Cremation recently surpassed burial as the leading choice of Americans. This is primarily due to the lower cost of cremation (vs burial) and because families are less traditional today than in the past. This trend is expected to continue and the National Funeral Directors Association projects that nearly 80% of people who pass by the year 2040 will choose to be cremated (up from over half today and just 25% in 1999). Along with the growing trend toward cremation, more and more unique memorials are being introduced that incorporate the cremated ashes of a person or pet. With this, many families are finding that perfect memorial today for a loved one who passed and was cremated years ago. A common question many families ask - does the age of ashes matter in a memorial?
Can I Use 'Old Ashes' in a Memorial?
Many families who lost a loved one (or pet) years ago simply kept them in the ‘temporary’ container provided by the funeral home or purchased a metal or wooden urn and placed it on the mantle or other place inside their home. There weren’t many memorial options available for people who chose cremation as most of the market was focused on burials. Now, with the surge in people choosing cremation, that has changed. There are many unique memorials available incorporating ashes and many new ones coming out each and every year. This includes having a loved one’s ashes placed in a tree burial urn to grow an enduring living tree memorial, infused into a beautiful glass decorative piece displaying an array of color, gracefully scattered at sea or on land with a beautiful biodegradable scattering urn, made into a diamond, and placed in an artificial reef, among other options.
A common question people ask is if they can use ashes from years ago in a memorial today? This is a good question that can be a challenge to find an answer to by searching the internet or asking friends or family. The short answer is YES! The age of ashes does not matter in a memorial – they can be one day old or hundreds of years old!
What Are Some Popular Cremation Memorial Options Available?
There are many memorial options available for people (and pets) who are cremated. Some of the most popular memorials available today make for a truly memorable and personal experience. This includes the following:
The Living Urn®
The Living Urn is a patented bio urn and planting system with tens of thousands of plantings worldwide. It is designed to hold a loved one’s cremated ashes at the bottom of the urn and grow a beautiful and enduring living tree memorial. This proprietary system comes with everything needed to grow a memory tree, including a biodegradable urn, soil additives, aged wood chips, planting instructions, and comes housed in an eco-friendly bamboo casing. In addition, over fifty tree options are offered by The Living Urn’s award winning nursery, narrowed down by zip code to the ones that grow best in each area of the U.S.
The Living Urn Indoors / Patio
If you loved the idea of a tree memorial, but don’t have a special place to plant outside, many families are opting for the indoor or patio version. This beautiful indoor or patio plant cremation urn is made from high quality porcelain and comes in three colors – white, blue and beige. You can grow a beautiful bonsai tree or houseplant from the urn. You can also place cut flowers in the center of the urn providing an array of color to your home!
Another indoor option that creates a stunning living memorial is The PlantUrn. This indoor urn holds a loved one’s cremated ashes along with a living succulent or other plant that will keep their memory present. Each PlantUrn™ has been handcrafted by an artisan committed to making beautiful memorial pieces. This unique line of urns is made from premium rescued California Sycamore and FSC Certified Black Walnut wood and display the woods vibrant grains and nature’s beauty.
Eco Water Urn
The Eco Water Urn is a patent pending biodegradable urn that floats like a buoy then the bottom breaks open, gracefully scattering ashes in the water. This unique urn is packaged in a rigid bamboo casing, perfect to transport the urn to that special place to scatter, or for use in ceremonies.
Eco Scattering Urn
The patented Eco Scattering Urn is made from bamboo, a sustainable resource, and gives families the ability to do a scattering of ashes with ease. In addition, its unique open and close mechanism on top of the urn gives you the ability to scatter with control and secures the remains in the urn during transport (making it easy to scatter ashes at multiple locations!). Starting at $49, it’s an affordable option for most families.
Eco Burial Urn
The Eco Burial Urn is a cylindrical shaped biodegradable bamboo urn that is growing in popularity. It is made from bamboo, a sustainable resource, and can be kept around the home or buried, depending on what you prefer to do. Kept out of the elements, the urn will stay intact, however, when buried it will begin to biodegrade.
What New Memorial Options Can We Expect in the Future?
With the surge in people choosing cremation, we can expect many new and interesting cremation urn options becoming available in the coming years. This may include new urns made from different and unique materials, sending ashes into places never imagined, or creating new and exciting pieces of art. So, if what exists today isn’t a fit with you or your loved one, you can hold off and wait to see what becomes available.
Can I Do Multiple Memorials with One Set of Ashes?
Many families cannot just decide on one memorial, or have multiple family members and each want their own memorial of a loved one. Therefore, separating ashes of a loved one into multiple memorials is quite common and there are no issues with only using a portion of the ashes in each memorial.