What do you do with the remains after cremation?
Following cremation the remains are typically buried in a cemetery plot or interred in a columbarium niche. They could be kept in an urn or other container at home of a family member, or scattered – although some jurisdictions have statutes restricting this practice.
There are also an increasing number of unconventional ways to dispose of cremated remains; such as turn them into jewelry, incorporate them into an artificial underwater reef, or add them into fireworks and shoot them into space..
Advantages of Cremation
The rates of cremation are increasing across North America. In some regions it is as high as 90%.
Cost – Overall a cremation is much more cost efficient than a standard ground burial. To start there is not a permanent casket required and the overall body preparation costs should be lower.
Land – Cremation urns whether in a niche or buried use much less land. In the same space where you can fit 2 standard burial plots you can erect a Columbarium that holds 96 urns.
Green – Because of the more efficient use land and less embalming chemicals a cremation can be less harsh on the environment.
Simpler – For a cremation there are fewer decisions, less logistics and no concerns about weather. Cremation and placing an urn into a Columbarium can be performed at any time of the year, in almost any weather.
Family Niches – It is much easier and more cost effective to find a Columbarium with space for future generations. If a Columbarium is chosen then multiple generations can rest in the same area making it easier to visit.
Some of the reasons people later regret scattering cremated remains:
- The concept of providing a memorial to someone who has died is fundamental. Cultures past and present have some way of identifying a place to remember loved ones. This is also an important part of providing closure for the grieving process – to have a place with which to identify our loved ones. One of the problems with scattering ashes in a public place or over a body of water is that there is often no ability to identify that place again and memorialization cannot take place. Memories fade and there is nothing left for future generations to connect with their ancestors.
- Scattering ashes doesn’t provide the opportunity to see a loved one’s name in a set spot to visit repeatedly. The memories are with those who scattered the ashes and they stop there. Scattering doesn’t give other people who were in the deceased life an opportunity to connect with them through their memorial.
- Once the cremated remains are scattered they are gone forever. All forgotten over time. Nothing remains of the person that can be accessed without knowing who holds the personal effects or pictures left behind.
- Nobody really knows what the future will hold. Things change. You might scatter the cremated remains in a beautiful tranquil area only to find that it is subsequently developed into a commercial building. The lake, river, stream or ocean could have been beautiful when the remains were scattered, only to become polluted. It may have been public land with full access that becomes private with no access. When you are scattering ashes you can’t ensure that chosen place will remain the same and hold the same comfort for you in years to come.