In this ongoing series, Don will tackle some of the questions that many people ask about funerals. Let us know if there is a topic you would like him to cover!

As I mentioned in my last blog, over 75% of all funerals in Queensland involve cremation rather than burial. This is mainly driven by cost – the cost of cremation is usually around a quarter of the cost of a burial plot and burial fees. However, this trend has raised a new question that very few families have an answer to – what do we do with the ashes?

Ashes are usually returned from the crematorium in a small, brick-sized plastic container. Practical, but not at all attractive, and certainly not something we would be comfortable with sitting on the mantelpiece. So, what are the options?

Firstly, the family needs to decide what will happen to the ashes. The most common choices are:

  • Scattering – usually in a place significant to the deceased (garden, ocean, forest etc.)
  • Interring – most cemeteries and crematoriums have niche walls or garden areas available where the ashes can be placed for a fee.
  • Keeping – in urns or jewellery specially designed for the purpose.

There are dozens of products available for either option. These include:

  • Scattering urns and tubes – usually lower cost but in a range of designs that can be tailored to your loved one. These are far nicer than the original plastic box and much more suitable if there is to be a ceremony attached to the scattering of the ashes.
  • Urns – available in many designs (birds, hearts, statues, chests etc) and materials including brass, bronze, ceramics, glass and many more. There are designed as a permanent receptacle for the ashes and would normally be kept in the home.
  • Keepsakes – miniature versions of the larger urns, which are ideal for sharing small quantities of the ashes with other family members. They are also available in different shapes such as hearts or tea-light lamps.
  • Jewellery – designed to hold tiny quantities of ashes, but a way to carry a part of your loved one with you. Pendants, rings, earrings and bracelets are all available.

Of course, the Keepsakes and Jewellery will only hold a fraction of the ashes, so arrangements still must be made for the remainder.

The choices are endless, and as always we are here to help you with your decisions.

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