According to the Cremation Association of North America, more than 56% of people chose cremation in 2020. The number has been trending up for some time and will likely continue to rise. No doubt, COVID has accelerated that growth, but many factors such as cost and the mobility of today’s society have been driving the popularity of cremation up for some time.
When choosing burial, the critical decision with regard to the disposition of the remains is which cemetery to select. With cremation, it’s a little more complicated since there are numerous options for what you should do with the ashes. What is right for you will depend on your traditions, culture, and personal preferences. We’ve compiled some of the most common options for you. Keep in mind, there is no right or wrong choice. Only what you and your family are comfortable with. The point is, you want to honor the deceased and create a memorial that celebrates their life and memory.
Common Ways to Handle Cremation Ashes
Scattering ashes is among the most popular ways to memorialize a loved with using their cremation ashes. Possible locations for the scattering vary widely and ultimately, it’s entirely up to you. Of course, you should be mindful that some spots, such as national parks, have regulations that cover scattering and private property may be off-limits.
Among the traditional choices for scattering ashes are:
- An outdoor setting that holds significance, such as a beach, mountain, park, or lake.
- A favorite vacation destination.
- In a scattering garden at a cemetery.
- At a recreational location such as a golf course, ballpark, or running trail.
Plant as a tree
Incorporating ashes in the soil used when planting a tree is a long-lasting and sustainable option. Cremation tree planting kits are widely available, or you can purchase a sapling and include the ash during planting.
Cemetery Burial or Entombment
Traditional burial in a cemetery plot specifically for cremation urns is still a common option. This will require that you work with a funeral home or cemetery to purchase a plot. Urns can also be placed in cemetery niches, mausoleums, and columbariums. Another possibility is to have the urn buried in an existing plot that a spouse or family member already occupies.
Display in a Home Office or other Interior Location
If you would like to keep the remains of your loved one close at hand, you can keep the urn in a special place in any room. Fortunately, the days when your only choice for storing cremation ashes in a traditional urn are gone. There are now hundreds of shapes, styles, and colors available to compliment any décor. You can also choose to purchase several keepsake-size urns so that each family member can have a small portion of remains.
Unique Non-Traditional Options
When it comes to memorializing a loved one by using cremation ash in a non-traditional way, your options are limited only by your imagination. These days you can have a loved one’s ashes launched into space, turned into fireworks, or pressed into a vinyl record.
Having ash infused or stored in a unique jewelry item is becoming increasingly popular. Rings, bracelets, and precious gems can all incorporate ash.