What do I do with the ashes after a direct cremation?

With more families turning to direct cremation as a simple and affordable cremation solution, we are finding that this question is arising more frequently.  “What shall we do with the cremation ashes?”.  In many cases, the family opted for a direct cremation as they had already decided against interment, and simply wanted to take care of the immediate disposition of their loved one in an inexpensive, ‘no-fuss’ manner.

Opting for a direct cremation does enable family to take care of the immediate need, and requests, to arrange a funeral.  But once the temporary urn is made available for collection, some folks just aren’t sure what the next steps are.

Having a direct cremation does not mean that you cannot memorialize in your own way, and in your own time!  What can you do to memorialize after a direct cremation?

Ash Scattering Memorial

ash scattering An ash scattering is proving a popular choice for families who feel an interment is unnecessary.  Either the deceased specified an ash scattering or families feel that this is a more befitting final rite.

You can choose to scatter all, or just some, of the cremated remains, and there all many options on where and how.  The options include scattering at sea or over water, scattering in a designated memorial garden, scattering from a plane or scattering just about anywhere that you feel is appropriate.  Families often ask about the legalities and permits required for scattering, and it has thus far been something of an ‘un-regulated’ act.  Certain state and public parks may require a permit, but in the main, there are no regulations, just a need to have a regard for other people and the environment.  Cremated remains are organic and sterile, so pose no threat to the environment, but it is important to be mindful of other people and how they feel about this as a final rite.

If scattering at sea EPA regulations do stipulate that a scattering should occur at least 3 nautical miles from the shoreline.  That being said, it is not uncommon for families to choose to do a beach scattering in the surf on a quiet spot of the coastline.

It is important to think and prepare for an ash scattering.  It is final, and there are right and wrong ways of scattering remains.  The wind direction plays a major part.  We all remember that Big Lebowski blow-back moment!  Ensure you, and your assembled party are all standing downwind.

Hold a Memorial Service

You can conduct your own memorial service.  This means you can hold your own service led and directed by the family.  Or you can enlist a person to conduct it for you – a celebrant, minister or friend of the family.  There are again many options in terms of where to conduct a memorial service.  You can hold it anywhere that you feel is appropriate, from at home, to a community center, church, outdoors or golf club!

Inter cremation remains

Of course, you can still choose to inter cremated remains, and more cemeteries are adding columbarium’s to their cemetery estate to accommodate the demand for cremation niches.  The cost to inter a cremation urn is generally cheaper than a body and casket, but there are some quite expensive niches out there as well!

Cemeteries will sometimes facilitate the opening and closing of an existing cemetery plot to add a cremation urn.  The fees for this differ by cemetery.

Create a cremation artifact memorial

Cremation has inspired a new generation of imagination in what we can do with cremation ashes creatively.   The possibilities are almost endless but listed below are some suggestions of artifacts that are made with cremation ashes:

  • Memorial reef
  • Diamond
  • Blown glass
  • Birdbath
  • Vinyl Record
  • Bullets
  • Tattoo

Share cremated remains and create family keepsakes

If you are unsure just what you want to do with the cremation ashes, you can always opt for sharing between family members with keepsake urns. These are generally a set of small urns and come in various designs and selection of quantity.

Cremation Urns

If you are in need of a simple, low-cost direct cremation, DFS Memorials has a network of affordable cremation providers nationwide.  Select your state and city to find your nearest provider.