A Guide to Cremation Memorialization
Cremation Memorial Options
Memorialization is a time-honored tradition that has been practiced by caring people
through the centuries. As survivors we care about and want to remember
those who precede us in death. Memorialization helps us to
remember and to be remembered. Selecting and establishing a permanent
memorial for a family member or loved one not only satisfies an
immediate need, but it also fulfills the need to preserve our heritage.
are stepping-stones to the past, and to the future. They link the
Cremation -Preparation for Memorialization
Many people mistakenly believe that the process
of cremation - reducing human remains to bone fragments - is an
end in itself, but it is not. Cremation is preparation for memorialization just as is traditional burial. In fact, the
options for the final disposition of cremated remains and the subsequent
memorials used to honor them are many and varied.
Cremation Memorials - Making the Selection
It is never too soon to set up a visual symbol
in beautiful surroundings that will perpetuate cherished memories.
But beautiful memorials don't just happen. They require forethought
and planning. Many families make their memorial selections in advance
so that decision-making can be done together and can be eliminated
during a time of stress. But whether a memorial purchase is made
prior to need or at the time of need, you will want to be familiar
with the many cremation
memorial options that are available.
A Columbarium Niche is an indoor or outdoor wall
containing niches. A columbarium niche is defined as a recessed
compartment designed to hold urns. Columbariums may be an entire
building, a room, a wall along a corridor or a series of special
alcoves or halls in a mausoleum, chapel, or other buildings located
in a cemetery or on other dedicated property. Niches come in many
sizes with a selection of fronts such as glass, marble, bronze,
granite or mosaic. Glass fronts may be clear, tinted, frosted or
etched. Some columbarium niches are designed for specific size urns
while others may contain a double size space for two urns or even
larger niches for multiple urns. Some clear glass fronted niches
allow meaningful memorabilia to be placed inside along with the
The Urn Garden
Many cemeteries or memorial parks have areas designated
specifically for the interment of cremated remains. This area is
called an Urn Garden and is set aside for those who desire
ground or above-ground interment. Some gardens offer individual
urn burial plots that will accommodate a marker. Others offer unmarked
areas for interment of the urn, with adjacent walls or sculptures
for memorial plaques. Check with your cemetery or memorial park
on the types of permanent memorialization they offer for garden
interment of cremated remains.
If you already own a burial plot or have
a space in a family lot, you may choose to inter the cremation urn
there. Cemeteries often permit the interment of the cremated remains
of more than one person in a single adult space. Or if you wish
to be interred in a family plot, but do not want ground interment,
there are monuments available to house the cremated remains. These
monuments can be used for those who have chosen cremation or in
combination with family members who have chosen casketed burial.
Gravesite committal of the urn is available and some cemeteries
require that the urn be placed in an urn
vault for interment.
There are a wide variety of markers and
monuments available but you should check your cemetery's rules before
purchasing your memorial. The monument or marker you select will
be a lasting genealogical record for the generations of your family
and a lasting symbol of the special life you want to remember and
The Scattering Garden
In recent years some cemeteries have opened areas
to scatter cremated remains. Called Scattering Gardens, they provide
choices for personal memorialization within this dedicated property.
Often individuals whose remains have been scattered in the garden
are identified on a special memorial plaque, wall or unique work
of art on which the names are inscribed. Some cemeteries also have
benches on which a plaque may be attached or a living memorial,
such as a tree, where a plaque may be placed in front of it. Some
cemeteries offer memorializing an individual with an entry in a
Book of Memories or Remembrance located in a chapel or mausoleum
on the cemetery grounds. These entries, beautifully executed in
calligraphy and often illuminated in the manner of ancient manuscripts,
provide a personal lasting tribute. The scattering of cremated remains
also may be done at a designated geographical spot on land or in
water in accordance with federal, state/provincial or local laws.
If scattering is done, it is recommended that arrangements also
be made for a permanent memorial that will provide a place of pilgrimage
for those who want to remember and celebrate the life of a loved
Urns for the permanent containment
of cremated remains come in a variety of sizes, styles and materials.
In fact, there are urns to satisfy every taste, requirement and,
as well as, every budget. You may select an urn from bronze, pewter,
marble, granite, brass or from selected hardwoods. They are also
available in porcelain, ceramic, stone, hand-blown glass and cloisonné.
Urns range in size from single to multiple capacity, and in styling
from the traditional book shape and classic Grecian design to novel
creations and decorative art pieces and can be personalized to depict
an individual's hobby or special interest. Some designs have a matching
picture frame to display a photo of the individual being memorialized.
Keepsake Urn Options
Many urns are also produced in smaller versions
to hold a small portion of the remains. These are referred to as Keepsake
Urns. They are especially appropriate when only a portion
of the cremated remains are to be scattered or when families choose
to divide the cremated remains among family members. Other innovative
options available are: Decorative pendants, known as Keepsake jewelry,
are available in a number of styles and are designed to hold a small
portion of cremated remains; Memorial Glass sculptures where a portion
of the cremated remains are permanently embedded in the glass of
these fine art pieces; and Memorial Tablets where the cremated remains
are integrated into a granite-like material suitable for placement
in a cemetery, church memorial garden, or placed in the ground.
Presentation urns, which are large enough to hold
a temporary urn, are also available for use at a memorial or religious
service, when a family is undecided as to the final disposition
of the cremated remains. With so many beautiful and unique urns
available, you may have difficulty in making a selection. But before
making a final decision, it must be decided where the cremated remains
will be placed. If it is going to be placed in a columbarium niche,
what size and shape urn can it accommodate? Will it be interred
in an urn garden or family plot? Do you need an urn vault? Does
your cemetery or columbarium require a specific type of urn be used?
These are some of the things you should take into consideration
before you make your selection.
Cremation Memorial - The Lasting Tribute
Although the selection of a cremation memorial
may be time-consuming and require some important decision-making,
once it has been accomplished it will give you and the generations
that follow much satisfaction. Permanent memorialization not only
provides a lasting tribute to a loved one, but also gives peace
of mind and a place of pilgrimage. Caring about and remembering
others are what life and memorializing are all about.
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