AIBU to be horrified my ex husband’s ashes have been divided into two(32 Posts)
After 10 months of trying to find out what has happened to my ex husband’s ashes (he tragically died of a brain tumour last November) so our 13 year old son can grieve, I have just received a message that my ex’s new wife (who married him on his deathbed) has divided the ashes into two. She is intending to put some of ‘her’ half in a plant pot and heaven knows what she will do with the rest. I had asked if they could all be scattered by his parents memorial place so my son could visit that spot when he felt sad. I think she is being unbelievably cruel to my son particularly as she hasn’t been in touch with him since the funeral or am I missing something?
Did she keep half for your son? She might think she's being kind. I've never looked to visit graces or ashes, is rather go to a place we spent happy times together, did your son have a special place that reminds him of his father? A park or beach etc
Has she split them with the intention of half being for your son? If that is the case, you can scatter them in the memorial place?
The fact they have been divided in 2 will only be an issue for your son if you make it an issue
I know the concept of splitting ashes can be very emotional and some people hate the idea. Others feel comfortable with it and see it as a way to connect their loved one with lots of people and places that were important to them. She may not have realised that this would be upsetting to anyone else.
It seems very harsh that she hasn't been in touch with your DS and helped him grieve. Did he have a close relationship with his DF? Has he been able to take some mementos and photos?
I'm so sorry you are both going through this
Not everyone will agree with this but I wouldn't tell your DS it's half the ashes, I would just refer to 'the ashes'. And Bird's idea about going to a place with happy memories instead is good. Will you be keeping in touch with the new wife long term?
I'm afraid it's her decision what happens to the ashes.
It's sad for your ds but like any other child of a deceased parent he has to accept that it's the spouse who gets to make the decision.
So long as you can support your ds in his grieving and share memories, he will be ok.
So is the other half for your ds? If so, then I think that's reasonable and quite a common occurrence. I agree not to tell your ds that its half and just refer to it as the ashes.
I assumed that most ashes were split. I was slightly surprised at the amount of ashes that were produced. The crematorium put most in an urn for us, but also made several little bags for scattering, and the urn was intended to be openable and they were happy for us to go back at any point to have more small bags made. the small bags for scattering were in little plastic bags in velvet pouches, so it still looked respectable. We scattered them in a whole variety of places. You couldn't scatter all the ashes in one place as there is so much; you'd have to bury the urn I guess. So to me it seems a very sensible thing to do - give people the chance to put them where they would feel comfortable and in the way they want to remember the deceased. I wouldn't be horrified at all.
Although I absolutely agree that it is terrible that you have waited so long for this information.
The ashes are just a by product. Your son’s father is no longer in them. Can’t you create a different place for your son to use as a memorial to him? Plant a tree, dedicate a bench, build a section in the garden? I once saw this beautiful idea where people decorated stones and made a kind of rockery. There are so many ideas out there.
Has she said what she's doing with the other half?
She is out of line not considering your son, not a lot you can do about it though.
I agree with blackcat
If you had a good relationship with your ex and his dw before he died I would try to arrange to meet up to acknowledge her loss/grief and discuss if she is willing to accommodate your sons needs.
If you didn't have a good relationship or she is not willing to meet, try to let it go and concentrate on your son. Can he have a small memorial stone for his dad without the ashes?
Did your ex visit memorial place? If so I think you should still visit the memorial place with your ds and as frame it as somewhere his dad went to remember his own parents iyswim
Why is she being cruel? I agree maybe she thinks she's being kind by splitting them so that some can go to a place that your son can visit and some can be kept.
What was her relationship like with your ds before her dh died?
I think it is only cruel if she isnt giving your son the chance to scatter some. A 13 year old wont know, unless he is told, that it is only half. It is a gesture that he can scatter them somewhere he feels will help with his grieving. I hope she allows him this x
She's grieving too. Maybe she thinks your son has you and therefore doesn't need her. It's not relevant that they got married on his death bed unless you are trying to imply she's some kind of gold digger or he didn't have mental capacity to truly consent to marriage. She was your ex husband's choice.
Don't make the ashes a big deal and neither will your son. Find a special place for him to visit to remember his dad. How you handle it will set the tone for how he does.
my ex’s new wife (who married him on his deathbed)
I’m sorry for your son’s loss but when your XH and his wife married is neither relevant or any of your business really.
Wht is she doing with the other half? Your son doesnt need ashes to grieve. If he would like a special place to visit when he feels sad ask him to think of somewhere he has happy memories with his dad or create a small memory garden in your garden/yard. He might not even 'need' somewhere to go. I have never visited a grave in my life but I remember lost relatives when something happens that reminds me of them.
It is a shame your ex's widow did not make contact with your son but I wonder how close a relationship she had/has with your son.
Re the ashes, please do not make an issue of the fact they are split. I agree with Shagged "The fact they have been divided in 2 will only be an issue for your son if you make it an issue"
I would not lie about the ashes, I would be honest but be clear, your chance (together) to scatter the ashes should help him to grieve and to remember his dad while he was alive. Please find some ways for him to do this (I am sure you are doing this but there are some charities out there to help with children's grief).
The earthly remains should be treated with dignity and you and your son can choose to scatter the ashes where you wish.
YABU. But she should have clarified this sooner.
I don’t think you’re missing anything. I know she’s grieving but she should see consenting to marry a dying man comes with huge responsibility to the rest of his family, especially his not yet adult children.
I think @Aderyn19 has summed it up, beautifully.
You seem to forget your ex-husband's new partner will be grieving, too.
Also agree with other posters saying your DS will follow the tone which you set in the first place.
I knew an elderly lady whose son died in WW2. They never found his body, and even if they had, she wouldn't have been able to travel to France to visit his grave. She had a corner of her garden planted as his garden,, and it was a great comfort to her. Perhaps help your son to build something like that, either in the garden or in his bedroom.
I'm so sorry for your DS's loss (and you must be feeling grief too even though you had split.) My son also lost his dad at 13 and it was very difficult.
My ex was buried so there was no issue with ashes, but a complicating factor was that he was buried in the city he had moved to with his new partner - around 4 hours drive. For the first 3 years, we used to drive there for the anniversary (staying overnight at a hotel) and visited the grave to put some small memento there. Ex wasn't fond of flowers or nature in general so DS would put something there that related to one of his hobbies (for example a model car or a copy of an old photo of the two of them.) On his dad's birthday we generally used to visit somewhere there were happy childhood memories - the park, specific shops, etc.
Ex's new partner was reasonable enough to allow DS to pick some items to create a "memory box" - mainly old photos from before he was born, photos of him and his dad when he was a baby/toddler, his dad's service medals, etc.
It was 10 years this year and he rarely thinks of his dad any more. We no longer mark the occasion but DS will occasionally look through his memory box.
Has your DS been referred to pastoral support and/or CAMHS by the school or GP? The more support he receives now, the smoother his grieving process will be.
for you both
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