I Wound Up With My Uncle's Ashes Because No One Else Wanted Them | Ask the Rev. | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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I Wound Up With My Uncle's Ashes Because No One Else Wanted Them 

Published October 26, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.

Dear Reverend,

My uncle passed away four years ago. He had no spouse or children, and he wasn't much liked by any of his other family. I wound up with his ashes because nobody else wanted them. But I didn't really know him well, and it feels weird to have his remains on a shelf. What should I do with them?

Dustin De Wynde (male, 32)

Dear Dustin De Wynde

It's hard enough to know what to do with the ashes of someone you loved — trust me, I have a lot of urns — but it must be particularly puzzling when the ashes are from someone you barely knew. It's lovely that you were kind enough to give them a home for a while, but you certainly don't need to hold on to them forever.

The first thing you should do is get in touch with the members of your family who did know your uncle. You need to make sure that no one wants the ashes and that they're OK with you doing as you see fit with them.

Also, even if they didn't like your uncle all that much, your relatives may be able to give you some information that could help you decide how to proceed. Did he have a boat or like to go fishing? Sprinkle him in the lake. If he liked to ski, take him up the mountain this season and let him fly down the hill one last time. You get the idea.

If you can't dig up any good particulars, just imagine what you would want someone to do with your ashes. Take him to a pretty spot somewhere out in nature, by yourself or with a pal, and cut him loose. You don't have to do anything fancy; just think a nice thought and let them go so that he, and you, can move on.

The extra lesson here is that we should all strive to live in such a way that, when we do go, someone cares about what remains.

Good luck and God bless,

The Reverend

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The Reverend

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What's your problem? Need some irreverent counsel on life's conundrums? You can always just "Ask the Rev."

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