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Received letter for old house owners re cremation

(17 Posts)
mermer2016 Thu 03-Nov-16 16:29:48


I'm hoping people might be able to give me some advice on a difficult and sad situation.

We moved into our house 2.5 years ago but still get post now and then for the people that lived here previously (a couple with a young daughter). They didn't leave a forwarding address, but I do have an email address for them.

We've been away so our post has built up and I was opening a whole pile of it when I opened a letter sent to them by mistake. It was a letter from a local crematorium saying that they are still holding the cremated remains of their baby, but that unless they replied to the letter within two weeks the remains would be scattered in the crematorium's garden of remembrance. The letter was from more than two weeks ago, however my husband rang the crematorium this morning and they haven't been scattered yet. He offered to give the person he spoke to the email address of the old owners of our house, but although they eventually agreed to write it down they essentially said they weren't willing to contact them via email. My husband asked whether we should email them and the person on the phone said 'I can't stop you' but implied they didn't think we should. They said that they have had the ashes for 3 years.

I haven't had children, and feel a bit at a loss as to what the right thing is to do. Part of me thinks that if the parents had wanted to do anything with the ashes then they would have done so by now, and that maybe they don't want to be reminded of a painful time - particularly as I wonder if selling the house and moving was part of a 'fresh start' for them? And emailing them about this feels intrusive. But the other part of me thinks that they have the right to know this information?

Should we email them with a scanned copy of the letter to let them know, or assume that they have decided for good reasons to not arrange to do anything with the ashes and so wouldn't welcome a reminder of it?

mermer2016 Thu 03-Nov-16 16:31:01

P.S. I hope people don't mind me posting in this topic, I just thought that perhaps people here might best be able to know how the old owners of our house might feel about this as I don't want to cause them any unnecessary pain. Hope it's not insensitive to have done so.

OhNoNotMyBaby Thu 03-Nov-16 16:31:12

Email them. It's a no-brainer.

Greengager Thu 03-Nov-16 16:33:21

You are a lovely caring person to go to do much trouble for them. I'd email them a copy of the letter.

ByeByeLilSebastian Thu 03-Nov-16 16:33:26

Email them but I don't think I would actually mention the ashes in the email. I'd say there was an urgent letter and could they please get in touch.

ChicRock Thu 03-Nov-16 16:34:17

I would email them a scanned copy of the letter. It's not really your place to assume anything here, so pass on the info and let them decide what to do with it.

kilmuir Thu 03-Nov-16 16:35:33

Email them then they can decide. Thank you for caring

teenyrabbit Thu 03-Nov-16 16:35:57

I think I'd email them. Then they can decide to ignore the letter if they want, or to collect the ashes.

I've never lost a baby, so I can't give you my opinion from that perspective. It's very sad sad you sound lovely though.

mermer2016 Thu 03-Nov-16 16:39:12

Thanks, I think that's what we feel we should do, just the person at the crematorium essentially refused to email them because she said it was 'inappropriate' so it made us question what to do.

Maybe in the email I'll limit it to saying that we received a personal and important letter for them that I've attached, and that they shouldn't feel that they need to reply to my email.

babyboyHarrison Thu 03-Nov-16 16:43:07

I would be inclined to e-mail them to ask for a forwarding address and then when you have that send it to the crem for them to resend the letter.

mermer2016 Thu 03-Nov-16 16:44:56

Actually just realised I need to explain the situation slightly as the letter says that the remains will/might have been already scattered. So need to let them know that we've rung the crematorium and they haven't been.

ChicRock Thu 03-Nov-16 16:52:54

No, while I can see why you did it, phoning the crem was overstepping the mark, and the crem may have actually breached data protect or something by discussing it with you.

Just explain you've been on holiday, opened this letter by accident, here is a copy, please don't feel the need to reply to this mail.

lightcola Thu 03-Nov-16 17:08:17

To be honest when they had the cremation they would have known then the time scale in which to collect the ashes. They probably chose not to pick them up. Saying that though, a lot can change in a few years so they may feel differently knowing it's not too late. I would just email them.

KittyandTeal Thu 03-Nov-16 17:55:27

We were told that the crematorium would only contact us if they could get ashes as dd2 and ds were both so small. I didn't expect them to be able to so I was surprised when they called us.

It might be this couple were told the same and didn't think that there were any ashes to collect as no one has contacted them (we were called on the phone, I'm really surprised they didn't do that)

I would email them and just be really honest about it and matter of fact. If they don't want to pick them up then they still have that option. However, if they didn't think there were any you could be bringing them a little silver lining (that's how I see getting our babies ashes)

On another note it's pretty shitty that 1. The crematorium didn't call them rather than a letter or 2. They haven't scattered them like they said they would.

DrE678 Thu 03-Nov-16 18:02:42

I don't think you should scan and letter. I think you should ask them for a mail address saying someone has been trying to get in touch with them and give it to the crematorium. I'd be mortified if someone had read a letter that personal, I wouldn't expect it to have been opened. I know they could refuse/ignore but it's just such a sensitive subject.

3luckystars Fri 11-Nov-16 19:14:00

Too late now probably, but I would email and say the crematorium dropped a note in your letterbox asking this couple to contact them immediately.
Underline immediately.
No need to elaborate. Sorry you are in this position, I hope it worked out for you.

Akire Fri 11-Nov-16 19:17:10

You could email them saying you had phone call from crematorium saying it was urgent. That way they will know what's it about and they don't have to know you know.

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