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What Can Be Done With Cremation Ashes?

During the cremation process, the body of the deceased gets reduced to bone fragments. These bone fragments are further reduced in size with the help of certain machineries. The final product looks like fine sand and is known as cremated remains. Usually white in color, the cremated remains will weigh between 4lbs to 8lbs depending upon the body structure of the deceased. The cremated remains are handed over to the family members of the deceased in a temporary container by the authorities working at the crematory.

There are many things that can be done with the cremated remains, also known as cremated ashes. However, there are four basic options that you can do with the ashes of a loved one.

The four major options are:

Scattering the cremated remains

Scattering the cremated remains
img credit: nbcnews

One good option is to scatter the cremation ashes on a private property, or at a place that was significant to the deceased. In many cultures and religions the practice of scattering is well established and accepted. For scattering the ashes on a private property like your garden there is no need to take any kind of permission and you can easily do it on your own. But before scattering the ashes on a public property you must be aware of the local council laws and regulations and need to seek permission. In some of the states in the US, ashes can only be scattered in designated areas of cemeteries. Such dedicated areas cannot be used for other purposes at some future date.

Storing the remains in an urn

Cremation urn

Another good option is to save the ashes in a cremation urn. Once the cremated remains are returned to you in a temporary urn, you can choose a permanent cremation urn where the ashes can be stored for years to come. In the market, there are literally hundreds of different types of urns available. Depending upon your budget and preference level, you can choose an urn made of bronze, marble, ceramic, environmental friendly materials, silver, plastic and so on. If you are making this decision once you have the ashes, you can easily transfer the ashes yourself or else you can ask the funeral director or crematorium staff to put the ashes in the urn chosen by you. You can check out some good collection of cremation urns are www.memorials.com, www.cremationurnfactory.com, and www.funeral-urn.com.

Keeping the ashes in a columbarium

Columbarium of San Francisco

You can also choose to place the cremated remains in a columbarium. A columbarium looks like a museum where niches are available. Within each niche, one or more urns can be kept. Each niche has a unique identity and even people can keep hand written letters or some earthly possession of the deceased along with the urn. In most of the columbarium, there is usually a hall for conducting memorial ceremonies. Niches are available at both government-managed columbaria and private columbaria.

To get a list of authorized columbarium based in the US, visit www.usna.edu.

Burying the cremated remains

Memorial rock

You can also choose to bury the cremated remains in a cemetery plot, a natural burial ground, and a dedicated urn garden or on private or public property. According to Christianity, burial of cremated remains in consecrated ground should be the first option. You can choose to bury the whole amount of cremated remains or you can bury just a small portion. Once the burial is done, you can choose to erect a permanent memorial to mark the spot. For this you can choose statues, memorial monuments, memorial rocks and so on. You can find a good collection of such products at memorials.com, www.memorialproducts.net and www.heritagememorialsme.com. Many people even opt for a living memorial, such as a tree. This is a good way to memorialize the life of a departed soul and the family members get a chance to establish a place where they can visit and remember the deceased.

Along with the above mentioned options you can also opt for burial at sea, use the remains to make a stuffed animal, go for hand painted portraits, and shoot the ashes out into outer-space and so on. The type of option you choose is a personal decision. But you must choose an option you are comfortable with and in case you are aware of the wishes of the deceased then you must definitely fulfill that wish.

To conclude, it is true that with cremation, your options are numerous as what you can do with the cremated remains. What to do with cremation ashes is a decision you must not make in hurry. Discuss the options with other family members and friends and then only make a final decision.

Filed under: Cremation