A changing public attitude toward end-of-life ceremonies is at work transforming Ontario’s funeral industry. Funeral homes in Ontario have observed a noticeable decline in requests for “traditional” funerals over the last generation.
A traditional funeral usually involves two days of visitation followed by interment in a cemetery. However, alternatives to these traditional funerals are on the rise. Some consumers are looking for low-cost options, including cremation. In Ontario, cremation has replaced burial as the most common choice. Others are opting for ceremonies that are less religious-centered, and focus more on a remembrance and celebration of the life of the deceased.
A Pennsylvania funeral director has created a website which he believes will become a key resource in matching unclaimed cremated remains, or ashes, with the surviving relatives of the deceased.
Although no official figures are available to show exactly how many unclaimed ashes are in storage around the country, estimates suggest the figure may be in the tens of thousands.
Michael Neal, the director of the William G. Neal Funeral Home, recently opened a nationwide online registry for unclaimed cremated remains that are currently in the possession of funeral homes, coroners, and other agencies. His site, www.ForgottenAshes.com, contains a database where funeral homes and other agencies may post information on their unclaimed ashes. The site is available to the public for viewing and research.
Losing a beloved pet can be as emotionally devastating as losing any other family member and it’s OK to grieve. For many pet parents, their sense of grief is also accompanied by the need to mourn the loss and honor the loving bond that existed in a personal and meaningful way.
Unfortunately, until recent times, the absence of support and lack of resources available to pet owners resulted in very limited options to publicly express bereavement. The thought of holding a memorial service or posting a public obituary would have raised eyebrows just a few years ago. For the most part, grieving pet parents dealt with their bereavement as a private and personal matter.
In North America, as cremation continues to grow in popularity, funeral homes are now facing a new problem; families that are not returning to pick up the cremated remains of their loved one.
Geoff Carnell, owner of Carnell’s Funeral Home said “It’s inconceivable.” “People could never imagine that others could just walk away from a loved one.”
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