As we have discussed before in this blog, the final appropriate disposition of cremains is a highly personal matter. There is only one golden rule about what to do with cremains: there is no golden rule.
I was talking to the wife of a friend of mine who passed away and was cremated just a little over five years ago. She wants to scatter his ashes, but at this point she just does not feel ready to let him go. Consoling her as best I could, I made the point that when the time is right she would know it.
So, what are the options for cremains?
Surprisingly, there are a large number of options.
Statistics show that approximately 50% of cremated remains in the United States are scattered. We scatter here at Martin Oaks Cemetery – but there are many special places for loved ones to be scattered. The important issue here is to make sure that the scattering is allowed: receiving appropriate permission from the appropriate authorities before scattering is essential and ethical.
The major negative about scattering is that the family cannot erect a monument or place a marker in public land, so the exact location of the scattering will always be a mystery to future generations.
A second popular option is burial service. Here at Martin Oaks, we do bury cremated remains at a reduced cost. Of course, one of the reasons for cremation is to avoid a burial in the ground: so that may not be an acceptable option.
A third option is to place the ashes in a columbarium (essentially a mausoleum); this can be an expensive process.
Another very popular option is to simply keep the cremains in an urn at home. As we have previously pointed out, the main problem here is that as years go by the emotional attachment to those cremains can sometimes diminish – and then the appropriate disposition becomes an issue once more.
Today, there are all sorts of other possibilities including:
- Launching into space
- Becoming part of a coral reef
- Turned into a diamond
- Put into a vinyl record
- Made into hand blown glass
- Part of memorial jewelry or a paperweight.
Given the growth in cremation, the country is now literally dealing with tons of cremains. It is our advice that the process should be discussed with the loved one well before the passing so that the entire family has an opportunity to participate.
Martin Oaks has a wide variety of urns available for sale.