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What Can You Do with The Ashes of your Loved Ones?

Traditional burial services are relatively more expensive than cremation. Some people opt the latter option solely for this reason. Others, meanwhile, choose it for a simpler and swifter funeral process. In foreign lands like Japan and Europe, cremation has become attractive due to cemeteries running out of permanent spaces.

Yet, whatever the reason families might have, they are always faced with this question: What can we do with the ashes after cremation?

Place at Home?

Finally holding the urn of your loved one’s ashes, you can dedicate a certain area in your home temporarily. If you’re a Catholic, though, church doctrine prescribes that the ashes of the dead should not be kept at home and should rather be placed in sacred places such as cemeteries, except in extraordinary cases as bishops may allow.

When deciding what to do with the ashes, people usually always want to accomplish three things: to make a lasting tribute to their loved ones, to honor their life and influence, and to ease the grieving process. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to address those points. Here are some suggestions.

Turn into Art

Aside from materials, we also have to consider the various decorative and functional features that a casket must have. Some features listed below are standard and essential in the design of the casket, while some may be added based on personal preference:

  • Keepsake Jewelry

    With the technology available nowadays, companies like LifeGem in the United States and Algordanza in Switzerland can now extract carbon from cremated remains. This extracted pure carbon would then be put in a pressurized container to be grown as a lab-created diamonds. The entire process is similar to how actual diamonds are made naturally, but only taking a few months. Once done, these diamonds can be further customized according to color, carat, sizes, and cuts. With this, you can symbolize your loved one’s unique characteristics and qualities—shining beautifully as a testament to how they were.

  • Tattoo

    Tattoos are permanent marks on the skin. That is why those putting one on usually design theirs with deep personal meaning. While getting a tattoo to commemorate someone who passed away is common, using their ashes as ink is treated otherwise given that tattoos are generally seen as taboo in the Philippines.

    Most that offer services which use ashes as ink are abroad. There are some tattoo studios in the United Kingdom and US that offer this service. One way they do this is by using a custom ink, which is a mix of your loved one’s ashes and actual tattoo ink.

    If you like getting tattoos, this can be an option to honor and keep your loved one permanently close to you. Be careful, though, for any potential health risks. To be safe, consult with your doctor and preferred tattoo artist before proceeding with this option.

  • A Beautiful Tree Memorial

    If the burying option isn’t just enough, transforming your loved ones into their favorite tree can be an alternative. A quote from Sarah Bernhardt goes, “life begets life.” This is very much true for companies like Bios Philippines. It offers 100% biodegradable urns, which can then be planted with any type of seed or tree. In the urn, your loved one’s ashes are topped with nutrient dense mixture, which is needed for plant growth. This will then be planted and taken care of in a specific way, depending on the overall mixture and soil type of your choosing. Rather than having a cold tombstone, you’ll have a chance to remember and be with your loved one as another living being.

  • The Usual Burial and Undas

    With the traditional burial ceremony, immediate family, along with friends, religious people, and other relatives, gather around the casket to say their goodbyes. This burial ceremony can also be done to cremated loved ones, contrary to common belief, and how it’s done is almost similar to the traditional.

    One thing about Filipinos is that they value tradition. However, the pandemic has fundamentally changed how the world turns. Everything is now done at a distance, even something as old and communal as the burial of the dead. One of the traditions that will also be heavily affected is called Undas. Also known as All Saints Day and Todos Los Santos, Undas is both a religious and a cultural tradition in the Philippines where people visit the graves of their loved ones who passed away. Usually, it is observed with the extended family with food, drinks, and candles extending throughout the night.

    Currently, a lot of families are now considering burying the urns of their loved ones in a private place due to the pandemic. This is also done with limited guests and custom services. With traditional burials being very strict, and cemeteries during Undas overcrowded, this option can ensure you that your loved ones are treated with the proper ritual, but safely.

    Going through loss, no matter how many times you witness or experience it, is always a difficult process. During this time, it can be extremely challenging to know and remember what to do after everything settles down. Whatever your choice is, it’s possible to plan ahead on what to do with your loved one’s remains.

The Heritage Sentinel: Stories and Information

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