Last Wishes

It was 6:30pm and I was in my last class of the day. We were given a 15 minute break so I checked my voicemail. I listened to the message from my step-mother. I could tell by the tone of her voice that something was wrong.

“Hi Ashley, I wanted to let you know that I went by the funeral home today and paid off the rest of the funeral. I also had to pick up his ashes. I need to talk to you about that. I’m not sure what you want to do. I need to go back to the funeral home tomorrow and pick out some urns. They have a few choices, and I don’t know if you and your sister want to pick out your own. Call me back when you can or I’ll email you tomorrow. It’s just really overwhelming and I wanted to talk to you about it. Hopefully we can talk later. Bye.”

Well, that’s a message if I ever heard one.

So now I get to pick out an urn for my father’s ashes. Fantastic.

Why was this not done 8 months ago when we were taking care of the funeral arrangements? Why are we still dealing with this now? And why would you leave someone a voicemail talking about their father’s ashes and an urn?

I kept myself from crying when I hung up the phone, but it was almost impossible to concentrate once class started again.

I didn’t call my step-mother back last night. I’ll email her this afternoon. I don’t know what I’m going to say to her.

I’m really frustrated by this whole situation. My dad made it clear that he wanted to be cremated and have his ashes spread in the Gulf of Mexico. So why are we talking about buying several urns to separate the ashes and keep them for ourselves? That seems incredibly selfish to me. As much as I (kind of) want to keep part of him for myself (does that seem really creepy to anyone else??), that’s not what he wanted. I want to honor my father’s wishes. I want to do what he wanted.

How do you choose? Who decides? Are his last wishes more important that your own, or in this case, your family’s?


29 responses to “Last Wishes

  1. I’m so sorry Ashley.

    I think if you feel that it’s important to honour his wishes you should let your family know that. If they won’t, then maybe you should spread the ashes that you get where he wanted them spread and keep the urn as a reminder both of him and of your following through on his request.

    Whatever you need to do, I’m sure he would understand and want you to do that. Again, I’m so sorry.

  2. Oh Ashley, I am so sorry.

    I agree with Kyla, if your stepmother doesnt honor his wishes and you feel its incredibly important take what you have and do as he wished. If you want to keep a small portion for yourself, than do that too. *Hugs*

  3. That’s so rough! I can’t even imagine!

    I agree with Kyla and stand up for what your father wanted. I think spreading them over the Gulf would be a beautiful way to have some peace and closure as well since you know it’s what he wanted and in a sense, you’d be letting him go. I know it’s rough but it might be a very healing experience!

  4. Ashley,

    My heart is breaking for you right now and I’m so very sorry.

    I think you should let your family know that you feel it is important to honor your father’s last wishes. If they don’t agree, perhaps you could still honor his wishes by scattering the ashes that you are given and keep the urn in remembrance of him (or perhaps keep a small portion of the ashes in addition to the urn).

    I think your father will understand, regardless of what you decide.

    Sending prayers and positive thoughts you way.


  5. oh, i’m so sorry your still having to deal with this.
    If no one else wants to honor his wishes maybe you could take some of your share, when your ready to the gulf of mexico.

  6. i’m so sorry…

    really such an awful situation to have to go through. i agree with what everyone else said, bring the subject up to everyone involved, and if they still decide to split up his ashes, you can do what he wanted with the portion given to you. i can only imagine how hard this is. good luck.

  7. Oh honey 😦 I was going to say what Tristan said. I would definitely bring that up to your family, and if they don’t want to do it, then I say take your share and do it when you’re ready.

    You’re so strong to be dealing with this. Much love to you.

  8. I am so sorry Ashley.

    This is not something that anyone should have to go through. You should definitely do what you think is best. You will get through this. Keep you’re chin up.

  9. what a difficult situation! i’d say honor your father’s wishes, but if you want to keep some of his ashes for yourself and spread some in the Gulf, you can do that too.

    I know my dad wants to be cremated and exactly where he wants his ashes, so it’s only fair to honor that, even if you keep some of them, too.

  10. wow, that is so hard. I will be praying for you, as you make those tough decisions.

    I doubt your dad, would have wanted fighting in the family over what to do with his remains. So if it was me, I would share my thoughts with the family on doing what your dad wanted, and if they still disagree take your part, and then you can follow through on your fathers wishes. Doing what your father wanted is really important, and while it might be hard, it will probably be very healing as well.

    I watched a movie once where they spread the ashes, and then filled an urn with sand from the place where they spread them, to remember their loved one by. (?) just and idea.

  11. i hope you get to do what your dad wanted. i really hope you can, but i know the situation is tough.

  12. oh sweetie, i am so very sorry.

    i know how you feel in wanting to keep a small part of him for yourself and wanting to honor your father’s last wishes and i think it’s possible that you can do both.

    i’m sorry that your stepmother seems to be so inconsiderate about it all and i hope that you are all able to sit down and discuss what your father would want the most. but i’m sure that whatever you do your father will be smiling down watching it all so proud to have raised such a wonderful, amazing young woman.

    my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  13. Oh man, this totally sucks. I think Kyla’s idea is a good one though. Hope you are okay.

