The Ashe Keeper


A few weeks ago I took my mother’s ashes to the cemetery where my Aunt (her sister) is buried and spread them on her grave.  My mother died a year ago from Cancer at the age of 78.  She was one of eleven children born into poverty and she was closest to this sister.

My father passed away in 2006 from Cancer, my grandfather (his father) passed away in 2004 (at the age of 100) from old age, and my father’s mother passed away in the 1980’s at the approximate age of 80.  At one point, I had all of their ashes.  A few years ago I took their ashes to the Voice of America Park in West Chester (Cincinnati), Ohio and found a spot down a road without anyone around to sprinkle them.  The reason I chose the Voice of America Park was because my Grandfather had been one of the first engineers with them over in Germany in the 50’s.  He and my Grandmother probably would have preferred being spread in Germany, but I didn’t know when I would make it back there.  I was stationed there when I was in the Army back in the late 70’s.

My Grandfather led a very motivated life…was a talented Violinist in addition to his career as an Engineer, and other interesting endeavors/inventions.  If you’d like to read more about him, I have a post here that I wrote over a year ago.

Anyway, back to my Mother.  She believed she had a ghost that lived with her for about 10 years, until she moved in with me back in 2008.  She had some ghost detection people come out and spend the night to see if they could pick up anything with their equipment, and they did register some activity.  She told me before she passed, that if I felt something brush against me, that it would be her.  A few weeks after she passed, I was sitting here at my computer and felt something brush against my leg.  I didn’t think anything of it, just took my hand to brush at the spot.  Well…it happened again and then it dawned on me.  Have any of you had experiences with ghosts?

Back to her ashes.  I’m sure that cemeteries have a rule against doing what I did, but I couldn’t think of a place my Mother would have rather been.  I asked her before she died and she said to keep her for a while and then put her where I thought best.  Having never visited my Aunt’s grave (she died when I was nine years old), I found online what Section she was in and the general location.  This particular cemetery is very large, so once I parked by the Section, it took about 20 minutes of walking around to find her grave.  Some grounds employees drove by me in a golf cart and I tried to keep her bag of ashes cradled in my arm, so they wouldn’t stop to investigate.  I have two brothers, but I’m not in contact with one of them and the other one hasn’t asked about her ashes, so I didn’t think he’d be interested in accompanying me.

I also would like to be cremated.  I think it’s a waste of space and money to put dead people in expensive boxes and bury them.  When I die, I’d like people to celebrate my life if there is a funeral.  Make it a party!


33 thoughts on “The Ashe Keeper

  1. Pingback: The Ashe Keeper | Funeral Homes & Cremation Services

  2. I have always said I wanted my ashes to be spread in Ireland…because it was the only way I would ever get there.
    It is an awkward thing when you are left in charge of someone’s ashes and they don’t specify what to do with them. Someday remind me to tell you about the story I have about this. It is a little crazy for this post and I don’t want to be disrespectful. I really like what you did with our Mom’s ashes and I think she will too.


  3. I agree with you on cremation point. Plus, the soul has already left the body…what’s the point of decorating the dead matter?

    Another reason for cremation is for others (who are present) to realize the temporary nature of this body, so that they can focus on what’s permanent.



  4. My husband and I just had the cremation discussion the other day when we passed a cemetery. It was one of those memorial gardens where all you see is vases of fake flowers spread across a vast lawn. I just wonder areas we will end up taking from the living to give a place to the dead. I know I don’t need to take up prime real estate. Just throw me to the wind where I can be free…no cramped box in the ground for me please. Thanks for sharing this story.


  5. I totally agree … with you, over here in Sweden I would say 90% chose to be cremated. Not many full buries anymore. Saw a wonderful film a couple of years ago where the widow was going to take her husband’s ashes over to his children that lived on the other side of the country – she took 2 of her girlfriends with her and they stopped on every place she and her husband had been and she spread a little ashes on every place, so when they reached the children – there were no ashes left. I wish somebody will do that with my ashes. “Bonneville” with Lange, Joan Allen, Kathy Bates, Tom Skerritt and Christine Baranski. If you haven’t seen it. Rent it. Wonderful movie.


