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The Busted Halo Question Box
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This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

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Caitlin Kennell Kim
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
Our readers asked:

If I choose to cremate my husband, does my daughter have to have a say in those plans?

Neela Kale Answers:

From a legal standpoint, your husband can express his desire to be cremated in a will or cremation directive. As his next of kin, you will then have the task of honoring his wishes. Thus, regardless of what your daughter thinks, you can go ahead with plans to have your husband cremated. The moral issue here is different. Upon your husband’s death, your daughter will also be grieving. Death can shatter our security and expose old wounds, but it can also offer opportunities to strengthen ties and bring families together. Whether your daughter has had a good or bad relationship with you and your husband, his death may prompt her to reexamine that bond and draw closer. Though it is a difficult time for you, see if you can open your heart to involve your daughter in the arrangements. Simply giving her a chance to express her wishes may be enough of a sign that you are acknowledging her loss as well as yours, and years from now you may look back and remember this as time of healing, rather than of conflict.

The Author : Neela Kale
Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Sandy Ricket

    My wife and adult children know our wishes. We will be cremated. We wish our ashes comingled, but the church does not permit it.

  • Jo

    A very thoughtful and kind answer, Neela (from a fellow Oregonian!)

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