  14. Oh I’m sorry. That’s probably the last thing you needed to hear when all this other stuff has been happening. Hope your okay.

    In regards to last wishes I think it’s so important to follow them through. It’s what they wanted and it should be honored. As my mom always says, that person’s soul is gone they’re not in that body, or ashes in your case, anymore.

    Feel better

  15. Aw I’m so sorry. This is so tough. I think you probably already know this, but you should have this exact same conversation with your mom and just be upfront and completely honest. Good luck, there really isn’t an easy answer to this.

  16. Tristan | the almost right word

    You have the best intentions, Ashley. You should follow them and not worry about your stepmother and what she wants. It’s about what your father wanted. I think it’s extremely understandable that you might consider keeping “a part of him,” but you will always have him, in your memories. Cheesy? Yes. True? Yes.

    Good luck. We’re all here supporting you.

  17. I’m so sorry you are going through this and the pain of this situation has to keep getting wrapped up in stuff like this. It’ll be a year next month this process started for my best friend, and I know from watching her how difficult this is.

    It’s really difficult to want to honor someone’s wishes when the people in the here and now won’t agree. People can be really selfish when they’re grieving. It doesn’t make it any better for you right now, but it’s true. If you have to, honor his wishes with the portion you receive of his remains.

    I’m sending some good juju your way.

  18. aw ashley i’m so sorry. it’s always frustrating when people have their own agendas and ugh.


  19. What an awful voicemail for you to get. I would try to honor your dad’s wishes the best that you can.

  20. Oh honey I’m sorry. That’s a tough voicemail to get and relive everything that happened months ago. I’m sorry.

  21. Kyla Bea has said everything I wanted to say. I’m so sorry that you are even in this situation, but like Kyla the wise said, I think it’s important that you let people know how you feel. My fingers are crossed this is resolved in the best possible way.

  22. Classy in Philadelphia

    Aw, girl. That was a really insensitive voicemail, and especially inappropriate because she had to know you were at school.

    I think it's important to do what your dad wanted. I think that will make you feel better too ❤

  23. I’m really sorry.

    I do feel as though it’s more important to honour his wishes at this time than anyone elses. And I don’t have much experience with creamations, but the idea of dividing up portions of ashes, now THAT to me seems weird. I mean sure, if one person was going to have the urn, so be it, but dividing it up? No.

    And besides, like you said he wanted them spread in the Gulf of Mexico, so why shouldn’t he have that small satisfaction.

    But wow, I’m sorry if you really enjoy your step-mother (I haven’t been reading long enough to make that assumption), but what a piece of work, I cannot even imagine leaving that message on the daugther of the deceased’s phone. The daughter who is more likely than not still upset and trying to cope.

    I’m really sorry you have to deal with this.

  24. I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with more and more issues coming from what’s already such a painful time for you. I don’t know what I’d do in your situation – never been there and so afraid to give an ill-advised answer to that last question – but you’re a smart girl even when you are struggling, and I know you’ll figure out the right way to go.

  25. Princess Extraordinaire

    I am so sorry you have to go throug hthis…I understand your father’s wishes to want to be spread in the GOM and think you should follow your heart. It is so hard to follow through with doing things like this after we lose someone we love – we each want to keep a bit of them for ourselves adn no, I don’t think that’s as much creepy asit is human. Be good to yourself and understand there are no clear cut, hard and fast rules here – do what you feel is right and perhaps try and honor what your father wanted.

  26. I myself have never been in the situation your in, but my dad and his girlfriend had a child together that died. (sorry I don’t want to make anyone sad), but they kept her ashes in an urn, but also spread some over the water. They both said that keeping apart of their child helped them cope, but allowing some of the ashes free was to realize that she was in a better place. Whatever you guys decide I want you to know you are all in my prayers and I hope that the decision that is made will help you cope and heal.

  27. Aww, I’m actually crying having read your blog. Maybe that says more about me though…

    I think that most of all your dad would want you to be happy, coping as best you can and able to move on with a smile (even if there are tears too). Obviously I don’t know him and I can’t speak for him, but he wouldn’t want you to be sad or stressed by the way that deal with his ashes. He would only want the best for you.

    Take care,
    Blue Eyes xxx

  28. ChasingParadise

    Oh my, if I can EVER identify with a situation. My father’s wishes were to be cremated and spread in the Chesapeake Bay (he was an avid fisherman, as I think I’ve told you before). My stepmother, being the absolute evil bitch that she is, had him cremated but took the lazy way out and dumped him in the Potomac River, without any of us there! We didn’t even get a phone call or warning. So really, yeah. I am at least grateful that your stepmother called you. I say it’s important to honor his wishes. You could still take a small amount of his ashes if it’s important to you. I’ve heard of lots of creative things people do with them, right down to having them installed into jewelry.

  29. Hmmm… this is tough. I’m sorry.

    But I’m with you this. I would think that since your father made it clear what he wanted done with his ashes, then that’s what should be done. I think part of the point of letting your loved ones know what you want done with your ashes is to relieve them from having to make those kind of decisions.

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