Social media helps Maine mother scatter her son's ashes worldwide

Story highlights

  • A mother's Facebook plea for help in scattering son's ashes becomes an international effort
  • From the Grand Canyon to the Caribbean to Australia, C.J.'s ashes are spread
  • Many of those scattering ashes have been affected by suicide or have outlived their children
For more than three years, Hallie Twomey has struggled with the suicide of her 20-year-old son, C.J. She searched his belongings for a note with a clue of what tormented him. She sought counseling and attended support groups. Nothing helped, she said.
Now, a plea initially to Facebook friends throughout the United States 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" by scattering his ashes has turned into an international effort. Strangers from India to Jamaica are spreading his ashes in tribute to the adventurous young man. A separate Facebook page called "Scattering CJ" has more than 4,000 likes.
"How do you say thank you for that?" Twomey asked in an interview with CNN. "It's been so much and so amazing but I'd give it all back if I could have C.J. It doesn't go past me that it's Christmas, and holidays are so hard for us. I just wish I had him and none of this."
Still, the outpouring of support since her "Scattering CJ" page went up November 11 has been a source of comfort. On Facebook, the pictures and videos chronicle the places: From the Grand Canyon to the Caribbean, from Australia to Morocco, C.J.'s ashes have been spread.
"Quite frankly, I spent the first two weeks doing nothing but crying," Twomey, of Auburn, Maine, said. "I just wasn't prepared for what people were sharing and how somebody who has absolutely no connection to me could be affected."
Along with the ashes, Twomey sends a note and a small photo of C.J. in a Boston Red Sox T-shirt. His ashes have even been scattered at Fenway Park, home