What to Do with a Loved One’s Ashes? Ideas that Celebrate and Honor Their Memory

Here are some ideas for celebrating cherished loved ones that are no longer with us in places that provide permanence and dignity.

The passing of a loved one is often an event characterized by immensity: immense sadness, immense questions and sometimes, immense confusion about the best way to honor the deceased.

Time sometimes brings clarity, but just as often, time allows for indecision, and we remain unsure of how we want to celebrate the memory of the one we lost. Below are some ideas for celebrating cherished loved ones that are no longer with us in places that provide permanence and dignity.

Laying Them to Rest

For many people, it’s important to have a specific place where they can visit their loved one. This is very natural – all throughout history, humans have felt the need to commemorate a life through some sort of enduring memorial. Many choose to place an urn, either decorative or simple, in a permanent place. Depending what feels right to you, you have lots of options available.

Niche Placement

Inside a mausoleum, you can place an urn in a close-front or glass-front niche. If you choose a glass-front niche, you can display pictures or mementos from your loved one’s life to personalize the memorial and instill meaning in the space. This is a special way to visually capture some of what made your loved one unique, and it creates a sort of “shadowbox” that tells the story of a life well-lived.

Another option is an outdoor cremation niche in a columbarium. Like closed-front indoor niches, outdoor niches are sealed by a marble or granite plaque that commemorates the person being memorialized.

Outdoor Burial

Urns in burial plots can be marked by a simple plaque, a traditional headstone, a statue, a natural rock or even a tree or flowering bush. There are also outdoor urns in the style of benches or boulders that themselves become part of the landscape.

Whether you decide a formal ceremony surrounding one of these options is best or prefer an informal approach, do what feels right to you and is true to the spirit of the person you want to celebrate.

A Scattering

Instead of keeping cremains encased in an urn, some people choose to scatter their loved one’s ashes. Some memorial locations have serene outdoor areas, underground chambers or water features where ashes can be scattered.

Another option is a scattering out in the world at a location – or several locations – that were meaningful to the person being honored. Rules and regulations guide scatterings on public lands and in public waters, but a professional can help you through the process to create a memorable and respectful ceremony performed within the bounds of the law.

There are many ways to approach a scattering ceremony. It could be a small personal moment of reflection for an individual, or it could be a large celebration for lots of family and friends. Whether religious or secular, large or small, a scattering ceremony can be a meaningful way to honor the memory of a person you love.

Depending on the preferences of different family members or close friends, you can also choose to do a scattering and get a permanent niche, or any other combination of options.

A Meaningful Ceremony

Remembrance ceremonies help to connect our hearts with what our minds already know. No matter what kind of service you’re considering, you should feel empowered to design a ceremony that is meaningful to you and personal to your loved one’s story.

By working with funeral and cemetery professionals who understand the personal nature of these decisions, respect your choices and encourage creativity and personalization, you can to find a way to honor your loved one that feels right to you.

Ready to start exploring ideas? Visit urnspeak.com to learn more about some of the options out there.