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Cremation

What is a Columbarium?

January 15th, 2013

A columbarium is a specially designed room or building with niches for cinerary urns (cremation urns) to be stored, much like a mausoleum. There is a trend in the monument industry toward using the word mausoleum for both bodies and ashes (cremains), instead of the older term ‘columbarium’.

Types of columberia

Columbaria Example from WikipediaModern columbarium designs are simple and tasteful. Some columbaria disappear into their surroundings, such as a garden wall, while in others have highly customizable niches. They are typically constructed similar to mausoleums and out of the same materials. You will find both indoor and outdoor columbaria at both churches and cemeteries. Indoor columbaria may offer climate controlled niches.

Columbarium niches vary in size, and some allow for two urns to be placed together. Sections of columbaria may be designated for entire families. Depending on the cremains vessel selected, there may be limited space for small memorabilia.

Where are columbaria located?

Columbaria are usually located in a cemetery, but can also be built into churches or are located on church grounds.  A columbarium can take various forms, but in a church building they are usually located in an interior wall. They can also be constructed in the churchyard, garden or a cemetery in various shapes and sizes. In some cases, one area or wing inside of a mausoleum is designated for cremains. Some are permanently sealed niches, where as others the face front panel is unlocked. The name of the deceased is usually inscribed into this panel.

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EPA and Federal Rules On Scattering Ashes From Cremation

January 23rd, 2012

Disposing of Cremation Ashes and the Government

If you or a loved one has decided on cremation, there are few things you’ll need to consider when planning what to do with the cremains (ashes). You have two choices: keep the cremains or dispose of the ashes through burial or by scattering them. Either choice comes with its own set of rules, regulations and laws governed by federal and state agencies.

EPA and Cremains

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the federal agency that oversees the federal rules on cremation remains disposal, including the laws concerning federal lands and federal jurisdictions. Individual states each have their own rules and regulations, but can, and often do use the rules the EPA has set as guidelines.

The only federal rules that are generally enforced are ones regarding scattering of cremains at sea and by air. Scattering at sea falls under the Clean Water Act. Scattering by air falls under individual state rules and regulations. However, federal aviation laws (FAR91.15) state that a pilot can’t drop objects that can cause hazard to persons or property. The U.S. Government does not list cremains as hazardous material.

Cremains (Ashes) Disposal at Sea

Scattering Ashes At SeaIf the dispersal plan includes a scattering ashes at any of the following: sea, lake, pond or stream, you need to follow the requirements of both federal and state agencies.

Don’t be alarmed, federal and state governments don’t have stringent policies concerning cremation burials. Nevertheless, they do have a few rules and permits.

According to the EPA under the Clean Water Act, cremated remains must be scattered at least 3 nautical miles from land, by boat or by air. Containers such as urns, vases or cremation boxes must be disposed of separately if they are not made of readily decomposing material. The EPA does not allow for cremains to be scattered at beaches or in wading pools by the sea.

Although these rules are very straight forward and the permits are easy to obtain, it is a good idea to consult with the local funeral home or cremation services company handling the cremation. Equipped with the knowledge of the specific, cremation disposal requirements in your area, these professionals can provide the permits or complete the necessary paperwork needed to scatter the ashes at sea or other bodies of water. Continue reading “EPA and Federal Rules On Scattering Ashes From Cremation” »

Cremation Diamonds and Memorial Jewelry

August 8th, 2011

Memorial jewelry has become an increasingly popular way to memorialize and remember loved ones who have passed away. For those who are in mourning, it is a wonderful way to begin the healing process. It helps to know that a small piece of your loved one will always be close, both in spirit and physical form.

Memorial jewelry, also known as mourning jewelry has been around since Victorian times. Mourners would wear jewelry containing ashes, strands of hair or soil from the graveside, over their heart bringing them peace of mind and comfort. It is a way to memorialize and honor your loved one while keeping them close to you always.

Create everlasting memories with Cremation Diamonds

Cremation diamonds take this unique memorial to the next level — a diamond is actually created with your loved one’s carbon signature.

