Daphne, AL

Blue box with baby's ashes washes ashore after botched burial at sea

Tracey Folly

A small, light blue box washed up on the shore of Daphne, Alabama late last month, and it contained something unexpected, an urn containing the ashes of a baby and other heartbreaking mementos of a short life taken far too early.

The items originally belonged to an infant born in Memphis, Tennesee, including the small urn with the baby's ashes, a blue baby blanket, white crocheted infant-sized mittens, a clay handprint, footprints, seashells, and a bracelet from a local hospital amid other keepsakes.

The discovery of the box at May Day Park left many people wondering what went wrong and how the box ended up on the shore. Was it due to strong winds or currents? Did someone make a mistake during the burial ceremony?

A KIRO 7 report provided the answer to those questions:

Investigators said that the child’s mother took the box to the park with the intention of doing a burial at sea, but the box later drifted back to shore.

The child was reportedly stillborn, and authorities are holding onto the box until the family decides what to do with it, reported NBC 15 News, quoting Daphne police Sgt Jason Vannoy:

We have department regulations about how long we keep property, but there's also exceptions to that. And this will be one of those exceptions.

While this is certainly an unfortunate event, it also serves as a reminder that scattering cremation ashes at sea can be a beautiful way to honor our loved ones who have passed away. It's important to follow all regulations and safety guidelines when doing so, however, as not doing so could lead to similar situations like this one.

The bereaved mother had held onto the baby's ashes for five years before attempting to bury them at sea.

Scattering cremation ashes at sea is often seen as an act of closure and healing for those who have lost someone close to them. It can be done with either just family members present or with friends and other loved ones in attendance. There are also various methods and ideas for scattering ashes at sea - from simply pouring them into the water to using biodegradable balloons or even sending them off in boats made out of flowers or paper lanterns.

Of course, the ashes that washed ashore in Alabama weren't scattered at all and made their way into the water, and out of the water, within both an urn and a box. From pictures posted on WKRG, it appears the urn remained intact throughout its short duration at sea and no ashes were spilled or scattered. The box itself appeared tattered but also largely intact.

No matter how you choose to scatter your loved one's ashes at sea, it's important that you do so respectfully and safely in order to avoid any potential mishaps like this one.

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