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WHAT TO DO WITH CREMATED ASHES
When we say our goodbye to a departed loved one, we can choose to have the body buried or cremated. Due to various reasons, cremation is becoming a more common choice for families.
Funeral services are either a burial service or a cremation service. Even though burial is a more traditional option and has been used since the ancient times, cremation rates have been steadily rising. In fact, the National Funeral Directors Association reports that cremation rates have surpassed burial rates in the United States as of 2015. 47.9% of Americans had their departed loved ones cremated as opposed to the 45.2% who had them buried. Read more below for a comprehensive cremated ashes guide.
The Cremation Process
Cremation is the act of burning the body at high temperature (approximately 1,400 to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit in a cremator). The cremation process takes about one to three hours.
Lower cremation costs make them more favorable than burial services.
Cremation costs are generally cheaper since there are fewer products required for the service. Some families even choose to go through a direct cremation (no public viewing), so a casket is unnecessary. The burial plot, grave liners, grave liner installation, headstones (or grave markers), and the digging for the grave will cost a minimum of $3,500. These expenses can be avoided if the body will go through cremation.
A more mobile society makes cremation more convenient.
The current generation is much more mobile than the society in the past since there are more traveling opportunities now. There is an increasing amount of people who work away from home, or even work from one place to another. Students would like to explore new places and cultures by going through exchange student programs. Besides, it is more convenient to have a cremation urn transported back to a deceased’s hometown instead of a casket.
Religious customs allow the practice of cremation.
The Catholic Church has embraced the practice of cremation, alongside other Christian religions such as Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, and Methodist faiths.
Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs accept cremation as well.
What are ashes made of?
Ashes from cremation are largely made of dry calcium phosphates,along with minor minerals like salts of sodium and potassium. The elements of sulfur and carbon are driven off during the cremation process, although there are still traces of carbon that remain in the ashes. The color of ashes range from a light to dark gray.
How many ashes do they get after cremation?
The cremated ashes for an adult male often weigh six pounds while the cremated ashes for an adult female weigh an estimated four pounds. These ashes represent approximately 3.5% of the original body mass (2.5% for children). The amount of ashes left after the cremation largely depends on the height rather than the weight of the deceased. The gender can also affect the amount of ashes since the skeletal frame of males is usually larger than females. These cremains are not only made of ashes, but are also composed of bone fragments, and other melted metal objects which may not have been removed before the cremation.
What to do with ashes after cremation?
However, another question emerges into the minds of people once the deceased is cremated. What can we do with our loved ones’ cremains? Would we like to do something we are accustomed to, or prefer to have a more unique way of paying our respects to them? There are a number of ideas used nowadays.
Storage of cremated ashes
The most basic way would be the storage of cremated ashes in containers.
- Bury the cremains.These cremated ashes can be placed in a cremation urn or any container and buried in a cemetery or in any other preferred location by family members. For example, the renowned English poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling has his cremated ashes buriedin the Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey
- Keep the cremains at home or in a columbarium. The cremated ashes can be placed inside an urn and brought to a columbarium. This can depend on the religious beliefs and customs of the family. Nevertheless, other families keep the urn containing the cremated ashes in their own homes. They are more comfortable with having the cremated remains of their departed family members close to them.
How to choose a cremation urn
Here are some things you need to look into when looking for the best cremation urn for your loved one.
- Size of the cremation urn – You would not want to pick an urn that is either too small or too large to house the cremated ashes. You can consult a funeral home or a crematorium regarding the right size for the urn. A cremation urn with a size capacity of 180 cubic inches to 220 cubic inches is an acceptable size.
- Quality of the cremation urn – It must be a durable cremation urn. After all, this will house your loved one’s cremains so it must not be prone to damage.
- Material of the cremation urn – You can have a cremation urn made of brass, bronze, ceramic, copper, glass, granite, marble, porcelain, or wood. However, you also have to consider where the cremation urn will be kept. If the urn will be used for burial, a brass urn is not the best choice for you. You must also avoid a wooden urn if you are going to display it outside.
- Theme/Type of cremation urn – If you plan to keep the ashes at home, choose a cremation urn with classic designs, or an urn that will reflect the deceased’s personality. If you prefer to have them that focuses on the environment, pick a cremation urn with natural designs or a biodegradable urn. A cremation urn can also be engraved with your favorite Bible verses. You can get a companion urn if you are going to keep the ashes of a couple, or a keepsake urn if you plan to give the cremated ashes to other family members.
- Price of the cremation urn – You can buy a simple cremation urn if you are looking for affordable alternatives.
Scattering of cremated ashes
Disposal of the ashes is another practice done by family members.
You can scatter ashes in places such as:
- A garden– This is a simple but touching place to dispose of cremains.
- A picnic hang-out – In this way, the cremated ashes can still be with family members and friends.
- A place near their home – Famous personalities have done this custom. In fact, the ‘Gone with the Wind’ actress Vivien Leigh’s ashes were scattered on a pond at Tickerage Mill, her country home in Sussex, United Kingdom.
- A favorite place – Other family members go mountain climbing and scatter the ashes away once they reach the peak. Some would even travel to sacred places or popular landmarks. The Beatles’ lead guitarist George Harrison had his ashes scattered in the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in India in 2001.
