Cremation Ashes: 11 Of The Best Ideas To Memorialize Your Loved One
“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.” – Winnie the Pooh
While burial was once the most common ritual in the U.S., the times are changing. In 2018, 53.1% of bodies were cremated into ashes, according to the Cremation Association of North America. This number is projected to only rise over the next decade.
Why are people choosing cremation over traditional burials? Well, cremation is a much cheaper alternative to the elaborate funeral, with prices ranging anywhere from $500 to $10,000. There are also more people living away from their hometowns and subsequent family burial plots, making cremation much more practical. Cremation also takes up much less land, a resource that’s only becoming more expensive and precious.
Suggested Read: Cremation vs Burial: What Are The Average Costs?
When someone passes, arrangements can be made directly with a crematorium instead of dealing with a funeral director. The crematory staff takes care of the arrangements and paperwork, such as a death certificate.
So, if you are proactively thinking about what you’d like to happen to your body when you pass or you’re looking for an idea for a loved one’s cremated ashes final resting place, we’ve compiled ideas for you to consider.
What Are Cremation Ashes?
Cremation ashes, cremated remains, or cremains, are simply the basic elements and dried bone fragments that remain when a body is burned at a crematory.
The body is burned in a cremation oven or chamber with temperatures anywhere from 1,400 to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. The process takes about 2-3 hours and the cremated remains typically weigh between 5-8 pounds.
What Can You Do With Cremation Ashes?
While the tradition of cremating bodies has been around for tens of thousands of years, new ideas for what to do with the remains are popping up left and right in recent years. There’s certainly no shortage of creative ways to celebrate the life of your loved one with their cremated remains.
Let’s dig into some of the options to consider for you or your loved ones cremated ashes.
Image via Eterneva
1. Turn the Cremated Ashes Into Jewelry
Did you know that cremated ashes can be turned into a diamond? That’s right. The company Eterneva is focused on turning ashes into diamonds so that loved ones can continue to shine bright long after their death. The company got started after their co-founder lost someone incredibly close to her, and she couldn’t find any options she felt fit the importance of the loss.
The Eterneva 7-stage ashes to diamond process uses heat, pressure, time, and the carbon from cremated remains to form a diamond in a lab in 7-10 months. The unique and certified diamonds start at $2,999 and come in different sizes, cuts, and colors. You can also get a name engraved on the diamond to make it even more special.
Eterneva helps to arrange the perfect setting for your or your loved one’s diamond, or you can choose to have it set locally. They have a curated line of setting options to choose from, or you can work with one of their trusted jewelers in designing your own custom piece.
In addition to diamonds, there are companies like A Peace That Remains or Close By Me that specialize in making jewelry like lockets, bracelets, earrings, pendants, keychains, money clips, cufflinks and more all from cremated ashes. There are also many small keepsake pendants that can be worn with a small amount of the ashes.
2. Scatter the Ashes Somewhere Special
There are certain places that will always be special to us and our loved ones. Whether it’s a common vacation place, a local park, or a dream getaway location, there’s no wrong answer when it comes to picking the right spot.
Remember that you don’t need to scatter all of the ashes at once. As Tré Miller Rodríguez explains on Modern Loss, “Ask yourself if this should be a one-and-done ceremony? If you move to a new city, would it be meaningful to scatter ashes nearby? Would another family member want to keep some for herself? If your answer to any of these questions is ‘I don’t know’ or ‘maybe,’ don’t release all the ashes.”
As Rodríguez suggests, you may want to bring along some flowers for the occasion and release them with ashes to give you a clearer visual of where the ashes are spreading. She also recommends taking photos of the memory so that you can share the experience with those not present and remember every last detail of the event.
Where Can I Scatter Ashes?
While planning your special way to release the ashes, remember that you will likely need permission. According to Perfect Memorials, most national parks allow ashes to be scattered, but a permit is usually required and certain rules apply. If you plan to spread the ashes on private property, you’ll need permission from the land owner if you do not own the land yourself. And lastly, if you plan to scatter the ashes in the ocean, it is permitted, but rules like being at least 3 nautical miles from land must be followed.
If you’re looking for some support and guidance in planning your scattering ceremony, you may consider using Summit Saints. The company specializes in taking care of all of the details in order to create a special memorial journey for you and your loved ones to scatter ashes. Their mission is to ensure that your loved one’s memory and body can find peace anywhere on the planet.
3. Turn the Ashes Into a Tree
If you or your loved one’s dream is to return in another life as a tree, this may be a great idea for you to consider. The Bios Urn lets you grow a tree using the remains of your loved one and can be planted in any natural environment.
Bios Urn is the perfect medium to allow for the proper growth of a tree or plant when planted with the remains of your loved one. Built with a special capsule that meets the needs of any type of tree, it’s made using 100% biodegradable materials, and is respectful to the environment in all ways possible.
Suggested Read: Green Burial: 6 Options To Have an Eco-Friendly End Of Life
4. Bury the Ashes
Did you know that ashes can also be buried? Since it’s common for families to be buried together on the same plot of land, this may be a good option for anyone who already has a plot of land purchased on their behalf or who simply wants their final resting place to be alongside the ones they love. This is also a great option for anyone who wishes to have a special physical place to visit their loved one.
Most cemeteries have options for the burial of cremated ashes, including the burial of multiple people in the same plot since ashes take up much less space than a casket. There will be a price tag that comes along with this option as it involves purchasing land for the final resting spot.
Suggested Read: Establishing A Permanent Memorial
5. Put the Ashes Into an Urn
An urn is a vessel used in burials to hold the cremated ashes. Nowadays there are many different types of urns that you can place cremated ashes in for keepsake. Whether all of the ashes stay in one place, or they’re spread amongst family members, urns can be a great means of transporting and keeping remains.
Urns come in all different shapes, sizes, materials and colors. Some are meant to be keepsakes while others are biodegradable for burying ashes or sinking them into a body of water. If you’re curious to see what options are available, Urns.com is a great website to start your search.
Additional Companies and Ideas
If you’re still looking for something a bit more unique, there are additional companies that are a bit lesser known, yet great options for those interested.
6. Eternal Reefs – permanent living legacies that memorialize the passing of a loved one by helping to preserve and protect the marine environment for the benefit of future generations.
7. HuggBudds – huggable cremation urns with heart shaped keepsake box and cremation container.
8. Celestis – make the dream of spaceflight a reality by launching a symbolic portion of cremated remains into near-space, Earth orbit, to the lunar surface or even beyond. You or your loved one will venture into space as part of a real space mission, riding alongside a commercial or scientific satellite.
More on Celestis: Funeral Alternatives: 4 Out Of This World Ideas
9. Andvinyly – supply music or a voice recording and turn your ashes into a vinyl record to listen to for decades.
10. Holy Smoke – personalized rifle and pistol loaded ammunition made with the cremated remains, boxed and sealed with reverence and care.
11. In The Light Urns Hourglass – reflect on the sands of time and the time you had with your loved one with this hourglass filled with their ashes.
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It’s never easy to think about your mortality or to experience the loss of someone we love. However, when we don’t take the time to think about or share what we want for our bodies when we pass, the more challenging it becomes for our loved ones to make the decisions while they’re grieving.
Now you have some options to consider. Talk to a trusted loved one and let them know what you’d prefer when the inevitable time comes and ask for their preference. While it may be uncomfortable at first, you will rest easy knowing that your loved ones will respect your final wishes.
Suggested Read: Pay Attention To Your Wishes – Both For Life and For Death
Is there a memorial option involving ashes that you don’t see on our list that you would like us to add? Make sure to add your comment below!