What Can You Do with the Ashes of a Cremated Loved One?

By: Tom Gallagher
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Cremation is becoming an increasingly common choice in the United States. According to the Cremation Association of North America, the national average rate of cremation has grown from 3.56% in 1960 to 40.62% in 2010. The growing popularity may have to do with the lower costs associated with cremation, the reduced environmental impact, and perhaps most importantly, the flexibility it allows.

While a traditional funeral and burial must be performed within a specified timeframe, cremation allows you to hold a memorial or funeral service following the cremation process whenever it is most convenient for the family. This allows family and friends to have more time to make arrangements and allows those from out of town to make time to attend the service.

Options for the Remains of a Loved One

There are an increasing number of options available to you (some creative, some sentimental, some wacky) if you’re deciding on what to do with the ashes of a loved one. Cremation allows you to personalize how you want to keep, memorialize or scatter the remains of your loved one.

  • Urns. The most common and traditional practice is to store the ashes in a decorative urn. This can be kept in the family home. The use of urns to keep ashes goes back centuries with cremation urns found in China from 7000 BC.
     
  • Traditional burial. Some people still prefer to bury the remains traditionally underground following a funeral or memorial service. Families may wish to bury a loved one in a family plot, or bury the remains in the backyard.
     
  • Outdoor memorial niche. There are many columbarium niches where urns are kept above ground.
     
  • Scattering. You may choose to scatter your loved one’s ashes at sea, or at a favorite outdoor natural environment.
     
  • Jewelry. Remains and even locks of hair can be turned into lasting jewelry. Some companies also use ashes to create diamonds.
     
  • Growing a tree. The idea of a memorial tree, which uses the ashes of a loved one to nourish and grow a tree, is thoughtful and fitting for someone who loved nature.
     
  • A portrait. Ashes can be mixed into paint. A professional portrait of your loved one is painted as a tribute.
     
  • Up in the air. Releasing a handful of colorful ash-filled helium balloons may be a touching tribute. Or they could be made into fireworks like the family of late author and journalist, Hunter S. Thompson did. Or, if you have the money, they could be launched into space.

Nutmeg State Cremation Society is honored to serve the entire Fairfield County, CT. We welcome your questions about cremation and memorial services. Please call us at 203-348-0443, or contact us anytime.

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