- From an airplane – This can depend on the deceased’s favored location.
- To outer space – Another manner of disposing the cremated ashes is through sending them off to space. There are companies that will charge around $4,000+ up to $12,000+ for an out-of-this-world tribute.
Do you need a permit to scatter cremated ashes?
The permission of the land owner/s will be necessary if the ashes will be scattered in a private property. If you plan to do it in a public property, there needs to be consent from the local government in the area.
When scattering cremated ashes from an airplane, it must be noted that federal law does not allow the dropping of objects which can injure people and harm property. To avoid violating the law, you can coordinate with the designated agency handling these types of situations.
It is important to ask the permission of the local authorities since some public places (such as beaches and parks) do not allow the scattering of ashes. Others allow it only upon securing permits that will enable the casting of ashes. You may even need to seek approval from the following agencies:
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), and
- Your state or County Health Department
You can check both state laws and federal laws regarding the matter to avoid conflicts and penalties.
Unconventional ideas for cremated ashes
There are a number of creative ways that people can do with the ashes of their loved ones.
- Include the cremains in a painting. The cremated ashes can be turned into a beautiful work of art by mixing the ashes with paint. The painting can be a portrait of the deceased, an idyllic landscape, or abstract art. The choice is left to the family members.
- Mix the cremains with tattoo ink. You can have the cremated ashes of your loved one mixed with ink to be used for a tattoo as well. When doing this procedure, make sure that the tattoo artist is qualified to do this to avoid unsanitary practices and health complications.
- Press the cremains in a vinyl record. Pressing the cremated ashes into a vinyl record is another alternative for music enthusiasts. You can either choose the songs that will be included in the record, write your own songs (or ask someone to write for you), or make voice messages dedicated to the deceased. You can also customize the artwork included in the vinyl record.
- Place the cremains in an hourglass. Some have been taken to keeping their loved ones’ cremated ashes in an hourglass. It may not be an accurate way of telling time, but it can mean that you treasure every single moment with that person and that you will always remember the times you spent together.
- Infuse the cremains into glass. The cremated ashes can be turned into a glass paperweight, a glass vase, or even a beautiful piece of stained glass. The glass paperweight can be placed in your bedroom or working area. As a glass vase, it can be used to hold flowers or serve as a focal point in your coffee table. The stained glass can be hung in your living room or by your bedroom window.
- Place the cremains inside a teddy bear. The cremated ashes will be placed inside a small container and stored inside a teddy bear of your choice. In this option, you can get some comfort by hugging your loved one.
- Place the cremains in helium balloons. The cremated ashes will be placed inside helium balloons that will float up into the sky. It will reach a height of five miles where it will crystalize and burst. This a special way of saying goodbye to a departed loved one.
- Turn the cremains into fireworks. The cremated ashes can become a stunning fireworks display. This will be a memorable experience for families and friends.
- Transform the cremains into a tree. The cremated ashes can be transformed into a tree by putting them in biodegradable cremation urns. The soil will be placed above the ashes, and the seed of choice will be planted in there.
- Transform the cremains into a reef. Turning the cremated ashes into a reef can be extremely helpful to sea animals since it provides them a habitat. The cremated ashes will be mixed with concrete and can be personalized by family members and friends left behind.
- Place the cremains inside jewelry. Your loved one’s cremated ashes can be kept inside gemstones. Pendants and rings are most commonly used to store the cremains.
- Turn cremated ashes into diamonds. Another touching way of celebrating the life of our loved ones is through turning their ashes into diamonds. These are also called cremation diamonds or memorial diamonds. Transforming their ashes to diamonds is an exceptional way of paying tribute to them and is something that can be passed on to children and other relatives. It can effectively combine style and sentimental value.
Wearing jewelry dates back to prehistoric times. They are worn for various reasons – as a form of expression, a symbol of belongingness to a person, or an affiliation to a particular organization. Additionally, adorning jewelry is a way of attracting someone’s attention. Jewelry can signify wealth, power, and social status too.
As luck would have it, EverDear & Co. can also turn cremated ashes into jewelry. Whether you want a cremation ring, pendant, a pair of earrings, or a bracelet, EverDear has all your needs covered. We take pride in offering a thousand jewelry designs to choose from. Your memorial jewelry can be customized so that it will be as distinctive as your beloved’s personality.
Wearing cremation jewelry can be a beautiful reminder of all the wonderful experiences you shared with your loved one. We are dedicated to reliving the memories you shared with them and encapsulating them into a brilliant piece of cremation jewelry.
Eternalize their cremated ashes through memorial diamonds.
Mourning does not take place in just a matter of days. Sometimes, weeks, months, or even years are not enough to get over the sorrowful event of losing a beloved.
Turning their cremated ashes into diamonds is a moving gesture because it allows them to be transformed into precious, resilient stones. Wearing EverDear & Co.’s memorial jewelry is a spectacular way of filling in the void left by your loved one. You can wear your cremation pendant on a simple day when you just want to quietly reminisce by your bedroom window, or wear your cremation earrings as you celebrate your birthday.
You can order from EverDear & Co., so that you can be in the presence of your loved one anytime, wherever you go.