What You Need to Know About Destination Funerals
Updated: Oct 26
So You Want a Destination Funeral?
Do you have a place that just speaks to you? Perhaps your final resting place will be right in your own backyard, well not literally, but close to home. But what if the place you consider home, the place you grew up is on the opposite coast? Or perhaps you want your cremated remains scattered where you once vacationed?
Before you tell your spouse, kids or family where you’d want your cremated remains scattered, ask yourself one question. How reasonable a request is it? Will you leave the necessary funds behind to afford a trip for your closest family members to get to Maui or other far-away place? How many won’t be able to attend due to finances or lack of vacation time from work? It may feel like your final request should be honored without question, but at what cost?
The same issues that face newly engaged couples planning a destination wedding also plague those planning a destination funeral. It’s pretty much a given that many of those invited will not be able to attend. How does that affect the couple? Might they feel slighted or might they be understanding when the RSVPs come back with regrets? Destination funerals carry the same weight and burden of responsibility, both to the deceased’s family who wish to carry out their loved ones wishes and for the friends and family that want the ability to say their final goodbyes.
The families I talk with on a daily basis sometimes face very daunting challenges trying to get to a given location requested by their loved one. It’s not unusual for family members to take a flight across the country or from other countries to bury their loved ones ashes at sea, only to encounter poor weather or ocean conditions and not be able to embark safely. These are some of the logistics to consider when planning any outdoor activity. Mother Nature can’t be predicted but she can be planned around.
The best scenario is when several days can be spent in the location to allow for back up dates. But what if the family has a very limited window, like only one day? In the event the private charter can’t be rescheduled, the captain could scatter the remains in what is known as a “Captain’s Service”. You just need to give your family the “Out”, meaning permission to have your cremated remains scattered, even if they can’t be in attendance. That way, your family has the reassurance to pass remains on to the captain to be scattered without feeling guilty.
If you have your heart set on a distant location from that of your family, do take the time to learn about the various options. Many US locations have limited service in the winter and conversely, many ports have limited availability during the busy summer vacation weeks and spring break. After your due diligence is complete you may find that being scattered at sea closer to home would be the more pragmatic plan to go with. After all, home is where the heart is.
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