  • Cremation diamonds are made with the cremains (ashes) of your loved one.
  • In the case of burial rather than cremation, diamonds can still be made from a lock of hair instead.
  • Cremation diamonds come in an array of different sizes, cuts, settings and brilliant colors.
  • They can be set just like regular gems: in rings, pendants, necklaces, earrings, and keepsakes.
  • If cremains are used: It takes 250g of cremated remains to create a brilliant cremation diamond.
  • Several dozen cremation diamonds can be made from the remains of a single person. Loving family members are able to share the special memorial, a treasure that will always be cherished.
  • Cremation diamonds are also popular for those who have lost a beloved pet, and want a way to remember and cherish the memories they shared.
  • The cost of a cremation diamond varies depending on the size, its average range is anywhere from $1,900 to $20,000.

Creating a Cremation Diamond

Cremation diamonds are laboratory-grown, synthetic diamonds. Although created by man, they are chemically identical to a natural diamond, and can take anywhere from 6-9 months to create.

The process of creating a Cremation diamond is long and tedious, but well worth it for the everlasting effect it holds.

  1. The first step is to separate the carbon molecules from the ashes.
  2. Then the carbon is turned into graphite. (This stage takes a few weeks of time)
  3. Next, a starter crystal is inserted into the center of the graphite.
  4. Then it is placed into a diamond press where heat is gradually increased to 2,500°.  800,00 pounds of pressure per square inch is slowly applied over a few weeks of time.
  5. A rough crystal (diamond) has been created.
  6. The last step is to create the shape and facets with special tools.

Each cremation diamond is unique and special. Holding deep sentiment and love inside of each sparkling facet. You will be reminded of your loved one and the inspiration they gave you every time you see the sparkle of your one-of-a-kind cremation diamond. A deeply cherished memorial that will live on in honor of your loved one.

 

Catholic Views on Cremation

July 22nd, 2011

Burying the dead goes back to the early Christian times. The early Catholic Church openly forbid cremation for centuries because of the belief that the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Cremation was seen as a pagan practice that denied the doctrine and faith in resurrection. Early Catholicism viewed burial as a symbol of  hope for resurrection, as well as a continuance of early Christian traditions.

Only in the last 50 years has Catholicism accepted cremation as a means of final disposition. In 1963 the Vatican lifted the ban on cremation for Catholics. Cremation then became a practice allowed under certain  circumstances, providing that the reasons did not counter Christian beliefs.

The Church once used very strict rules for funeral services and sacraments in the event of cremation. The Church did not allow cremated remains (also known as cremains) to be present in the church during the celebration of mass or any prayer vigil. The body had to be present for all services before cremation.

The Order of Catholic Funerals was three separate, and ideally, sequential rites to celebrate the end of one’s life in the flesh, and the beginning of a new one in spirit:

  • Prayer Vigil – a short prayer service that takes place during the time immediately following death.
  • Mass – a celebration in the funeral liturgy.
  • Rite of Committal – another short prayer service held at the cemetery or place of internment.

The ideal sequence of the three is: the vigil, funeral mass and then the rite of committal.

In 1997, the Vatican granted permission for cremated remains to be present for mass and  rite of committal, making Catholic cremation more openly available to families in need. The Church still recommends traditional burial. However, Catholic cremation has quickly gained popularity, and is seemingly necessary for many Catholic families. The reasons for cremation differ, but cost is by far the most common.

Keeping with The Church’s traditions of the sacredness of human life, there are still strict rules on the sanctity of human ashes:

  • The cremated human remains (cremains) shouldn’t be scattered, divided among family or kept at a home.
  • Cremains should be treated with respect, and laid to rest in a cemetery, either in a grave or mausoleum.

According to the Cremation Association of North America cremation rates in the United States have risen from 5% (from nearly 20 years ago) to 39-45% as of 2008. It is estimated that Catholic cremation has risen to approximately 15-20% in the last ten years.

Special Thank you to Shehan365 For the beautiful picture via Flickr.

