Cremation Services: What To Do With A Loved One’s Ashes

Posted by: Erin Ward in Funeral Advice | July 9, 2021

Once a loved one’s remains have been cared for, you might find yourself wondering what do with the ashes after cremation. What many people do not realize is there are far more options than storing the remains at home. Taking the time to plan a meaningful ash spreading ceremony can not only help you cope with grief but give your loved one a special tribute.


As technology has advanced, companies are now offering innovative new ways to store, spread, and even transform ashes. If you are in need of ideas for your loved one’s ashes, please read below.


Scattering Ashes


Choosing to scatter a loved one’s ashes is becoming one of the most popular things to do after a cremation service. Many people find that the act of spreading or releasing ashes provides a sense of closure. It is an excellent way to help free ourselves from grief as we pay tribute to a loved one’s memory.


Many families choose to scatter their loved one’s ashes in a place that was meaningful and significant to the deceased. Before you go and just start spreading ashes anywhere, it’s important to make sure you have permission to do so. Although there is no authority that oversees or strictly enforces ash spreading, you should still go through the proper channels. The majority of states and counties have specific bylaws and regulations for proper ash scattering.


To ensure you are not breaking any laws and risking a fine, it’s always best to reach out to local authorities and inquire about any forms or permits that need to be completed. If you will be spreading ashes on private property, make sure to receive written permission from the landowner beforehand. Use your common sense as well, wherever you choose to spread the ashes, make sure you do not spread them on trails or in areas that people frequent regularly.


Scattering Ashes Ceremonies


When it comes to scattering ashes, there are many different kinds of ceremonies. The three most popular types are casting ceremonies, raking ceremonies, and water ceremonies. Each type allows for your family and friends to gather for a meaningful ceremony to share memories and pay respects to the deceased.


Casting ceremonies are what most people think of when they hear ash scattering. A casting ceremony is the act of taking the cremated remains and scattering ashes into the wind. Casting has a symbolic meaning of freeing and letting go. In doing so, you can say goodbye to the deceased while letting their spirit be free to explore the area you have released them to.


A raking ceremony is another popular ash scattering ceremony that is often held in large gardens or fields. This ceremony is often held at home, on farms, or in a cemetery’s scattering garden. A raking ceremony begins by pouring the ashes across the ground. The remains are then raked into the ground by one person or multiple people taking turns.  As each person takes their turn raking, they share a memory of the deceased.


Water ceremonies are a great way for families to honor a loved one who enjoyed spending time on the water. Whether its scattering ashes at sea or in a lake, families can purchase speciality urns that quickly dissolve when placed into the water. As the ashes are dispersed into the water, your family can share memories as they toss flower petals into the water and watch the ashes float away with the tide.


Keeping Ashes in The House


Rather than spreading a loved one’s ashes, some families find comfort in keeping them close by. Keeping ashes in an urn and having them somewhere in your home provides a sense of comfort in knowing that your loved one is always close by. If you choose to spread the ashes or bury your loved one, you must travel to be near them. Keeping ashes in the house allows you to feel close to your loved one all the time.


Portability is another major benefit of keeping ashes in an urn. If you have to move to another city or state, it can be hard to visit a loved one’s grave or the area where his/her ashes were spread. Storing the remains in an urn allows you to take your loved one with you, wherever you live.


Use of A Cemetery


Even though cremation has grown in popularity in recent years, many people still find comfort in the burial process. The act of burying a loved one’s remains provides a sense of healing. For some, the act of not burying the remains feels unnatural. To accommodate this need, many cemeteries offer options for burial or the interment of ashes.


Interring in a columbarium niche has been common practice in cemeteries for many years. A columbarium niche is similar to a mausoleum. They are above ground structures used to hold and safeguard the urn. Once placed inside, the niche is sealed with a bronze plate that marks the space and identifies whose remains are interred there.


Burying cremated remains in a plot is another option for families to consider. Many cemeteries offer burial plots to bury single or multiple urns. If you would like to bury the remains, you will likely have to purchase a burial vault to protect the urn and help prevent the grave from caving in. Green burials are another option in some cemeteries. In this case, a hole is dug and the ashes are poured in or placed in a biodegradable urn and buried.


Cremation Jewelry


Spreading, storing, or burying remains are not the only options for cremated remains. Cremation jewelry allows you to keep a part of your loved one close to you forever. Many companies are now creating beautiful pieces of jewelry that store a small amount of the cremated remains within them.  To take things even further, it is now possible to have the ashes processed into diamonds or crystals.


Cremation jewelry offers a truly unique way to honor a loved one and keep them close. In addition to keeping your loved one with you wherever you go, cremation jewelry can be used as family heirlooms. The jewelry can be passed down from one generation to the next and keep a loved one’s memory and spirit alive forever.


Newer & More Creative Ways of Handling a Loved One’s Ashes


Whether it’s a birthday, Memorial Day or New Year’s Eve, fireworks are always used to close out the celebration. What better way to honor a loved one then by concluding their celebration of life with a fireworks display. The most creative thing about this idea is you can now turn cremated ashes into fireworks. There are several companies across the country that can create custom fireworks that include some of your loved one’s ashes. There’s no better way to celebrate a life well lived than with a beautiful fireworks display.


If your loved one was creative had an appreciation for art, pay tribute to them with a beautiful piece of art. Much like with fireworks, several companies are now offering services that mix your loved one’s remains with paint or clay. Once you have received the material, you can create a beautiful piece of art that just like your loved one, is truly one of a kind.


Many people will often give themselves permanent reminders of their loved one by getting a tattoo in tribute to them. Similar to the art products we mentioned, companies can now mix a portion of the ashes into tattoo ink. Not only will your memorial tattoo be a permanent reminder but it actually keeps a part of them with you forever.



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Peter Maxwell

April 2, 2022

Wow, I think these are great ideas for keepsakes! I never thought of this. I think this a great idea for cremated remains to be memorialized. I have jewelry from which holds my father's cremains and he was a fisherman and really loved the sea. Maybe I can look into this and maybe try to have it done to the rest of his ashes.


Phyllis Williams

August 24, 2021

Once you sealed ern, can you open it back up; once it is sealed

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