Bottle with mom's ashes travels from Rhode Island to Florida

By Ben Hooper  |  Nov. 10, 2017 at 11:52 AM
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Nov. 10 (UPI) -- A Rhode Island woman who placed some of her mother's cremated ashes in a bottle along with a message said the object floated all the way to Florida.

Athina McAleer of Charlestown said she decorated a bottle and filled it with some of the cremated ashes of her mother Cindy Rounds, who died in 2010, and included a letter about the woman's death from cancer.

"I put the story of where she started and got sick and unfortunately how it ended," McAleer told WPRI-TV.

McAleer's fiance, a fisherman, released the bottle from a vessel in Georges Bank in September 2013.

"She was always someone giving to other people and she always sacrificed everything for her children. She never got to travel. This was my little inspiration to let her travel, see the world," McAleer told WJAR-TV. "I never thought in a million years I would hear somebody found my mom's bottle."

McAleer said the ocean holds a special significance for her family. She said she even named her daughter Ocean.

"Anytime me or my brother or my sisters miss my mom, we come to the beach," she said.

McAleer said time passed and she started to believe she would never hear word of the bottle -- until she heard from Stephanie Winnek.

Winnek said she found the bottle on Cinnamon Beach in Palm Coast, Fla.

"I could definitely tell there was something in it like a rolled up baggy and tied like a message in a bottle," Winnek told WOFL-TV.

Winnek said she had her husband, Steve, break the bottle open because the cork would not budge. She said she was surprised when she read the message inside.

"And I said 'Oh my god their mom is in this bottle these are her ashes. She's been on a long journey four years," Winnek said.

Winnek said she and her husband spread some of Cindy's ashes around a palm tree before putting the rest into a new bottle to continue her journey.

McAleer said she was grateful for the Winneks' kindness.

"I was very overwhelmed, it just makes me feel like there are still good people out there," she said.

Topics: Rhode Island
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