Life Advice



Deciding Mom's Final Resting Place

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: My mom passed away six months ago. I am in possession of her cremated remains. Shortly before her death, I moved to the other side of the country, to a place she'd never been.

She mentioned many years ago she would want her ashes to be scattered in the state of Maine, where she resided for about 15 years in the 1990s. When she mentioned being scattered, she didn't seem very serious. She was in great health at the time and much younger.

I don't feel comfortable with her ashes in my home. When I received them, I had them blessed by a priest at the church. You see, my mother no longer had any friends or relatives, and when she passed away, she was residing in Florida. I didn't even have a memorial service there because it would've just been me and probably a couple nurses from the facility she was in. It would've made no sense to scatter her ashes in Florida because she really wasn't happy there.

I don't have anyone to help me with this. I'm growing old and have many health issues. If I were to take the trip to Maine, it would involve a very long flight with layovers and connecting flights. I think I'd be risking my health. My question is, should I scatter her ashes here in my new homeland, which is very lovely, or put the urn in a mausoleum near me? I am so distraught and desperate for advice. -- Ashes to Ashes

Dear Ashes: Handling the final wishes of a loved one is always a deeply personal and challenging task, especially if their plans weren't clearly outlined or aren't practical to carry out. Given your health concerns and the difficulties involved in traveling to Maine, it's understandable to look for alternatives that still honor your mother's memory respectfully.

Scattering her ashes locally or placing the urn in a nearby mausoleum are both respectful options. If you choose a local scattering, select a place that is serene and beautiful, where you feel her presence would be at peace and where you can visit comfortably. The mausoleum could offer a sense of permanence and ease of visitation, which might bring you more comfort. Whatever decision you make, ensure it brings you peace and feels like a fitting tribute to your mother's memory, taking into account your own needs and limitations. I'm sure your mother would more than understand and appreciate however you decide to handle it.

Dear Annie: I have been married to my spouse for two decades and in a committed relationship with him for 23 years. We are parents to a 17-year-old son. While our relationship is characterized by mutual love and respect, I am concerned about the state of our physical intimacy.


Despite repeated attempts to initiate discussions on the topic, my husband becomes defensive and dismissive, asserting that I place undue emphasis on sexual intimacy and that it should not be the primary focus of our marriage. This lack of intimacy has adversely affected my emotional and physical well-being, although I maintain a deep affection for him as a person.

While I acknowledge his lower libido, I believe that a healthy level of intimacy is essential for any marital relationship. I am seeking your professional guidance in addressing this sensitive matter and exploring potential solutions to rekindle the physical aspect of our marriage. -- Intimacy Concerns

Dear Intimacy Concerns: If direct conversations have ended in defensiveness, consider broaching this topic together in couples counseling. A therapist can facilitate discussions and provide strategies to help both of you understand each other's needs better.

Meanwhile, try to increase physical affection in non-sexual ways, like holding hands or hugging. These can be steppingstones to more intimate moments. Keep an open dialogue, emphasizing to your husband your desire to nurture and strengthen your bond together as a team. With professional guidance and patience, you have a good chance of finding a balance that suits both your needs.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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