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Ashes to Amaryllis, Dust to Diamonds: Creative, Personalized Choices to Memorialize Cremains

05 December 2019
Ashes to Amaryllis, Dust to Diamonds: Creative, Personalized Choices to Memorialize Cremains

Many people are turning to cremation rather than a traditional burial for a variety of reasons. Because many families are becoming more geographically dispersed, family plots are no longer a central resting place for these distributed families. Others find cremation a more cost-effective option than a traditional burial. Whatever the reason, 65.5% of families are now opting for cremation over a traditional burial, and this number is growing.

This shift raises the question of what happens to the ashes (cremains) after the service. That decision is up to the families. And that is where choice comes in: Contrary to what you might think, there are almost as many choices as there are individuals to be honored by these choices.

Traditionally, most people think of either preserving the ashes in an urn or scattering them at sea. But even for these time-honored options, there are more choices than you might think. Urns come in a variety of styles and themes. There are urns for planting trees, biodegradable urns, urns made in a range of materials and shapes, 3-D printed urns—including urns featuring a bust of the loved one— not to mention themed urns, say for gardeners or sports enthusiasts. If one chooses to scatter the ashes at sea, there are also options as to how and where. Ashes can be scattered by helicopter or by boat, near your own home or at personally meaningful locations, or in exotic location like Hawaii. 

Beyond the traditional choices of urns and scattering, there are so many more choices available to personalize the experience in a meaningful way to honor the memory of your lost loved one and your family.

For nature lovers, you can purchase a “Family Tree” in a redwood forest. For those who loved to sail, fish, snorkel, or scuba-dive, their ashes can be incorporated into a living artificial reef. With the proper permits, you can scatter ashes at a favorite National Park or State Beach.

For the aeronautically inclined or for space enthusiasts—whether pilots, Star Trek fans, or amateur astronomers—several companies send ashes into space. Closer to home, ashes can be scattered from a hot-air balloon. Where legal, they can be incorporated into a fireworks display.

There are also may alternatives to simply storing the ashes in a conventional urn, even if it is one that you have customized. The ashes can be incorporated into glass-blown keepsakes, jewelry beads, or bulbs. If you want to keep your loved one close to your heart, ashes can be sealed into pendant jewelry. For an everlasting memorial object that can be passed down through the generations of your family, the ashes can be transformed into diamonds, which can then be set in lovely jewelry.

Let your loved ones know how you would like to be remembered, or where you would like to rest.