How To Incorporate Flowers With Funeral Urns

April 26th, 2011

The iconic, casket flower arrangement has become a staple in our funeral flower traditions. Open or closed casket, the large spray of lush flowers and foliage has a way of calming our spirits in a time of loss. Beautiful flowers have a way of enhancing the atmosphere at somber events. Additionally, it gives guests a subject to talk about that is comforting and uplifting.

But what if there is no casket? What if your loved one chose to be cremated, can you use flowers with a cremation urn? The answer is yes! Florists everywhere are creating beautiful floral memorials especially for cremation urns that are just as impressive as the traditional casket arrangement. As if they were sheltering the urn, flowers create a comforting effect when surrounding whatever vessel you choose to carry the cremains of your loved one.

Funeral Urns & Flowers Funeral Urn Flowers

While cremation urns are beautiful, they are often dark in dim funeral home lighting. Having flowers cradle your loved one’s cremains brightens the mood and gives the cremains an over-all sense of resting in a garden.

You can even personalize the memorial urn’s flowers to celebrate the life of the departed by using the their favorite flowers and colors. Incorporate favorite hobbies and pastimes into your flowers. If they were an avid gardener or loved to fish, use some of their equipment within the flowers to better represent them. Talk to your florist about these suggestions and see just what they recommend.

Cremation Urns – Styles and Uses

July 9th, 2010

Cremation urns are containers (similar to vases) that hold the cremains (ashes) of your loved one after cremation. They are typically used as  keepsake urns, but are also made for burial uses as well. Urns can be intricately designed, embellished with etchings and colors, or they can be simple and elegant.

Metal Cremation UrnIf you are opting to store the ashes of your deceased loved one in an urn, it is an important decision to think about. This vessel will carry the cremains of someone very dear to your heart, so you want to find something that would honor their life. Also known as “keepsake urns,” cremation urns are typically given to the closest relative to guard and protect.

Styles of Urns

Cremation urns are made in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and designs. You can honor your fallen soldier, child, and even family pet with specialized cremation urns. The urns are made out of a variety of materials, such as ceramic, rich woods (like maple, cherry and mahogany), glass, leather, metal and stone.

There are many skilled artisans who handcraft special keepsake urns for your loved ones. If you wish, you could find a company who will customize the urn to help you better remember and honor those who have passed on. Most artists will create (time and money willing) any type/color/shape of urn to fulfill your special needs.

The newest trends for urns use natural materials that are not harmful to the environment. There are even biodegradable urns that can be tossed into a lake or ocean, where the ashes will eventually disperse.

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What Are Cremation Services?

July 8th, 2010

Planning a funeral for a loved one is not an easy task. The process can be especially emotional when you are unsure of how to fulfill the wishes of your friend or family member. This is especially true when a family member requests cremation as a substitute for a more traditional burial service.

Many people are choosing cremation over a more traditional burial. Yet, their loved ones have no clue how to plan a cremation service in a way that honors the deceased or what cremation entails. You may feel lost and alone when it comes to cremation or planning the service, but you are not. If you are faced with this daunting issue, I urge you to read further for tips and traditions related to cremation services.

What Constitutes A Cremation Service?

If your loved one has requested cremation, there are many ways to honor their remains. Cremation services have become a renowned and respectable way to celebrate the life of a loved one who has passed away.

After the cremation, which is a precise process performed by specialized individuals, the ashes (also known as cremains) are delivered to the designated funeral home. Common ceremonial activities involving the ashes include scattering, burial or placement in a mausoleum, and presentation of the ashes in a cremation urn to the family.

Cremation Memorial Services

The most common ceremony associated with cremations are memorial services. This service is a way for loved ones to grieve the life lost, to say goodbye, or to celebrate the life lived. When it comes to a memorial service, you will want to think about how the service can best honor the life of your loved one.  During the memorial service, you can display pictures and/or items that honor and celebrate the life of the deceased. Cremation urns are are often displayed during this service.  As with a traditional burial service, many people choose to send funeral flowers and plants as a way to offer their condolences at this service. This type of cremation service is typically performed at a religious location or a place with special significance to the deceased.

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