it’s best to choose items that feature transparent compartments or settings that can securely hold the ashes while allowing you to visually connect with the memorial. 

It’s important, though, to ensure your family heirlooms are well maintained. Make certain they aren’t exposed to unnecessary moisture and arrange restoration for any significant damage. This helps to create a secure space for your loved one’s remains while also preventing further issues in the future.

Connecting to Meaningful Places

If you’re seeking a unique and unconventional way to honor your loved one, consider the option of spreading their ashes in public landmarks. You could consider a range of locations. Theme parks, sports grounds, theaters, and other notable locations may have held a special place in your departed loved one’s heart.

That said, before proceeding with scattering ashes at public landmarks, it is essential to consider the legal and ethical implications involved. While regulations and guidelines regarding scattering ashes in public spaces can vary, it is important to respect the rules set forth by the authorities and management of these locations.

Contacting the management or administration of the landmark beforehand can help you navigate these requirements and ensure a seamless process. You may also find the management is open to helping create a meaningful tribute, such as arranging for you to scatter during a favorite point in a musical performance or a sporting event, such as the national anthem at the opening of a game. Just be advised to provide proper advance notification or you may end up disrupting the event


Scattering a loved one’s ashes is a deeply personal and significant act of remembrance. Whether it is finding a meaningful and unique space to scatter the ashes or exploring alternative ways to honor their memory, the process involves careful consideration. Alongside your creative ideas, get to know the regulations surrounding your specific intended location and seek relevant permissions.

While your ideas for scattering ashes may be meaningful and interesting, it’s also worth engaging in open conversations with your loved one about this issue before they pass away. It’s the best way to learn about even the most unusual of wishes, such as one writer’s request that his ashes be blasted from a cannon. These discussions offer a unique chance to understand their perspective, gain insight into their values, and explore unconventional ideas they may have for their final resting place. By involving them in the decision-making process, you can create a tribute that holds deep significance for both of you.

Amanda Winstead is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. Follow her on Twitter.

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