As we find ourselves in the midst of the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, many of us will be reminded that several of our loved ones will be dearly missed during these times especially. For many, the thought of visiting the loved ones at a cemetery or memorial ground will cause us to take a trip to the special location to visit the memories that we hold so dear. Still in other instances, the holiday season may bring on some not so comforting realities that our loved ones are not in a final resting place, and the urgency to satisfy that creates a clear and present need.
The most common situation where this circumstance would occur is regarding cremation and an urn. Families sometimes find themselves safely placing their loved ones on a shelf in a closet until they can find or make time to take action and come up with a plan or resolution that is “best” for their world.
In reality, the solution of an urn on a shelf is a short lived remedy and eventually creates a moment in the future that forces someone else in the family to take custody of the urn. A crossroad is essentially created there in that moment.
Here are some potential questions that are created at this crossroad, along with possible solutions that could prove to be ultimately the most beneficial of decisions for your family.
Q: Can I bury an urn?
A: Yes…in fact you can bury an urn in its own grave space, or you may even potentially be able to use an existing grave space where a loved one is currently buried. We refer to this as a Second Right of Inurnment. Some cemeteries allow this, and it proves to be a very viable answer for families.
Q: Can I keep some of the cremated remains and bury the rest?
A: Again, the answer is yes, unless your religious affiliation discourages that action (i.e., Catholicism).
Q: Can I have a graveside ceremony to honor my loved one’s life and give them a proper burial?
A: Yes…you can have a service that suits your family’s needs, whether that means you want a large, full-blown tribute where you invite all the family and friends to the event, or whether you choose to keep the ceremony very simple and only invite a small, private group of family members and best friends.
Remember, even though the service is designed to remember the loved one, its purpose is to provide healing to the living family and friends who are left behind. The mindset of what is considered to be healing can vary greatly, and that is perfectly fine. Grief looks a little bit different to everybody, but it needs to be approached in the healthiest way possible.
Q: It’s been five years since my loved one passed away. Have I waited too long to bury the urn and have a small service?
A: No, you haven’t waited too long at all. As a matter of fact, now is the absolute best possible time that you could have a service. Others in your family and friend circle need the “closure” and sense of togetherness that a service provides just as much as you do. So be brave and take that step of courage that will lead to a healthy, dignified solution for your family.
Q: Is burying the urn my only option when it comes to selecting a final resting place or location?
A: No, it’s not the only option. Families can also choose from various above ground niche options that are found in a mausoleum or columbarium. Some mausoleums offer stone front niches (urn sized spaces in an above ground structure) along with glass front niches. The stone front niche features a bronze nameplate, while the glass front niche visibly displays one or more urns through a protective glass window.
If your family is facing some of these challenges, we hope that you will find peace of mind and clarity on what’s best for your needs.