  6. I have had numerous encounters with spirits. The most recent ones involving “ghost-type” energy: there was some negative energy in my bedroom where I used to live. It was active at night, and I had to keep the closet door closed tight, since that’s where it was. I was finally able to clear that energy out. And then I had numerous nights where I woke up and ‘saw/felt’ a woman with helpful/loving energy sitting in the chair by my bed, watching over me. I have never been able to identify her, though. I believe that some spirits need help to go on their way; others, like your mom and my helping spirit, came back to help/give comfort, but probably are not “stuck” on earth when they should be elsewhere.


  7. I don´t know if I believe in ghosts but I do believe that we are made up of energy. That energy must go somewhere when we die or it dies with us? I don`t know.
    My father always said he wanted to be cremated and my mother said she wanted to be buried under a tree. Then she changed her mind and wanted to be cremated too. Last year they both died and were cremated. Their ashes were spread on my brother`s tomb, just like you, sort of sneaking into the cemetery since here it`s strictly forbidden. So it kept me thinking … about my own moment. I`ve always told my friends that I wanted to be cremated and wanted them to go to the Aconcagua and throw my ahses away in the air. But my friends say that by the time I`m that old, they will be too old to go to the Aconcagua so I settled for whatever open space they can find and go in their wheelchairs. Sort of a black humor.if you think of it … but I want laughter and joy, no tears, since I will have lived a good life and that`s to celebrate.


  8. What a lovely gesture to honor your grandparents and your mother. And I love that your mother gave you a sign after her death by brushing up against you. My mom died of cancer 7-months ago and my sisters and I joked with her about coming back to see us once she made it to the other side. Well, believe it or not, a couple of months back she showed up at the side of my bed in the middle of the night and scared me silly. I screamed so loud I think I woke the whole neighborhood up. It just didn’t register with me that it was her until I stopped screaming and opened my eyes. Sounds crazy, right? It gets better 🙂 I have had many encounters with “spirits,” in my life, but I only talk about it with family. Since my husband and I moved into our home 7-years ago we both have seen and heard “spirits” here. My mom moved in with me to spend her last months here and every morning she would tell me about the people who were showing up in her room in the middle of the night (and my mom did not believe in such things). My cousin, who is a nun, told us it must be something evil and encouraged us to have the house blessed. Though we never thought it was some kind of negative force, we had the house blessed anyway because it was really scary being awakened in the middle of the night to find someone standing at the side of our bed (I kid you not). The blessing seems to have worked with only occasional sightings since then. I could go on and on and have often thought about doing a post about this topic, but I think most people would think I was crazy. Luckily for me, my husband and my mom have experienced the same thing in this house, so I know I’m not alone. Aren’t you glad you asked 🙂


    • Wow…that’s interesting. I think more people than you realize have had encounters. Thanks for sharing yours with me and I’m glad they’re happening with much less frequency! Have a great week!!


  9. Sherry, what an interesting story about your family history. It’s very touching that you made the effort to spread your Grandparents ashes in a place that was meaningful to both them and you, and I’m sure they’re beaming with pride from heaven. I love that your mother brushed against you soon after she died, the thought of it gives me goosebumps. And I agree with you about the cremation and the party…something tells me you will have many friends there to celebrate your life, but for now let’s just concentrate on living!!

    : )


  10. Dear Lachelle Sherry : I was extañando your writing. Here in my country Colombia, always cremate our loved ones. It is very painful but is best. My father died in 2005 and my mother eight months after and who died in 2006. Thank you for sharing your story.


  11. Yeah go with the party…have a wake! No need to be put in the cold damp earth for worms n bugs to excavate our flesh, yuck. Burn because your dead n no feelings. You have given me an idea to do a poem or two on this. I hope to do dark poems come October in celebration of pink cancer month. Fighter me, huh!


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