Cremated, now what?

Is it time to modernize the age old tradition of going to cemeteries to remember our loved ones?  Yes, in fact it is already happening...  

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Image Credits: http://prlog.org, http://treeternity.com, http://metjoureys.com, http://mountpleasantgroup.com, http://ebay.ca, http://parklawnlp.ca

First things first, do you know which of the following options you would choose?

1.     Buried?

2.     Cremated?

3.     Body Bequeathal?

Body Bequeathal is where you donate your body to science and learning, they make and pay for all arrangements and leave you with cremains once all is said and done.  In Saskatoon we have The Body Bequeathal Program which is administered by the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology in the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan.  Your body does have to medically qualify however, so you may need a back-up plan.

With 65% of Canada's population being cremated rather than buried, cemeteries are not necessarily where people want to be remembered.  If you want to be buried you almost have no other option than to choose a cemetery.  Cemeteries offer a sense of comfort because they are known to deliver on “forever.”  Whether it's changing religious and cultural beliefs or the fact that people are moving some distance away from where they grew up, families in today's world are no longer being buried in the same cemetery as their ancestors.

As cremation rates rise, families are facing the problem of what to do, long term, with cremains.  Some of today's options are discussed below:

FREE - $$$ - Scatter your ashes someplace special such as at the lake, at a favourite park, or at the golf course. In Saskatchewan you can legally scatter ashes so long as you have the land owner’s permission.  Alternatively, you can consider scattering the cremated remains from air by plane, or floating them in sea.  Garden scattering services are offered at certain facilities as well. Keep in mind that some people who have spread all of the ashes have come to regret that decision because they now have nothing they can see or touch, it would be a good idea to compliment this option with something physical as well, such as cremation jewelry or a memorial tree. 

$10 - $$$ Cremation jewelry such as a cremation bracelet, necklace, locket, ring, pendant, etc.  You can find very simple cremation jewelry on sites like EBay for as little as $10 and it just goes up from there.  Ashes can actually be converted into glass or diamonds as well.  Memorial diamonds are made using the carbon from cremains or you can have the ashes converted to glass through a glass blowing technique which fuses a small portion of cremated remains with molten glass.  Cremation jewelry is a unique way to memorialize a loved one and can be suited to fit any budget.

$50 for a burial urn and you could be buried in your family’s back yard, if that is legal where they live.  If your family ever plan to sell the home however, they should plan to dig up the urn and take it with them unless they don't mind knocking thousands of dollars off the sale price as prospective buyers probably wouldn't be too thrilled to learn someone is buried in the back yard.  

$50-$700  Keep the cremains in a beautiful urn in your home - some find it comforting knowing their loved one is near but some find it too sad.  If you like the idea of having Grandma on the mantle, have you thought about where Grandma will be four generations into the future? Will she be tucked away in a box in someone's basement who never really even knew her?  

 $100 - $$$ You could plant a memorial tree to continue the circle of life.  You should plan to plant it someplace that will not be sold or cleared for construction.  Trees do not live forever so a permanent marker would mark the spot forever so long as the land remains untouched.    

$550-$2,000 Memorial rocks and cremation benches are another way to "host" an urn in a built in compartment of the structure, these are placed at a cemetery.  

$2,200-$3,200 will buy you a burial plot for your urn with a permanent marker in the average cemetery.  Make sure you ask for a full price list of all immediate and future charges as things such as opening and closing the plot can cost extra.

$2,500-$10,000 will get you a niche in a columbarium where you can put an urn and keepsakes in a recessed compartment.  Indoor locations make visiting easy in the cold winter months.    

The culture and the economy have played a part in people wanting less expensive, simple alternatives to full cremation services.  Direct cremation is where the cremated remains are returned to the family within a few days in a basic urn with no immediate ceremony.  Family can then arrange their own memorial at a later date and a time and place that suit the family.

Resources:

http://www.canadianfunerals.com

http://www.cremationresource.org