Scattering CJ



In 2010, when he was 20 years old, C.J. Twomey committed suicide. His mother, Hallie Twomey, who lives in Auburn, Maine, suffered and suffers. She posted a plea on Facebook for people to scatter her son’s ashes around the world because C.J. had loved adventure. She wanted her Facebook friends to help C.J. “see the mountains that he never got to climb, see the vast oceans that he would have loved, see tropical beaches and lands far and away.” Now, many of his ashes have been scattered around the world: India, Jamaica, the Grand Canyon, the Caribbean, Australia, Morocco, Japan, Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts (home of the Red Sox, his favorite team), and many more. His ashes are a part of the world now. Her Facebook page titled “Scattering CJ” went up on 11 November 2013 and by 24 December 2013, she had mailed over 150 packets, each containing a small portion of ashes, around the world and spent almost $600 on postage. Many more people have asked to help scatter C.J.’s ashes. She said, “Quite frankly, I spent the first two weeks [after starting the Facebook page] doing nothing but crying. I just wasn’t prepared for what people were sharing and how somebody who has absolutely no connection to me could be affected.” Many of the people who have scattered C.J.’s ashes have outlived their own children. Ms. Twomey also sends a note and a small photograph of a smiling C.J. wearing a Boston Red Sox T-shirt. The note tells about the people C.J. helped through donating his organs. C.J.’s corneas, a lung, heart, kidneys, and liver have given other people a chance at leading a healthy life. The note also asks the recipient to think about her son and in their thoughts to remind him that “Mom and Dad love him, and that Mom is sorry.” Ms. Twomey said, “C.J. and I fought terribly literally two seconds before he put a gun to his head and my last words to him were not nice. I didn’t tell him I loved him. I didn’t hug him.” He left their home, got into his car, and killed himself. She said, “I’m so touched [by all the people scattering her son’s ashes]. I’ve lost all faith in pretty much anything since C.J. died. I don’t pray anymore. I’m just not spiritual. I think this was such an effort for me to put my faith — not to be dramatic — in mankind. That’s been wonderful.” She added, “My biggest fear was that C.J. would be forgotten and every time somebody writes a comment [on Facebook] or offers to take him on this journey, he’s being thought of. That’s so powerful.” She remembers her son’s smile: “He never met a mirror he didn’t like.”

For Further Information: Ray Sanchez, “Social media helps Maine mother scatter her son’s ashes worldwide.” CNN. 24 December 2013

For Further Information: “Scattering CJ.” Facebook. Accessed 25 December 2013

For Further Information: Daniel Hartill, “Auburn mother urges organ donation in wake of son’s death.” Lewiston Sun Journal (Maine) and Bangor Daily News (Maine). 16 April 2013

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