Memorial options for cremations
Upon cremation, the ashes or “cremains” are usually collected by the crematorium and returned to the family in an urn. At this stage, it is up to the bereft family to decide on how to memorialise their loved one. Professional bereavement care providers will usually offer a variety of choices depending on the options available at that locality.
The most popular memorial option is to place the urn at a columbarium – a permanent structure or building that is built specifically for this purpose consisting of many repositories or niches resembling dovecotes. The urn is placed within such a niche and occasionally families will place other things together with it, such as favourite items associated with the deceased or decorative and religious objects. The niche is then covered in a variety of ways. Some columbaria will employ the use of lockable door or glass covering which is inscribed with the deceased’s name and details. Others might seal the niche permanently with an inscribed stone covering or tile.
Despite cremation, families may still choose the option of burial below ground in an urn garden. An urn garden is a burial ground designated for the burial of cremated remains only. Unlike a standard burial plot, an urn garden’s burial plot will contain a below ground compartment or vault big enough to accommodate an urn or two. A headstone or marker will then be installed at the plot to memorialise the deceased.
Some families may choose the option of scattering the ashes (usually at sea or a favourite spot associated with deceased). For some cultures and religions such as Hinduism, this option is usually preferred although some land scarce countries might also encourage this practice. No permanent markers are erected after the ashes are scattered. However, families can still celebrate the memory of the deceased during selected anniversaries through personal or memorial prayers.