Traveling Ashes

Last week I was in Phoenix to celebrate my step mothers 90th birthday. All in all, an enjoyable trip. While I was there she told me that she wanted me to take my dad’s ashes with me. (He’s been gone 5 years) She’s had the ashes on a shelf in her bedroom in the plastic box they came from the crematorium in. “He wanted his ashes buried with your mom” she said.

Now my mom was buried, 25 years ago in a Catholic cemetery in Cupertino CA. It’s a double decker with the expectation that my dad would one day be buried there.  I called my sister to tell her this. She said The last thing Dad ever said to her about this was when he handed her the paperwork for the burial Plot. “Here” he said “you or Robert use this. I won’t need it, I’m getting cremated”.

So he either changed his mind over the following 4 years, or this is just what Alice wants, or what she thinks we want. I don’t really care. It’s just his ashes. He’s with the Lord. I’m not sure what the rules are regarding ashes at the cemetery. My sister has the paperwork somewhere. The plot is paid for. I don’t know if we have to pay to have them dig a big hole to put the box in, or do we show up with shovels, or do we just scatter the ashes in the grave?

So, she wanted them out of her apartment. Now that she’s 90 she wants to start clearing the place out so there won’t be so much for people to go through when it’s her time. That’s considerate, but I told her she’s got at least 10 years to worry about it.

My concern was whether or not I could bring the ashes on the plane in my carry-on. I had Jean check up on that for me, and she found out it was ok as long as the container is x-rayable. No problem, it’s plastic. ade sure to double bag the container. the last thing I wanted was for the box to open somehow, andspill the contents all over my clothes. That would be some kind of mess.

My suitcase with the ashes was stopped inside the scanner. “Whose bag is this”?  the TSA guy asked “Mine”

“I can’t tell what this is”

“It’s my dad’s ashes”

“I’m sorry” he said sympathetically. “I’ll have to rescan it”

“No problem”

Made it home with the cargo safe and sound. No spills, and no incidents. It’s kind of weird having these ashes here after five years.  Now we’ll have to make arrangements to get them into the ground at the cemetery in California.