Cremation and Tradition
Cremation and Religion
Cremation vs. Burial
The idea of cremation memorials may come as curiosity to some who may assume that cremation involves simply the scattering of a loved one's ashes over some special place. In fact, that impression may be the very thing that inspires many people to object to the thought of cremation in the first place. Cremation can be an unsettling idea for some people simply if it carries with it an air of finality, the thought that once a loved one's ashes are scattered to the wind, there will nothing left to invoke memories of an important life. Thoughts like this are why experts in grief typically suggest that establishing a permanent memorial in some sacred place – even if it's just a standard headstone in a non-descript cemetery – is a very healthy thing to do – for the living as much (if not more) than for the dead. But when it comes to cremation, many may assume that such memorials are simply not an option.
That assumption, of course, is wrong. Here are some ideas for making sure your loved one can be remembered with dignity for the ages with a cremation memorial. Cremation urns are much more than the temporary plastic (or even cardboard) container in which crematories will typically return cremation remains to family members. In fact, today's cremation urns can make beautiful cremation memorials in their own right. These amazing works of art are available today to memorialize just about anyone's unique personality, and many families are finding that – when customized with memorial plaque or etching – these cremation memorials liven the spirit of a family home for generations to come. But that said, even non-customized urns can be wonderful cremation memorials simply because of their discreetness. Many families find that the idea of a cremation urn in a home can be unsettling to friends and other visitors, so most of today's cremation urns are designed so as to look like any other sort of sculpture art. This property of a cremation urn means that families may disclose company of their cremation memorial discreetly if so desired.
Cremation memorial rocks are simply pieces of imitation rock that feature a hollow shell and a place to store a simple cremation urn filled with ashes. These beautiful pieces are today displayed in a wide variety of locations from back yards to building court yards and entrances to nature displays in parks open to the public. These cremation memorials typically feature a large bronze plaque that has ample room to display a memorial tribute that will pay lasting tribute to the deceased and create ages of comfort for the survivors. Installing this type of cremation memorial can certainly help ease the pain of losing a loved one, just as experts suggest. It can be a great comfort to know that, in special times (anniversaries, milestones or just because) a person can simply retreat to where a memorial rock has been installed to spend a few memorial moments with the memory of a special person.
Like memorial rocks, cremation pillars make excellent cremation memorials. These beautiful pieces typically take on the classic design of a single roman column (but with all sorts of creative twists that give them a modern look along with the classic). The difference they have with memorial rocks is that they are normally installed in cemeteries alongside traditional headstones. (But they do not necessarily have to be installed in cemeteries, of course.) Memorial rocks meanwhile are usually found in just about every other type of spot besides a cemetery. Cremation pillars are the perfect cremation memorial for families who wish to maintain the traditions of cemetery burial even for loved ones who have chosen cremation. The pillar typically includes a compartment for storing ashes in much the way that cremation urns are sometimes sealed tightly in a columbarium (yet another type of cremation memorial that we will reserve for another article).
As with traditional headstones, cremation memorials can be engraved with very meaningful epitaphs and other tributes to the deceased, and reading these will certainly be a lasting pleasure for family and friends who will surely visit the pillar over the course of many generations and decades.
Another type of cremation memorial is cremation jewelry. These beautiful pieces of sterling silver, gold, or even wood or glass jewelry are an excellent option for a family of a person who has requested that his or her cremation remains be scattered. Many families are in the practice of scattering all but a portion of their loved one's remains and then capturing the remainder in beautiful cremation pendants. Cremation jewelry is typically hollow and holds no more than a teaspoon of ashes, so, even if a dozen family members choose to keep a small portion of their loved one's remains in one of these cremation memorials, there will always be plenty of cremains to scatter in a meaningful way. (The typical cremation yields between 150 and 300 cubic inches of ashes, while piece of cremation jewelry will usually hold less than one cubic inch in capacity.) As with cremation pillars, memorial rocks, and cremation urns, cremation jewelry makes for an ideal cremation memorial because it allows a loved one to have a point of reference by which to remember their dearly departed friend or relative. In fact, because a pendant can always be close at hand – rather than miles away as is often the case with other cremation memorials – cremation jewelry could arguably be thought of as the best type of cremation memorial available.
And finally, another type of cremation memorial is gaining much attention these days for its uniqueness. Cremation art, simply put, is a cremation memorial in which an article directly incorporates a small bit of cremation ashes into his or her work. Cremation art can be done in just about any artistic medium. A painter, for example, can be commissioned to mix bits of ashes into a painting that perfectly symbolizes a loved-one's spirit. Or a glass blower can include a teaspoon or so of ashes during the blowing process, and even ceramic artists have been known mix small portions of ashes into their clay just before a project is fired. As with all of the other cremation memorials we have discussed in this article, cremation art serves the psychological needs of a grieving family by creating a permanent remembrance of a dearly beloved lost loved one. Like several of the others, of course, this cremation memorial can be a discreet tribute to its honoree, or it can be customized to include a plaque of some sort that will pay long-lasting respect to the special family memories created during the life of such a special person.