Few things are as important to commemorate a person’s lifetime than protecting the legacy they leave behind. They have entrusted you to make decisions on their behalf to honor and protect their memory once they are gone.
During the time of grieving major decisions need to be made, such as choosing between cremation and traditional burial. If cremation is chosen, the next consideration is whether or not to bury. Many families do not realize they have options beyond scattering ashes (remains), or bringing them home in a special container or urn. A third option to consider is burying the remains in a special urn vault in a cemetery.
By burying one’s ashes in a cemetery, a dedicated permanent resting place is established and an everlasting legacy begins. Services can be held and memorials or religious rites can be conducted on-site. And since cremation vaults require much less space than a traditional burial vault, lifelong companions, family members, or even best friends could be buried next to each other.
Scattering ashes at a special location can provide a sense of peace at first, but it may not be the best long-term decision. Adverse weather conditions and unforeseen changes to the location can impact your loved one’s final resting place. A setting that was once a wonderful memory can change drastically over time. Lakes can dry up and forests can be ravaged by fire, logging, or even deforestation. Open spaces that were once peaceful and calm could eventually be transformed into bustling shopping centers, concrete parking lots, or landfills.
In addition, exact locations of where ashes have been scattered are not usually recorded. Often, there is no ceremony, and there are no memorials or signs to indicate to others that they may be disturbing human ashes.
An alternative is to bring the ashes home. While an urn resting on a shelf or fireplace mantle might provide initial comfort, issues may arise later that are not in the best interest of your loved one. All too often, urns full of ashes end up in garage sales or as part of an estate or home purchase, leaving it up to the buyer to decide what to do with them. In many cases, these ashes are simply tossed away.
As this final and loving tribute for friends or family is planned, it is important to protect their memory in a thoughtful and meaningful way. Providing a permanent placement in a cemetery honors and memorializes your loved one for eternity.
It’s interesting to note that this modern custom is derived from an older practice of spreading the ashes of particularly heinous criminals after they were hanged, denying them a grave and memorial as a final insult.