Funeral ashes options
Once you, or your loved one, is cremated, what do you want to do with the ashes?
A cremated body reduces to ashes that weigh between five and seven pounds and take up a volume of approximately 200 cubic inches.
So you can have several different things done with small amounts of your ashes!
Here are some options:
Normal, traditional disposal
The most popular thing to do with your ashes is to spread them on the crematorium’s rose garden or bury them in a cemetery or churchyard.
Select a more remote beach where you want your loved ones to dig shallow rows in the sand in which to put your ashes. It could spell out your name, and a brief message...which would be moving. Friends and family can wait for the tide to come in, maybe having a ceremony on the beach, and then watch as your ashes are washed out to sea.
Birdbaths and sundials
There are companies making specially constructed birdbaths and sundials with voids in the base into which your ashes can be poured.
The hole is then securely stopped, the object turned the right way up and then placed in the garden as a permanent memorial.
US writer Hunter S Thompson's ashes were fired from a cannon on top of a tower. Has inspired Johnny Depp, who played Thompson in The Rum Diary, to say his body will be pickled in a vat of whisky.
You could have some of your ashes filling the void behind a clock face in specially made clocks.
This is more popular for the ashes of family pets - yes, people pay money to put Rover’s remains in the back of a bespoke clock.
But what’s good for the dog could be just as good for you, so consider requesting your loved ones to put some of your ashes in a clock on the mantle piece.
Then imagine the look on a visitor's face when your family says: "Just look at the time...did you know, dad’s ashes are in that clock?"
There are companies that make fireworks for this purpose. The ashes are mixed with the explosive to form the display.
Think about a great beach party, with your favourite music playing, all your friends and loved ones having a memorable time remembering you and midway through the rave, up you go in the rockets exploding over the sea.
The inventor of the Pringles tube was so proud of his invention his ashes are now interred in an otherwise empty tube - Original flavour. Use as a guide...empty Guinness can? McDonalds box?
Foundations of a building
Particularly appropriate if the building has a link with the deceased, such as a sports pavilion or, in the case of Sir Ian Richardson, a theatre.
House and garden memorials
There are increasing numbers of companies that make structures into which the ashes are contained, and which then adorn the living room or the garden.
Some are beautiful, some are classic, some are tacky, some are a bit weird.
Ashes can be made into diamond like gem stones and glass pendants, or put into small containers and worn as display jewellery.
This is a 21st-century version of Victorian mourning jewellery, when it was common to put a piece of the deceased’s hair in a locket.
In the US your cremains can be part of a memorial reef. One company is re-creating the legendary Lost City in 16 acres of ocean floor. Called the Neptune Memorial Reef it will offer room for more than 125,000 remains, and become a sanctuary for marine life, and attract divers, ecologists... and those looking for a most unusual final resting place.
Yes, artists will mix some of your ashes with the oil paint to give it a gritty texture and then use it to paint your portrait or your favourite view.
Scattered over land and sea
Choose where you want your ashes scattered from a bi-plane.
Go with a BANG! Again, the ashes are mixed with the explosive charge, and bang, off you go, spread far and wide. Presumably popular with huntin’, shootin’, fishin’ types.
US based company Celestis will send your ashes into space. Options range from return space flights to orbit placement. They hope to put cremains on the moon, and also launch permanent celestial journeys into deepest space.
You pay according to the weight of the ashes they put into space.
They offer savings plans so you can save now for when the time comes to leave the planet. Should you discuss this with your funeral director as part of a pre-paid funeral plan you may well be the first.
Heavens Above are the UK’s Master Distributor for Celestis.
Increasingly popular, but some caution here...don’t expect all your ashes to be spread over the playing surface or fairway... most groundsmen will politely refuse this request although a small symbolic amount might be allowed.
Larger sports clubs have training grounds and other areas where it is allowed.
Sunk to the bottom
It is possible for your ashes to be sunk to the bottom of the sea, river or lake, or even garden pond, in a slowly dissolving eco-friendly container.
You can take a small amount to a tatooist and ask him/her to mix it with tatoo ink and then use for a tatoo. Think hard before making this decision. This has had some recent publicity.
Trenching is putting the ashes into a shallow hole in the ground, and then covering or raking them. Ideal for a favourite outdoor location.
Appealing specifically to lovers of vinly recording, a company will mix your ashes with vinyl and make bespoke records to include your favourite songs, readings and messages from beyond the grave, or as they say, beyond the groove.
As long as you (or probably your loved ones) get permission your ashes can be scattered over the sea - at least a mile out from the shoreline. A small amount could be scattered over a lake or river, or even a large garden pond.
Your ashes, your choice
If you want your ashes spread in a particular place or used as described above, make this a funeral wish and place in your Lifebox so that your executor, or to whoever you give access to your Lifebox on your death, can read and carry out your funeral wishes.
Bear in mind that f you are environmentally conscious and want your funeral, or that of a loved one, to be as 'green' as possible, do not choose cremation.
To make spreading easier there are purpose designed and built 'scatter tubes'.