Your loved one’s Direct Cremation is now complete, and you have just received a rectangular cardboard box from us at Cremation Society of America. You notice that the cardboard box is a bit heavier than you imagined. A lifetime of emotions seems to wash over you simultaneously as you open the box to discover your loved one’s cremains are a granular texture, much like sand. So much as happened to get to this point: The phone calls to family and friends, legal and estate issues to be addressed, just to name a few. You take a deep breath to reflect for a moment. The inevitable question you ask yourself is, “OK. Now what do I do?”
Figuring out what to do with a loved one’s cremated remains can be a difficult and, at times, overwhelming decision in light of the grief and chaos that follows the loss of a loved one.
We at CSA are here to provide you with several options and ideas to honor your loved one:
The option that likely first comes to mind also happens to be the most popular ways to handle cremains: scatter the cremains in a place that holds significance and meaning for your deceased loved one. When it comes to scattering cremains, you must be cognizant of the specific laws and regulations that each state and even each county may have in place to govern the scattering of ashes. Once you determine the location to scatter the cremains, be sure to contact the applicable governmental authority to ensure that you secure all appropriate permits and permissions.
For example, the State of Florida has no specific state laws in effect to govern the scattering of ashes, but counties and cities may have guidelines and require certain permits or licenses.
Another traditional option is Scattering at Sea, whereby your loved one’s cremains are scattered across the surface of the sea in a ceremony that can be quite peaceful and serene. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) governs the scattering of ashes at sea and does not permit:
Another option that is gaining in popularity is scattering ashes in U.S. National Parks. The U.S. National Park Service allows for the scattering of cremains within its national parks but each park maintains its own policies and procedures. Here are a few examples:
Even though scattering is the most popular option for treating cremains, there are a nearly limitless number of other ways to treat cremains. Your loved one’s cremains can be placed in a container/vessel such as an urn, incorporated into jewelry; placed in a columbarium or transformed into something else like an ornament or even a tattoo.
For a very long time, families have chosen to keep their loved one’s cremains present in their everyday lives within a container or vessel. Here are some examples:
Cremains can also be buried in a cemetery in the same way that deceased are buried in caskets. This process is called “interment.” Here are a few of the more common burial options:
There are also many unconventional and innovative options for treating cremains – and more options are being created every day. Here are just a few of the more creative ways to honor your loved one:
Once you decide how best to honor your loved one, you may need to travel to another part of the country to meet with family and friends. Many airlines allow cremains to be brought on board as carry-on or checked baggage, but the urn/container holding the remains must pass through the x-ray machine or it will not be allowed through security. In order to transport cremains on a flight, you must present a death or cremation certificate in order to carry them on board.
Cremains can also be air-shipped as cargo but only by known shippers (a “known shipper” is designated as such after passing inspection and qualification rules set by the US Transport Security Agency [TSA]).
Contact us at Cremation Society of America to order a Direct Cremation and speak to us regarding the options available to you once your receive your loved one’s cremains.