On Scattering Ashes, Sharing Memories, and Sacred Places

Pastor Mariellen Yoshino, senior pastor at LAUMC, and I recently shared an inspirational and private time at a peaceful location, which I will keep secret. Pastor Mariellen had never been there and was enthralled with the beauty. The idea of sharing memories of my sons who have passed away and scattering remains for some of them had been on my mind for a while. I asked Pastor Mariellen if she would come with me.

This location reminds me of the creek behind my childhood home, only it is much more beautiful and doesn’t smell of crude oil from the oil fields as described in a long ago post, Sanctuary Among the Hills. First we hiked along the stream I knew of and where I had visited a couple of times. We wanted to find the perfect spot. After hiking one direction, we retraced our path and headed in the opposite direction – there it was, the PERFECT PLACE. Pastor Mariellen chose to sit on the damp ground and be close to the water. I chose a web of tree roots for my seat.







Pastor Mariellen blessed our location and immediately I felt a calm within. She had never met any of these sons but she now knows bits and pieces of my journey with each one. I had brought along a few photos, the programs from the memorial services that had taken place years ago, and the remains I had never scattered. I didn’t have remains for all of them but as I told her about my sons, she prayed for each one individually and sort of “sent them on their way”.

I suggested we “perform” the song “In This Very Room.” (*See lyrics below) I decided I should not sing (God forbid how that would disturb the peaceful setting), but sign only. Pastor Mariellen sang and signed and we changed the word room to place. In between sharing some poems about the boys my mother had composed and a piece a close friend had written, I would scatter the remains of one son at a time. I found a special location in the stream for my sons – one flowed more freely than others while some didn’t seem to want to move on but to hang around for a bit.

I’m not sure why I didn’t make the decision to scatter my sons’ ashes before. However, for whatever reason, my heart told me the moment to do this was now. It’s been difficult for me to let go of my sons. Too many have passed away before me. The end of life for each one was a completely different experience but one thing that was the same – I never had much opportunity to grieve.

I felt free to share some of my deepest feelings with Pastor Mariellen about my struggles with the why of how some of my sons entered my life. How challenging it was for me to physically and emotionally care for some and others it was easier for me to handle their physical care and deal with my emotions differently. She listened, understood, accepted, and had an explanation that instilled an inner peace. I know there will continue to be times when I feel lonely, sad, and empty but I know I have this sacred place to return to when I am feeling a need to find a quiet place. A place to spend an hour or two where I know I can feel the spirits of my sons who have gone on before me.

*In This Very Room

In this very room there’s quite enough love for one like me,
And in this very room there’s quite enough joy for one like me,
And there’s quite enough hope and quite enough power to chase away any gloom,
For Jesus, Lord Jesus … is in this very room.
And in this very room there’s quite enough love for all of us,
And in this very room there’s quite enough joy for all of us,
And there’s quite enough hope and quite enough power to chase away any gloom,
For Jesus, Lord Jesus … is in this very room.


This entry was posted in Mindfulness and Prayers. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *