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What to Do with Cremation Ashes

urn for holding cremated ashes
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By JIM MILLER

There’s no shortage of options when it comes to handling or disposing of your cremated remains after you’re gone. Your family can keep, bury, or scatter them in a variety of imaginative ways that reflect your life and personality. 

Scattering

The most popular option is to have your ashes scattered at a location you loved to be — a favorite fishing spot, camping area, golf course, beach, park, or at home. If you choose this route, keep in mind that some places, such as national parks, require a permit. And many public areas, like parks or sports stadiums, may prohibit scattering.

Storing at Home

Many families choose to keep their loved ones close by storing them at home. If you and your family chose this option, you can purchase a decorative urn through your funeral provider or online at Amazon.com. Or you may want to use an old cookie jar or favorite container that reminds your family of you.

Burying or Interring

The burial option is good if you wish to have a special place for your family to visit. This is also the only option for cremated ashes sanctioned by the Catholic Church, which specifies that ashes of the dead should be kept in sacred places like a cemetery or a columbarium and not kept at home or scattered.

Planting

If you’re the environmental type, you can have your ashes planted with a tree. Companies offer living urns — like TheLivingUrn.com or UrnaBios.com — that mix your ashes with other nutrients that can be used to grow a plant or tree in your yard or a place of your choosing.

Scattering at Sea

If you love the water, many businesses offer ash scattering services at sea, especially close to coastal areas, or your family could rent a boat and do it themselves. Other companies, like EternalReefs.com, offer reef memorials, so your ashes can rest on the ocean floor.

Scattering by Air

This option will scatter your ashes into the sky, so the particles can be taken by the wind. To do this, family could hire a private plane, helicopter, or hot air balloon service, or use a balloon scattering service like Mesoloft.com. Your ashes can even be launched into outer space with Celestis.com.

Put to Vinyl

If you love music, a UK company called Vinlyly will turn your ashes into a vinyl record. You supply the music (or voice recording) and cover image, and the company creates a memorial that your family can listen to for years to come.

Spun Into Jewelry or Glass

If you love jewelry or glass trinkets, some companies — like CloseByMeJewelry.com, SpiritPieces.com, or ArtFromAshes.com — will turn your ashes into wearable jewelry or glass art memorials.

Out with A Bang

If you’re a hunter or a gun lover, a company called Holy Smoke will create loaded ammunition out of cremated remains. Your family could store the ammo in the engraved wooden box it comes in, or they can send you off in a gun salute.

Turned Into Art

If you love art, arrange for an artists or family member to paint your portrait, or a picture, with some of your ashes mixed into the paint. Or, if your family is into tattoos, many tattoo artists will mix some ashes with ink to create a memorial tattoo. MSN


Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

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