“We, therefore, commit his body to the ground;
Earth to earth,
Ashes to ashes,
Dust to dust;
In sure and certain hope of the Resurrection.”
~the Book of Common Prayer
What emotions does the word cremation evoke in you?
Cremation as a means of disposal of the dead remains a controversial issue. Some religions prefer it, while some actually forbid it. Some families would immediately consider the option, while others wouldn’t hear of having their loved one cremated.
The fact is that cremation as an option at death is growing in popularity, and becoming a much more acceptable process. These are some of the advantages of cremation as opposed to other traditional burial practices:
- Expense – usually much more reasonable than a traditional funeral and burial expenses.
- Earth-friendly – cremation allows the option of not “reserving” any part of the earth as a final resting place. Cremains can be kept in the home or scattered to the earth.
- Appropriate gesture – cremation is more appropriate if your loved one was a “free-spirit” or “ecologically-oriented” soul.
Many families store the cremated remains (“cremains”) of their loved ones close by, at home. Any suitable container can be used for this purpose, but there is a large variety of really beautiful urns available now to hold the remains of your lost one.
There’s a wide range of sizes, styles, and prices for cremation urns. And yes, you can actually keep some of your loved one’s ashes in a locket, close to your heart! This teardrop keepsake necklace is beautiful!
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Keep in mind that even if you have decided to scatter the ashes of your loved one, you can keep a small portion of them as a personal remembrance. Or, you can even divide the cremains among several family members. You might want to consider keeping them in a small urn known as a “Keepsake Urn”.
You can arrange for the cremation of your loved one through most traditional funeral homes, but this route will surely involve significant added expense over just simple cremation.
A funeral home, however, can also provide and coordinate the funeral services, viewing, many of the customary rituals that you may want to let them take care of. Just be prepared to pay for their services.
A reasonable alternative that many families are choosing is to use the services of a cremation society to handle the legalities and actual cremation. They pick up the body, process the required paperwork, cremate, and deliver the cremains to you, usually in a plastic bag inside a cardboard box.
You can then plan your own ceremony, be it a church funeral, burial of ashes, or scattering of the ashes in an informal service, all independent of funeral home expense. The downside: you have to do the planning and coordination or the services or ceremony yourself.
You might give thought to what your lost loved one would have wanted. Would she want a big formal send-off with an official ceremony and graveside services? Or would he want you to save the expense and go with an informal cremation and scattering of ashes?
Look in the yellow pages under “cremation” to get started, or check out these websites for more information about the cremation process and services they provide:
- cremation.com (directory of cremation services, including those provided by funeral homes)
*Explore this page for some unique and interesting ideas for the scattering of ashes.