When a family chooses cremation, they must consider what to do with the cremated remains (ashes) of their loved one. As the rate of cremation rises, so do the options for memorialization after the cremation service.
Cremated remains are typically placed in an urn (cremation container) and are presented to the family after the cremation service. Urns are made of wood, metal, clay and many other materials and come in an almost unlimited number of styles and personalization options.
If you are interested in alternatives to placing the urn on a mantle at home, following are some common and not so common options for permanent memorialization.
This is similar to a traditional burial with a casket and vault. The only difference is that it’s an urn. Most cemeteries offer this type of burial. Some may require a cremation vault which is a metal or concrete box that the urn would be placed in. This urn vault acts as a protective container for the urn. Some cemeteries have a section set aside specifically for this called an “Urn Garden”.
A newer option of permanent memorialization is the cremation niche. Placing the urn in a niche is a way of burying it, just not underground. A cremation niche is a space in a columbarium which holds urns similar to the way a mausoleum holds caskets. Niches are available at many cemeteries and can be indoor or outdoor. Costs vary by location and cemetery. Read More
Scattering the cremated remains in a place that was meaningful to your loved one is gaining popularity. That might be over water, at a favorite park, etc. Permission and permits may be required for certain spots such as state parks, privately owned property, etc. There are many other options including aerial or at sea scattering that are also popular. Read More
Cremation jewelry keepsakes have become popular ideas for families. Cremation jewelry allows a sharing of your loved one’s remains and provides a sense of connection to the one you lost. The jewelry can be a small vial with a portion of the remains or an actual diamond stone made from the ashes. Pendants, earrings, bracelets and rings
are the most popular items. Often the family engraves dates or a memorable quote from the deceased on the jewelry to accompany and preserve the memory. Read More
Committing a loved one’s remains to the sea provides a powerful sense of closure and new beginnings through the act of returning them to nature and the origin of life. Followers of the green movement also find a certain appeal in the idea of completing the circle of life by returning to the sea. Underwater inurnment in “memorial reefs” is an alternative which is drawing interest from those interested in unique, environmentally sensitive memorials. This practice combines several aspects of cremation (the urn, ash scattering, and burial at sea) into one environmentally meaningful and permanent tribute to a person’s life. Read More
For those who want more creativity, cremated remains can be placed into fireworks, glass orbs or launched into space. For the latter, your loved one’s remains can be placed into Earth’s orbit, sent to the lunar surface or set adrift among the stars for eternity. Combine a fireworks show with the launch into space and your loved one will
be remembered in the grandest way! With the continued rise in cremations, there will no doubt be more creative ideas to come.