Losing a loved one is a process that inherently requires a lot of time, grieving, and reflection.
While processes may be similar, it doesn’t look exactly the same for anyone.
The same thing goes when considering what to do with cremation ashes. The decision stems from the desires of who has passed as well as those of the mourning family.
Keep reading to find out 10 ideas that may be the best way to honor your beloved.
Before You Decide What to Do With Cremation Ashes
There are many benefits of cremation that are personal, environmental, and cost-effective.
Still, you should consider what you’ll do with the cremation ashes (cremains) after you get them.
To help you decide, consider these few things: what would make them feel honored? Think about the person’s character, their interests, and their morals.
What can you do to help you and your loved ones continue to feel connected to them? Is it a physical token or a place to visit?
If your beloved is a part of a faith tradition, are there religious traditions you should honor? If not, you can create your own special way of celebrating the person.
How will you create your own version of a ceremony? Ceremony simply means to create an event where there is an intention and ritualistic actions like praying, expressing love, and so on.
When and where will you hold your own version of a ceremony? Think about who will be there, the time of year, and the place where you want to honor your beloved.
With these questions answered, you may find that one of these 10 ideas supports the needs of you and all who are mourning.
1. Divvy Up Them Up Amongst Loved Ones
If it doesn’t feel right to make an event out of it or if loved ones are across the map, you may consider offering everyone a little piece of who has passed.
This may allow each person to honor in their own way and in their own time.
Everyone has different grieving processes, so this may allow each person to process the death naturally and to do what they wish with the cremains.
2. Bury Them
If you’re looking for a more traditional idea, you can bury the cremains. You may choose to put them in the ground with a headstone, near a tree, or near an easily identifiable landmark. This gives you and your loved ones a place to go to be with their beloved.
3. Keep Them at Home
If you want to keep your loved one nearby in a traditional way, you can buy a beautiful urn and place it in a secure location. This allows you to remember their presence in your home on a daily basis.
4. Use Them to Create More Life
You can honor death by using cremains to help plants grow.
You can create a garden or add it to your preexisting one. There, you may scatter the ashes or plant them in a biodegradable urn.
This will help you and your loved ones remember that death is a part of the cycle of life.
5. Put the Urn Outside
If mixing the cremains with the soil doesn’t sound right for your situation, you may still want to look into getting a weather-proof urn.
Then, you can place the urn in your garden or in a special place on your property outside.
The benefits of creating an outdoor area for you to honor your loved one is that nature, on its own, has profound healing effects. So, it may help you to be outside when you want to visit and connect with your beloved.
6. Scatter Them
Aside from using an urn at home, scattering ashes is one of the favored ways to celebrate those who have passed.
It’s a tradition that we see across the world. In Hindu culture, for instance, ashes are spread into the Ganges River. This river is considered holy and the movement of the water helps to transport the spirit into a better place.
If you decide to go this route, think about a place that was “holy” to your beloved or a place you define as “holy”. It’s up to you what’s considered “holy” — that’s why we’re putting it in quotation marks.
You may choose an off-the-map location, a national park, or a place where your beloved always wanted to go.
Be sure to check out laws and regulations if you plan to do this in a public place.
7. Release Them to the Sea
Following the belief that moving water helps transport the spirit, you may want to spread the cremains in the ocean.
Even if you don’t believe in that idea, many people find water to be relaxing and awe-inspiring.
Plus, we’re all made up of mostly water. Returning your loved one to water in their final form is a great way to honor their life.
The EPA has some rules about this but they’re pretty straight-forward and easy to follow.
If the ocean is inaccessible, consider a creek or a river.
8. Honor Their Life With Something Beautiful
If you’re looking for something more personal and non-traditional, consider transforming the cremains into a piece of art.
You don’t have to do it yourself. There are companies that can use them and give you final products.
You can remember them with almost anything, including ceramics, a portrait, or stuffed animals.
If you want to keep them close to you and are into body modification, you can find a tattoo artist who will mix the cremains with ink to give you a permanent symbol of your beloved.
9. Adorn Them On Your Body
If tattooing isn’t your thing, you can still keep them close by having the cremains made into jewelry.
You can wear a locket with them inside but are at risk of losing some of them.
Or, a jewelry maker can mix the cremains with different materials to produce a ring, a necklace, or a bracelet.
The practice of making “burial beads”, or beads from loved one’s remains, is growing in popularity in South Korea. They don’t wear the beads but keep them in their homes.
10. Travel With Them
If you get an easily-transportable, durable container, you may want to hold on to the cremains and take them with you to new places.
This may enrich your travels, allowing you to share experiences with your beloved even though they have passed.
You can go to places they wanted to go to or places you wanted to go to together. Along the way, you may even find a resting place for them.
Do What’s Right For You
Now that you know there are endless possibilities for what to do with cremation ashes, you can think about and choose what’s right for your beloved.
Honor yourself and your beloved throughout the process. Give yourself time to decide — it doesn’t have to be right away.
If you haven’t yet gone through the process of getting them cremated or are thinking about it for yourself, contact us. We can answer any questions and concerns to help you with these hard decisions.