In past years, burial with a memorial granite gravestone was a popular choice for almost everyone who passed away in the US. However, in recent years, the popularity of cremation is increasing. Cremation is the process a funeral home or other provider uses to dispose of remains. When you choose this method of disposition, you receive ashes. Let’s look at everything you want to know about cremation ashes, including:

  • Why people choose cremation
  • Cost of cremation services
  • What ashes look like and are made of
  • What to do with ashes

Why Is Cremation So Popular?

Cremation is more popular than ever before. According to the NFDA,“The main reasons for the continued rise in cremation rates are:

  • Cost: Depending on your choices, cremation may cost less than burial
  • Environmental impact: cremation does away with the need for burial space, time for decomposition, a metal vault, and a casket
  • An increasingly transient population: because people move around, visiting gravesites is less common. Cremation lets you bring your loved ones ashes wherever you go. 
  • The weakening of traditional religious prohibitions: some religious doctrines prohibited cremation as a choice. In 2021, religious ideology about cremation is changing.
  • Changing consumer preferences: Consumers’ preferences for burial are swiftly changing. Families are more open to different possibilities in 2021 than in 1980.

Cremation Cost Factors

Working with a funeral home that has an on-site crematory is the least expensive and most straightforward option. Working directly with the crematory is best because there is no middleman expense to you. The cost of cremation is paid directly to the provider of the service.

With a traditional casket and burial, you also pay for the burial site and vault. Alternatively, the crematory may place the body in a container made of cardboard or a wood product such as unfinished or pressed wood. If you’d like to hold a visitation or funeral with a coffin, some funeral homes offer a Ceremonial Casket for the Ceremony.. 

Composition of Cremation Ashes

If you want to get scientific, Wikipedia defines cremated remains as “mostly dry calcium phosphates with some minor minerals, such as salts of sodium and potassium. Sulfur and most carbon are driven off as oxidized gases during the process, although about 1% -4% of carbon remains as carbonate.” (1)

Immediately following the cremation process, the remains are not only ashes. Looking at cremation ashes, immediately following the fire, there are fragments that do not burn down in the process. However, before giving ashes to the family, a cremation provider grinds fragments into dust during processing. Sometimes a family may choose to have items removed from the body before cremation such as jewelry that is given back to the family. Medical implants are either removed by licensed funeral personnel before cremation or are recovered after cremation. These items are recycled by the crematory.

How to Keep Your Loved One Close

Before our society became so transient, it was common to see families visit grave sites often, especially on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Independence Day, birthdays or anniversaries. Now it is not as common for families to visit cemeteries because grown children often live in other areas of the US. 

Because families often want to keep loved ones close, cremation gives you the option to take your loved one with you wherever you go. It also allows multiple family members to share in the remembrance of their loved one.

Besides placing cremation ashes in an urn, there are many other options to keep your loved one close. Many businesses make beads, diamonds, and other jewelry from cremation ashes. You can also order lockets to hold ashes or have ashes kept in a stuffed animal or another type of container. Spreading ashes is also an option. Ensure that spreading ashes is not prohibited in the area you choose before releasing ashes. 

When you choose cremation for your loved one, you have many options, including 

  • Choosing a Memorial Service weeks or even months later
  • Whether or not to have a funeral service or wake with a coffin
  • Whether to bury the ashes or keep them in an urn
  • Ordering jewelry made from cremation ashes
  • More options for budget-friendly packages
  • Carrying your loved one’s memorial remains with you wherever life takes you

PrePlan for Yourself

At Renaissance Funeral Home, our on-site crematory gives you choices when it comes to funeral plans. If you are making a future plan for yourself, we can help you navigate the options you face. You can sign your own cremation authorization years in advance and leave it on file with us so that loved ones don’t need to make that choice. We can also create a secured trust for your funds. If you move away, your trust is portable to another funeral home.

Keep in mind, the funds inside the trust are always your funds. You are the owner of the trust. The NC Board of Funeral Service audits these trust accounts annually and has them on file for accuracy and documentation. The funeral home you choose is the beneficiary of the trust after your death.

We Can Help

Whether you are making a plan for yourself or a loved one, at Renaissance Funeral Home and Crematory, we want to walk you through each decision to make the best plans for your situation. Our respect for the traditions and individuality of each person includes all cultures, religions, and belief systems. We want you to feel respected and honored as you make choices. Contact us today and find out how we can help you make plans for your future and that of your family.