Many people don’t like to think or talk about death. However, this unfortunate event is an inevitable part of every life. When the time does come for you or a family member, many decisions need to be made, including whether to have the body cremated or buried. Today, more people than ever are choosing to be cremated. This is being driven by many factors, including the much lower cost of cremation (vs. burial) and that people are generally less traditional than they once were. In addition to this decision, you will also need to decide what urn or memorial is right for you or your loved one. This can include having the ashes planted with a biodegradable urn and become a living tree memorial, scattered at a favorite place, buried, or kept in the home in an indoor urn. Below we’ve highlighted some of the most popular urn and memorial options:
1. Grow a Memory Tree
Growing a memory tree to honor a loved one with The Living Urn is something that has been used by tens of thousands of families worldwide and continues to grow in popularity. With this patented biodegradable urn and planting system, you simply put your loved one’s cremated ashes in the special BioUrn® and follow the step-by-step instructions that come with the system to plant the tree and grow a living memory. The Living Urn provides 2-4’ trees, narrowed down to a great selection that grow best in each area of the U.S. Alternatively, you can purchase The Living Urn system only and visit your local nursery to pick up a tree to plant with the bio urn. Or, if you prefer to get a tree from The Living Urn, however the ground is currently frozen where you live, you can still order the system now and select when you would like the tree shipped.
2. Keep Them in the Home
Many families have historically preferred to keep their loved one’s ashes with them in the home. There are thousands of options available for this purpose, including urns made from wood, metal, ceramic, or bamboo. This includes the EcoHome urn, an attractive all-natural cremation urn made from bamboo, a sustainable resource.
3. Grow a Houseplant, Succulent or Bonsai Indoors
There are multiple options available if you prefer to have a living memorial of a loved one inside the home or on your patio. This includes The Living Urn Indoors/Patio, an urn made from high quality porcelain which can be planted with a selection of bonsai trees or houseplants and serve as a beautiful memorial in the home. It comes in three colors – white, blue or beige and has many great reviews. Alternatively, you can purchase The PlantUrn™, an attractive urn designed by Boyce Studio and made from recycled wood. This unique urn can serve as a great decorative addition to any home and can be planted with a succulent or small plant of your choice.
Scattering ashes of a loved one is one of the most common things people do after cremation. This can be performed at a favorite place, garden, park, or other special place of your choosing. If you plan on scattering on public property or private property you don’t own, you should ask permission beforehand.
If you are planning on scattering your loved one’s cremated ashes, there are some great scattering urn options that help you scatter with ease and control. This includes Eco Scattering, an urn made entirely from bamboo, a sustainable resource. This patented urn has many distinct advantages, including that it’s designed to give people the ability to scatter with control and allows you to scatter away from your body. Furthermore, the special open and close mechanism on top of this urn gives you the ability to scatter at a place of your choosing, then secure the remaining ashes in the urn to transport to a second or third place to scatter. Other scattering urns on the market are made from paper or cardboard and are offered at a similar price point to Eco Scattering, however, lack some of the features and are not as durable.
5. Scatter at Sea (a water burial)
Scattering a loved one’s cremated ashes at sea has been something that many cultures have done throughout time to honor their lost loved ones. Today, many families will rent a boat or use a boating service to head into the open ocean and perform a scattering. In addition, ceremonies on the boat or on shore are also quite common where family and friends can participate in the scattering.
To do a scattering at sea, you can use a simple container found around the home, or a scattering urn such as Eco Scattering. Alternatively, there are many new cremation urns available that are designed to scatter ashes in the water, including the Eco Water Urn. This special urn is 100% biodegradable (made from recycled plant materials) and floats upright like a buoy then gracefully scatters the ashes out of the bottom of the urn. It comes packaged in an attractive bamboo case, a perfect way to protect the urn holding a loved one’s ashes while transporting it to that special location in the ocean or lake. A third new option is the Flow ice urn. This patented urn is made entirely from ice and provides for a beautiful way to memorialize a loved one in water.
Burying some or all of the cremated ashes of a loved one is also an option many families choose. This can be done in a yard or other location special to you or your loved one. A quick online search will find many different burial urn options. This includes Eco Burial, a biodegradable burial urn that is made entirely from bamboo, a sustainable resource. This attractive urn is rigid above ground and will only start to biodegrade after it’s buried.
7. Infuse into Glass
Many people are choosing to have all or part of a loved one’s ashes infused into one or more decorative glass pieces. There are multiple companies that provide this service and create beautiful glass decorative pieces that can provide an array of color to your home and be with you forever. Most companies allow you to pick the color, shape, and overall design, then you simply send them the ashes to have them infused into the glass.
8. Create Jewelry
There are many companies that provide cremation jewelry and these can be found by asking your funeral director or doing a quick online search. Families can choose to have the cremated ashes of a loved one included in a necklace, bracelet, and even have some used to make a special diamond or other stone. This option lets you and other family members wear something beautiful to honor a loved one who passed.
9. Include in a Firework Show
If the person who passed was full of life and wanted a celebration at their service, an option to consider is to have some or all of their ashes included in fireworks. The fireworks holding your loved one’s ashes can create a beautiful show that can be viewed by all as it displays an array of color. With a quick online search you can find multiple companies that provide this service.
10. Launch into Orbit
Today there are multiple companies that give the option to have your loved one’s cremated ashes launched into space. One company in particular, Celestis, offers packages at different price points to perform this service. One of the more expensive memorial options, launching a loved one's ashes into space is something that connects with people who want to look into the stars and remember a lost loved one.
Which Urn Should You Choose?
In addition to the urns highlighted above, there are many more options available for the ashes of a loved one with new memorials coming out every year. If you cannot decide on a memorial option now, keep your loved one’s ashes in secure place in the home and wait until you find one that connects with you and your family. In addition, if you prefer multiple memorial options or have multiple family members and each wants their own memorial, you can always divide up your loved one’s ashes and have a portion placed in a few different memorials of your choosing.