They are both light as air yet hold more weight than any stone – the ashes left after a loved one’s cremation.
What do you do with them? Where do they belong?
These are questions many now face as cremation becomes an increasingly common choice. But don’t let indecision keep those precious remains in limbo.
There are meaningful ways to honor the departed through their ashes, whether scattering them in a special place, incorporating them into jewelry or art, or finally laying them to rest.
Come discover some thoughtful options that can help provide closure as you pay tribute in a way aligned with your values and theirs.
What To Do Next With the Ashes
Cremation provides a cost-effective alternative to traditional burial, offering a range of memorialization options for your loved ones.
The Cremation Association of America reports a significant increase in cremation rates in the U.S. since 1999, with an anticipated continued upward trend. Whether you’ve made the choice for future cremation or are currently considering it for a loved one, deciding what to do with the ashes can be uncertain.
Let us explore the options.
Urns and Columbariums
Upon cremation, ashes are often returned in a basic container by funeral homes or crematoriums. These are commonly called “cremains.” Urns typically range in price from $50 to $150, though custom options constructed from crystals or other ornate materials can cost thousands. Lovingly transforming a personal memento like a sewing machine into an urn is also possible.
Interment of an urn in a cemetery usually costs between $350 and $2,500. Columbariums, which are rooms, buildings, or walls housing ashes, range from $300 to $3,000 for interment.
According to Legacy Urns, some bereaved individuals opt to scatter ashes entirely or in portions over meaningful locations instead of burial. The NFDA found over a third of those choosing cremation prefer scattering to urn or cemetery placement.
Cremation urns come in individual, companion, and keepsake styles constructed from durable materials. Wood, ceramic, bronze, and other sturdy metallic urns are among the most popular options for respectfully housing cremains.
Scattering ashes is a common way to handle cremated remains after a loved one has passed. While laws regarding scattering on private or public land vary by state, some consistent guidelines exist for scattering at sea through official organizations.
Scattering ashes at sea is typically done through either the U.S. Navy or a civilian charter company. These organizations have specific requirements to follow, so it’s important to research them beforehand.
Some basic tips for the scattering itself include being aware of wind direction to disperse the ashes fully yet gently. Ashes can be scattered by hand or using a designated scattering tube for ease.
Major religions in the U.S., like Christianity, generally accept cremation and scattering to varying degrees. Catholics prefer keeping ashes together in burial or columbarium, while Protestants are usually open to either option depending on denomination. Mormonism encourages full traditional burial over cremation. Judaism allows scattering or burial depending on tradition.
Many choose to hold a small ceremony when scattering ashes as a way to grieve and say farewell. Locations like scattering gardens or remote parks provide space for brief remarks or remembrances. Expressing thoughts and emotions can help bring closure, so take time to honor the person’s life during scattering.
When planning such a ceremony, factors like weather, proper containers for ashes, and coordinating with the location are wise to consider in advance. Preparation helps ensure a respectful, smooth process according to relevant guidelines. Scattering ashes allows grieving while remembering the deceased in a memorable yet meaningful setting.
Cremation ash jewelry is a unique way to honor a loved one who has passed away. With this type of memorial jewelry, the cremated remains are actually infused into the piece itself during the crafting process.
Common materials used include glass, porcelain, or other substrates that can be transformed while integrating the ashes. This may result in crystal, bead, or diamond formations containing the ashes as part of the structure.
The process differs from typical cremation keepsake jewelry, which discretely holds ashes inside a compartment. With ash infusion jewelry, the remains are blended into the very makeup of the piece.
Given the specialized techniques involved, cremation ash jewelry requires more time and skill to produce compared to other styles. The end product provides a truly one-of-a-kind remembrance piece for grieving family and friends.
Consider a Memorial Tattoo
Many people choose to honor a loved one through meaningful tattoo art. Common designs incorporate dates, lyrics from a favorite song, inspiring quotes, or depictions like the person’s name or a symbolic image.
Some tattoo artists have also begun offering a unique option – integrating a small amount of cremated remains directly into the ink. While an uncommon approach, it allows a small portion of the deceased to be woven into the tattoo itself. Their essence then becomes a permanent yet discreet part of the wearer’s memorial tribute.
Memorial Fireworks Display
Celebrating the life of a partner, family member, or close friend does not need to end after their passing. For those seeking a unique way to memorialize the deceased, some crematories now offer the option to incorporate a small amount of cremated ashes directly into carefully crafted fireworks.
Typically, a few tablespoons of ashes are safely loaded into the final shell of a short commemorative pyrotechnic display. Only licensed professionals experienced in ordinance handling and shows can integrate the cremains. By collaborating with certified technicians, we can strategically plan the launch of the tribute at a poignant location and time, ensuring a meaningful experience for mourners.
While an uncommonly offered service currently, the specialized expertise and precautions involved result in estimated costs between $1,000-$3,500.
Permission must also be obtained as flames and explosions do require regulation. However, for those wanting a spectacular sendoff honoring the life sparked in their loved ones, cremation fireworks provide a uniquely celebratory way to remember through the skies above.
In conclusion, dealing with a loved one’s ashes is a deeply personal decision affected by tradition, beliefs, and individual grief process. The options outlined here aim to provide meaningful ways to honor the deceased while finding closure.
Whether integrating remains into jewelry as a keepsake, scattering portions in symbolic places as a final farewell, or commissioning unique tributes, the choices reflect personalizing commemoration around cremated remains.
For those now faced with deciding what to do next after losing someone to carry on their memory and legacy, we hope that exploring these respectful possibilities helps. We aim to assist the bereaved in paying tribute in a manner that feels right.