What Should You Do With Ashes After a Cremation?

If you've recently organised the cremation of a member of your family or a close friend, then you think your work is done after the body is cremated. However, the funeral home contacts you later and tells you that the ashes are ready if you want to collect them.

You haven't really got a clear idea of what to do with the ashes. What are your options?

Keep the Ashes at Home

Some people like to keep ashes at home. For example, they may buy a decorative urn or casket to store the ashes which they then display or simply store away somewhere safe. This can make you feel more connected to the person you've lost.

Inter the Ashes

Sometimes, you don't want to keep ashes at home or prefer to put them somewhere where you can visit the remains. This also gives other people the chance to privately pay their respects to the person who died every now and then.

For example, you can have the ashes buried in a container at the crematorium or in a separate cemetery. You can then mark the burial spot with a small plaque or stone. You may get some comfort from being able to pop along and lay flowers or to simply have a quiet sit down close to the burial spot on birthdays and anniversaries.

Scatter the Ashes

If you don't want to keep the ashes and you think that the person who died wouldn't have wanted their ashes to be interred, then you can scatter the ashes in either a formal or informal ceremony.

If you don't know where to scatter ashes, you can have this done at the crematorium. They often have green spaces or gardens for this purpose. Alternatively, you can scatter ashes in a place that made the deceased happy or where they spent a lot of time.

The funeral home you used to arrange the cremation and memorial service can help you decide what to do with ashes and how to manage the process once you've made a decision. For example, your funeral director can show you urns, caskets and even ornaments that you can use for ash storage if you decide to take this route.

Or, your funeral home can arrange for the ashes to be interred or scattered at the crematorium or cemetery of your choice. They can also give you tips on places people often scatter ashes privately.