When I married into the family firm in 2005, we had a cupboard with ashes in dating back to 1970…and we still do. In fact we now have two cupboards.
Seventy-three per cent of all funerals A H Freemantle completed last year were cremations. For some, the ashes of a loved one hold no meaning, while for others they are the very embodiment of the person who has died.
If you have chosen a cremation funeral, the next step is to decide on what to do with the ashes. So here are some ideas for you:
A scattering – scatter them in the person’s favourite place. Be aware some grounds such as cemeteries or private land require permission to scatter ashes. In our area scattering at sea is popular. Do it carefully and remember to stand upwind! Ask us for biodegradable urns if you’re not sure.
Bury/inter them – put simply, this is placing the ashes somewhere permanent such as a cemetery or above ground chamber (a columbarium). This particularly suits those of a religious faith, those with family graves, or those who like the idea of stability and tradition.
At home – many feel their loved one’s ashes should be close to them. You may want to consider the container they are in, particularly if they are on display.
Made shiny! – want some bling to remember your loved one? Ashes can be turned into jewellery, hand-blown glass or stained glass that you can appreciate and admire for a long time.
Plant them – the ashes are mixed with nutrients and placed in an urn used to grow a tree in the person’s memory.
Memorial tattoo - some tattoo artists will mix a portion of your loved one’s ashes with ink to create a memorial tattoo you can keep with you for life.
With a bang – ashes can be placed in a firework for a colourful and/or loud send-off.
In America a company called ‘Holy Smoke’ will even turn ashes into ammunition!
Losing a loved one is often a gut-wrenching experience and it can be difficult to figure out the right way to remember them and honour their last wishes, if known.
Whether you’re considering creating a working vinyl record complete with cover or sending them into space, please don’t leave them in your funeral director’s cupboard.
For further thoughts on what to do with ashes, visit AHFreemantle.co.uk or call us on 01329 842115.
By James Keen, managing director of A H Freemantle Funeral Directors