Originally published on San Diego Burial at Sea on May 17, 2015, by Dana Parks
As the cremation rate continues to rise (currently over 60% in California), families are left with the decision of what to do with the cremains (ashes). Increasing families are turning to the scattering of ashes on the sea. Some families see it as a way to save costs or to have more flexibility when deciding and scheduling services. San Diego ashes on the sea, Many other families see it as a beautiful celebration of life and as a natural way to return to the sea, the place from which all life began. Anyone who had attended a sea scattering can attest to the beauty and serenity a scattering at sea evokes.
The San Diego area is the ideal place for performing scattering of ashes at sea because of the ideal environment and natural beauty of our surrounding. The atmosphere created by family and friends bonding on a yacht is unique and a setting of a yacht is difficult to create in any other venue.
History of Cremation
People have used cremation as a way to provide a final resting place as far back as 1000 BC in Europe. The Greeks used it as a way to return the remains of soldiers who had died in wars. After that, cremation was widely used with many families storing the ashes in beautiful urns.
In the United States, cremation became increasingly more, and more popular beginning in the 1800s. The percentage of cremations has increased steadily since that time with some areas preferring the method due to lack of space, cost, and other aspects.
Scattering Ashes on the Sea
One of the most, perhaps the most, preferable way of disposing of the ashes after the cremation is scattering the ashes on the sea. It is becoming the thing to do with cremains and as more and more people have experience with scattering at sea – the word is spreading. The serenity and beauty is hard to beat.
Different religions may perform their ceremonies in very differing ways. For example, when scattering from our yachts Buddhists chant over the cremains on the trip out to sea. In Thailand, the ashes are actually floated out to sea in a wreath with candles.
Protestant religions depending on the group have procedures for burial at sea or scattering the ashes on the sea. Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States uses this prayer:
“UNTO Almighty God we commend the soul of our brother departed, and we commit his body to the deep; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection unto eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ; at whose coming in glorious majesty to judge the world, the sea shall give up her dead; and the corruptible bodies of those who sleep in him shall be changed, and made like unto his glorious body; according to the mighty working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.”
In Hinduism, the ashes are placed in the Ganges River if possible. In our experience on the yacht, Hindus’ often spread ashes on themselves and then wash it off in the ocean.
With San Diego Burial at Sea we have experience with many different religions aboard our yachts. The services are intimate, personal and provide an unforgettable event in an unforgettable atmosphere. We do have a large number of poems on the yacht available to be read but one of the crews favorite follows
“When I am gone, release me – let me go.
I have so many things to see and do,
You must not tie yourself to me with tears.
Be happy that we had so many years.
I gave to you my love and you can only guess,
How much you gave to me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you each have shown,
But now it’s time I traveled on alone.
So grieve awhile for me if grieve you must.
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It’s only for a while that we must part,
So bless the memories within your heart.
I will not be far away, for life goes on.
So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can’t see or touch me, I’ll be near.
And if you listen with your heart you’ll hear
All of my love around you soft and clear.
And then, when you must come this way alone,
I will greet you with a smile and “Welcome Home”.
Captain Dana Parks has been operating a Burial at Sea business in San Diego for many years. He throughly enjoys his time on the water and helping this clients during this difficult peiod. Besides being a charter yacht captain he is also a licensed California funeral director (FDR: 3629), scuba divemaster and sailing instructor. – see more at http://sandiegoburialatsea.com/ashes-on-the-sea-the-modern-celebration/