What to do with a loved one’s ashes
Your loved one’s ashes are precious
The first days and weeks after a funeral can be overwhelming.
For many people this is when the grieving begins – expect to feel a range of emotions.
Planning your loved one’s funeral kept your mind busy with practical details, and family and friends were by your side to provide constant support. After the funeral you may find yourself alone for the first time in weeks. Take care of yourself and do what you feel you need to do to get through each day. Everybody grieves differently and for different periods of time.
What to do with your loved one’s ashes
Many people don’t leave clear wishes about what they’d like done with their ashes once they’ve passed. If this is the situation for you and you aren’t sure what to do, allow yourself plenty of time to make a decision.
There are many options to consider and we outline some of them here. Do you want to place the ashes in an easily visited place? Or do you want to have the person ‘with’ you always? Consider the personality of your loved one and what would suit them – were they discreet and private or loud and unconventional? Perhaps they loved being in the natural world?
- Keep your loved one’s ashes in a favoured spot at home
- Consider a memorial at a cemetery with a wall niche or a plaque by a rose garden or pond.
- Distribute your loved one’s ashes at a special place that held meaning for them. A favourite place in the countryside? Or did your loved one particularly love the ocean? Many boat charters offer this service if you want to do this out at sea.
- Plant a rose or a memorial tree in the garden and bury the ashes beneath it.
- For those born overseas consider returning their ashes to their childhood town, or to their parent’s gravesites.
- Fireworks: ashes can be incorporated into fireworks and dispersed while lighting up the night sky.
- Diamonds: Ashes can be made into diamonds or other precious stones and turned into jewellery.
- Teddy Bear: this huggable option was designed to bring comfort to grieving loved ones.
- A Pencil: Ashes can be converted into graphite and used as lead in pencils. Customised inscription on each pencil provides a novel keepsake or for the unconventional artist consider creating an artwork using the pencils.
- Tattoo Ink: a small portion of the ashes can be mixed with tattoo ink and applied to your body in the form of a tattoo. Reportedly there are no health risks but check with your tattoo artist first.
- Stained Glass: ashes can be mixed in with stained glass to make an enduring and beautiful window, unique to the person.
- Launched into Space: To go where no one has gone before! Now a very small part of you can be sent into space -either low earth orbit or into deep space.
- Helium balloon scattering: the ashes can be placed inside helium balloons which are then released and can rise up to 8km’s above the earth. The temperature here is about -34c below zero – the balloon crystallises and bursts, scattering the ashes to the winds.
- Become part of a reef! Ashes can be mixed into a bonding agent and turned into a cast that can then form part of a reef. Coral and other sea life grow on the cast and create new habitat for marine life.
- 3D printing: All kinds of possibilities exist with this medium – have your loved one’s likeness scanned and have a 3D urn made of their head. Use this to then store their ashes.