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Sharing Ashes

by Linda Banks

 

Cremation KeepsakesCremation gives us many unique and personal ways to remember our loved ones who have passed away. Growing up in our small town, a family burial plot in the local cemetery made sense. Traditional burial gave my family a permanent location to visit and pay respect to family members, forever.  

Like many in our town, I was part of a large extended family that didn’t relocate.  Most people stuck around and farmed.  Recently on my last Memorial Day visit to the cemetery, I counted over fifty headstones for family members.  Those were just the names I recognized, and the number didn’t include the several prairie cemeteries outside of town.  Memorial Day at the cemetery was a mini family reunion when we would catch up on family news and gossip.

Things have changed, though.  Families are spread out.  School, employment, the military, love – there are so many reasons that take people across the country and around the world. People settle down far away and put down new roots.  It’s not always convenient or even possible to visit a loved one’s grave-site. 

From Coffins to Burial Urns

Traditional burial is available with cremation, of course, for those who want to be cremated and who also want a permanent place where family can visit.  There are cremation burial urns for ashes designed specifically for those who wish to be interred.  And there are  biodegradable urns for ashes for those who want an urn and remains to decompose naturally into the earth or sea.  People may also choose to have their cremation urn holding cremated remains placed in a columbarium, a permanent structure, with individual niches that hold cremation urns.

The increase in the number of cremations has increased the request for cremation urns. Consequently, there is a great variety of memorial urns available.  Cremation provides a choice to family members who want the presence of their loved one’s final remains close to them. In the past, family members decided who would keep the cremation urn holding their loved one’s ashes.  Today, there is a large selection of sharing urns, keepsake urns, wooden urns for ashes, and cremation jewelry that lets many people share the final remains.

One design is sharing urns. They are smaller than individual cremation urns or companion cremation urns, and can range in size from 50 to 100 cubic inches.  The urns are made of many different materials, styles and colors.   

Of the sharing urns, keepsake cremation urns for ashes are small and are designed to hold a proportional amount of cremains.  These urns are appropriate when several family members and friends would like to take home a memorial urn with their loved one’s ashes.  Also, when the deceased asks that his or her ashes be scattered, a keepsake cremation urn can be used to retain a small amount of ashes before the scattering takes place. 

Cremation jewelry is designed to hold a minimal portion of ashes and can be worn as a keepsake pendant.  There is a large variety of cremation jewelry, keepsake pendants for ashes, key chains and other memorial cremation jewelry.

In addition to the great variety of keepsake cremation urns, the demand for cremation urns has inspired artists to create works of art that include a tiny portion of cremated remains.  Glass globes, vases, clay pots, and diamonds can be shared with family members.

 

Linda Banks provided extended end-of-life care for her beloved Aunt who was like her mother. When her brother suddenly died, she was instrumental in orchestrating all of the details of his final wishes to be cremated. Linda has been an active blogger for ten years, including blogging about Willie Nelson and his family. Willie told her recently that he reads her blog every day.  

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