Frequently Asked Questions
Below are frequently asked questions and information. Click on the question to reveal the answer.
What is a Columbarium or Columbaria?
The basic meaning of columbarium is; room or building with niches for funeral urns to be stored.
- a niche is a compartment used to hold to hold a funeral urn(s).
Columbaria (plural for Columbarium) have changed over the years to become a bit more personal:
- Columbarium can be installed inside or outside
- They can be designed to suit a specific theme (ie. Grain elevator)
- You can have a family columbarium specifically designed for your immediate family and placed on your own property
- They can be designed to be a piece of functional art in a cemetery, church or other location
- Columbarium niches can have glass font doors to allow viewing of the urn without removing the door
- You don’t have to place an urn in a niche. It can simply become the place for memorialization. You can use it to hold personal objects and pictures.
- Columbaria have come along way since the days of concrete. KMI Columbaria’s aluminum niche system with granite cladding has taken the market by storm and now offers individuals an attractive, dry and secure place for interment of their loved ones.
- Placement of Columbaria on your grounds certainly adds a beautiful feature to your landscape as well as providing the ability to generate revenue from land that was otherwise unusable.
- Efficient ground usage: A 100 unit Columbarium takes up the same amount of space as 2 standard burial plots.
- Custom designs and multiple color choices allow for blending with surrounding landscape.
- Columbaria are available in sizes as small as 2 niches up to several hundred and beyond. We recommend building in stages to accommodate growth. Our design team can help you plan that vision.
Burial vs. Cremation
The cremation rates in North America are climbing. In some areas such as the North West the cremation rates are as high as 80%. (vs. burial)
A great deal of the change in acceptance toward cremation has taken place in the Christian faiths, particularly Catholic, but this is true of many faiths.
- Cremation is more cost effective and more environmentally friendly than a standard burial.
- In ground burial of cremated remains in urns is available at most cemeteries. Burial can take place in specific cremation lots or on top of existing casket lots. These burials are weather dependant and memorialization options to mark the grave may be limited.
- A columbarium niche allows for direct memorialization (engraving) on the cover of the niche.
- Columbaria are much more efficient for land use. On the same space that a 2 grave burial plot you can fit a Columbarium that will contain 48 niches. 96 urns assuming 2 urns per niche.
- Columbaria can be installed in many places that a cemetery cannot. Cremated remains are considered fully disposed. Many churches and universities and professional organizations are installing Columbaria to provide a final resting place for their members.
- An urn can be easily moved with you and even a Columbaria can be relocated if required.
- The areas for placement of a columbarium (whether large or small) are limitless. It allows for use of land that was otherwise though of as unusable.
Where can I place the urn?
Leave it at home on the mantel?
Cremation is the preparation for memorialization. Placing the urn on a mantel is essentially a temporary solution, just waiting to be buried or placed in a columbarium. As long as the urn is in the privacy of someone’s home others are prevented from visiting a memorial site to honor the person whom they cared about.
After a certain period of time people don’t want the urn to be on the mantle anymore. That’s when they put it into storage, the basement or attic. If the next of kin dies and hasn’t put the urn in a final resting place, the urn is at risk of being unidentified. It is a sad fact that many urns of cremated remains end up in a dump site when they are not set to rest in a permanent memorial site.
The 3 most popular burial options for cremated remains are placing in a columbarium niche, burying them in a plot at a cemetery or scattering the ashes.
Where can I install a Columbarium?
- Depending on local building restrictions and state, federal or provincial regulations a columbarium can basically be built anywhere.
- Columbaria can be installed in cemeteries, churches, funeral homes, educational institutions, and professional organizations. There are even Columbaria in public places such as stadiums etc..
- KMI’s design team and dealer network will help you choose the unit that best suits all of your requirements. These include design, budget, demand and many more factors.
- Wall units attached to an exiting wall are usually the most cost effective. They do still require some careful design consideration.
- A Columbarium can be installed inside an existing structure or outside.
- The most attractive Columbaria are installed as the center piece of a Cremation Memorial garden.
Scattering the ashes
The importance of memorialization
- Memorialization is to create something that causes people to remember. To honour or commemorate.
- It’s all very common for someone to say, “just scatter my ashes in my favorite spot and be done with it”. That’s fine for the one who has passed away but it is the living that grieves and it is memorialization that supports the grieving process and closure. It is very important to consider that you really don’t know how you will feel about scattering the remains until it is done and the point is that you can’t undo it.
- Losing someone you love or care deeply about is very painful. You may experience all kinds of difficult emotions and it may feel like the pain and sadness you’re experiencing will never end. These are normal reactions to a significant loss. But while there is no right or wrong way to grieve, one way to help cope with the pain is to visit your loved one’s memorial. An opportunity to feel close, connect.
- People don’t regret the decision to memorialize their loved ones. What makes for an effective memorial is that It’s open, it’s accessible, it’s public and it allows you to leave offerings.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Cremated remains or as most people call them “ashes” can be stark white, so you may wish to consider a shallow burial unless you’re scattering ashes in water. The texture is somewhat like coarse sand with small bone fragments, not at all like ashes from a fireplace. They will stick to the skin when handled so you must be emotionally prepared for this.
- Scattering cremated remains isn’t illegal but there may be bylaws to abide to in your chosen place to scatter. This should be researched ahead of time. It is highly advisable to use areas less traveled for the ash scattering ceremony; cremation and/or scattering ashes can be offensive to some people of different cultures.
- Regardless of which local you choose, check the wind direction first! This can create a very unpleasant experience.
- You may wish to consider scattering a portion of the remains and placing the balance in a Columbarium niche. This should satisfy the requests of the deceased and allow the family a place to memorialize and properly grieve their loved ones.
Some of the reasons why there are regrets about scattering the cremated remains
- The concept of providing a memorial to someone who has died is fundamental to humanity. All cultures past and present have some way of identifying a place to remember loved ones by. This is also an important part of providing closure for the grieving process–to have a place to identify our loved ones with. 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 and memorialization cannot take place. Memories die 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. Overtime, is almost impossible to track down.
- 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.
- Partial scattering is a solution to honor your loved one’s wishes to be scattered but also honor the needs of yourself and others to make an everlasting tribute.
- This is a solution that can take care of everyone’s needs. The cremated remains can be divided so that one half can be scattered and the other half can be stored in an urn and be placed in a columbarium niche where it will remain as the final resting place. The act of placing the urn and memorializing is what completes the burial.
- Columbaria have been around since 25 BC. The rise in cremation rates is creating a demand for columbaria and people are becoming more aware of the advantages of memorializing their loved ones in this way.
- Unlike an in ground burial, columbaria niches are above ground. In today’s transient society, the advantage of having your loved one’s urn in a dry, clean columbarium niche above ground is that you can choose to move the urn to a different location should you move yourself.
- The services and placing of an urn in a Columbarium can also be performed in any season.