What did I do with Charles’ ashes?

So my husband and I wanted something funky to hold Charles’ ashes. We finally picked them up from the funeral home on his birthday. Well, my husband did. And we chose this basket online from Etsy on the far left–with the tassels. I sort of copied what Tamara did for Logan. She got a nifty, creative basket for Logan’s ashes and I liked that idea.

The ashes barely fit in there. The whole thing is stuffed. But we got them in there with some determination and patience.

I do have two children and Richard had sent me a recent headshot which is below on the same shelf with his brother. I also have a picture of Richard and Charles together as children on the far left. (Not shown in this picture, however.) My friend Tamara flew in from Colorado recently and brought me the lovely colorful, tile you see on the upper right.

I may still get a headstone for Charles and do the burial thing. But I’m not ready yet. Do we buy three plots? I’m not sure what Richard would do one day? With families so spread out these days, this is apparently a big challenge according to my friend who works at a funeral home.

Took just under three years to do this. But glad we finally made some kind of decision.

Reflecting on the first 2 years after losing Charles to suicide

Author: Anne Moss Rogers

I am the owner of emotionally naked, a site that reached a quarter million people in its first 18 months. I am President of Beacon Tree Foundation, advocates for youth mental health as well as a writer and public speaker on the topics of suicide, addiction, mental illness, and grief. I lost my youngest son, Charles, 20, to suicide June 5, 2015. I was a marketing professional for years prior to losing my son and co-owned a digital marketing firm.

9 thoughts on “What did I do with Charles’ ashes?”

  1. Anne,
    Every time I find myself struggling with a decision, you write a blog about it. Thank you. My son’s ashes are sitting on a shelf in my office, still in the box that the funeral director sent them in. His father refused to come together with me on these decisions and instructed the funeral home to divide the ashes. My box came marked, “half the remains of” and it was just another knife in the wound that now encases my heart. He spread our son’s ashes on a mountaintop in CO. I carried my part with me through our recent move from Richmond to Fredericksburg where we built our forever home. My plan is to plant a willow tree and bury his ashes with the roots. I will have a memorial garden there as well as a plaque that I designed. His father gave him wings, I want to give him roots. My struggle is like yours. What if this does not end up being where I live out my days? Perhaps it doesn’t matter. As one of your previous commenters said, our body is truly just a shell of who we are. I long to feel my son’s presence, his ashes are not him, they are the remains of the vessel that carried him for 25 years in this life. What I do know is that my son, with his unending quest for adventure, would not be content to sit on a shelf. At least within a tree, he will always be reasching for the sky and growing and feeling the warmth of the sun. As you can see, I’m still trying to find my way through this reasoning, but wanted to let you know that you aren’t alone in your struggle.

    1. I think you’ve come a long way through the thought process. We don’t have to decide now. Your comment is so eloquently said. I have another friend who had to divide the ashes. That would be a good blog post. If you are up to that, it would be good to address that issue.

  2. Anne, I love this container..unobtrusive and who would think but u know!
    My grandfather bought 16 plots in Southampton L0ng Island too many years ago..my grandparents and Dad are buried there but I have no intentions of being there…the older I get the more I may want them thrown in the sea or from the Blue Ridge…I have seen so many die as a nurse and our bodies are really just a shell to our beautiful personalities. …

    1. If I wanted to buy him, they won’t let you use that container. But not my intention at this point. Like you said, we know and didn’t want the typical “urnish” looking urn. Just not Charles. Thank you my friend.

  3. I love what you did – of course it was the right choice. The cemetery thing is much harder. It forces you to consider where you will be buried and possibly the rest of your family. On the other hand, once that is done, it’s sort of nice not to have to make that decision the next time you are in extreme grief.
    We now have the plot and the drawings for our headstone are done. It matches Whitten’s and will be behind his.
    It’s less expensive to do them both at once, but I didn’t want to drive up and see my headstone. It’s creepy and I think it ages you even more.
    It makes me mad we have to think about these things.

    1. It has forced me to think about where we will go. What’s holding me back from just going with Hollywood is that Richard is in California. If we move out there because he stays out there and has a family (yet to be determined), would I want charles all the way back here? I think I want him with me. And good to know about the headstones. That is eye opening.

      But you did it. You give yourself grief for not doing certain things at certain times in your grief but you just did get something important done. Look how long it has taken me just to get to this spot!

  4. I love the container you chose. It is joyful, not somber, and reflects Charles’ personality. Perfect. You really have no timeframe for deciding the next step so it is good to take your time, talk with Richard, think it through. Such complicated decisions… Thank you for sharing this with us. ❤️

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