My son died last December. His girlfriend won't give us the ashes, what can I do?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 17, 2016
Rebeccabenson asked...

My son's girlfriend will not give me my son's ashes. She lives in Oklahoma and I live in Kansas. What can I do to get my son's ashes from her?

Expert Answers

Rebekah Peoples, CFSP, CPC, Is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She is passionate about serving others and believes that giving clients honest, accurate information empowers them to create tributes and services that are meaningful and appropriate. Her tips about funerals and life can be found at

This is a tough situation. Regardless of how she got possession of his ashes, the unfortunate thing is that once someone has possession of something, it's hard to get them to relinquish it.

Here are some things to consider:

  • It's common for a person's ashes to be divided among those closest to him. Although she doesn't want to give them up, she may be willing to give you a portion.

  • If she will even just give you as little as a teaspoonful, they can be put into a cremation jewelry locket or incorporated into a glass pendant.

  • You may want to talk someone whom she respects and ask that person to speak to her on your behalf.

  • You might want to talk to an attorney. Many offer your first consultation free of charge and in that meeting, the attorney will let you know if there is any way he/she can help you.

If none of these give you the resolution you seek, you may have to accept the situation for what it is. In that case, take some time to focus on the positive memories you have of your son and even some of the tangible things you have, such as photographs or items from his childhood. May you find comfort in knowing that these are things that no one can take away from you and they are exclusively yours.