If you want to split a loved one’s ashes with family members, how do you divide ashes after cremation? Learn the answer here.
CNN reports that in 2015 cremation became the preferred choice among Americans for what to do with their remains after death. Since then, cremations have only become more popular. But, cremation isn’t the end of the line- at least for friends and family.
If you’re a family member or friend of someone who has passed away, you may be wondering how to divide their ashes after cremation. There are several ways you can divide the ashes to accommodate the needs of everyone in your family or friend group. In this article, we’ll touch upon the cremation process, why dividing ashes is important, and some methods you can use to do it.
What Are Cremated Remains?
Cremation is a practice humans have employed for centuries to dispose of human remains. In the past, they would set the deceased body ablaze on a funeral pyre. However, advances in technology have changed the cremation process.
Now, we have industrial furnaces that can reach temperatures as high as 1900 degrees Fahrenheit. These machines, called cremators, can withstand the heat and allow it to vaporize and oxidize the organic matter. What’s left after is cremated remains or, as many people call them, ashes.
Cremated remains mostly comprise of bone fragments. However, in some cases, there may be minor traces of metal. For example, if the deceased had a hip replacement or even a gold filling, traces of it may have mixed with the ashes during cremation.
But, they are devoid of any organic matter. Therefore, if you choose to do so, they will not have a major impact on the environment when scattered. However, scattering is just one of the many cremation options your crematory may offer.
The Importance of Separating Ashes After Cremation
The decision to cremate differs from traditional burials because you get your loved one back. Instead of leaving them in a cemetery plot, you’re faced with the choice of what to do with the ashes. Often, this isn’t a solitary position since many people may have had profound connections to the deceased.
So, they each want a part of that loved one for themselves. It also encourages togetherness as you all cope with the same loss. Therefore, dividing ashes helps families find comfort amid the loss.
Moreover, dividing ashes is important if it’s a part of the deceased’s last will and testament. In addition to dictating how they want their remains processed, they may also have a plan for how they want their ashes divided. This is often the easiest way to divide cremated remains for loved ones because they can follow a set of instructions.
But, the biggest reason that dividing ashes is important is for closure. Cremated ashes come to families in a plain box and can serve as a painful reminder of loss. No matter what method you choose, separating ashes along with grief counseling will help you navigate and emerge from the stages of grief.
Rights Over Ashes
Who is entitled to decide what to do with ashes? In the US, a legal hierarchy is in place regarding who can make decisions about cremated remains. In other words, the law states who “owns” the ashes.
In most states, the top of the hierarchy is the deceased’s spouse. After them, the surviving children take custody of the remains. However, if the deceased’s will names a person, the hierarchy is moot, and the ashes belong to them.
Sometimes there will be a dispute over who gets the ashes. For example, if there are two siblings equally eligible to receive the remains, they may argue over who has a legal right to them.
Settling these disputes can become messy. The fighting becomes intensified by grief and may be hurtful. Avoiding these disputes in your family is as simple as cremation preplanning, including writing a living will.
How to Divide Ashes After Cremation
Dividing ashes after cremation isn’t all about who gets how many ounces of the deceased’s remains. Although in some cases, it may be that simple, there are many ways one can divide cremated remains.
Yes, the choice to cremate would indicate no need for burial. But, it may surprise you that some families do bury cremated remains.
Burying cremated remains helps save space at a cemetery while still providing a place for surviving loved ones to visit the deceased. It also removes the question of who gets how much of the ashes since they’re all in one place. However, sometimes people bury most of the remains and separate a small portion out for each loved one using other methods.
Scattering is a popular method of cremated remains disposal. From one’s backyard to the ocean and even Disneyland, people often like to scatter remains somewhere symbolic to their loved one.
You can even choose to divide before scattering. Either many people scatter in the same place or you divide and scatter across multiple places your loved one liked. As with burial, you still have the option to keep a piece of your loved one and use this method.
Urns are by far the most popular way to separate cremated ashes. They are often considered a beautiful way to honor the deceased. The shape and style of urns help integrate your loved one’s resting place into home decor.
Of course, separating remains into urns is also popular. Each family member uses an urn to keep their portion of the loved one in. Urns are a gentle, beautiful reminder of the life and impact that person had on each person.
Creative Distribution of Cremated Remains
Traditional methods of separating cremated remains aren’t for everyone. Some people want to use their portion of separated ashes to honor their loved ones in a creative way- and there are many options for that.
Turn Cremated Remains Into Glass or Jewelry
Glass artists can transform cremated remains into beautiful keepsakes and jewelry. Some options you have for transforming your loved one’s ashes into glass are:
- Elegant rings
- Memorial glass art
- Wearable pendants
- Glass planters and candle holders
These options aren’t for everyone. But, they may hold some significance to a loved one who valued art and creation.
Plant a Biodegradable Tree Urn
You may have heard of these before, but they are becoming a popular way to memorialize loved ones using their cremated remains. Tree urns contain two capsules that hold cremated ashes and the seed or seedling of a tree.
You plant the urn in the ground. As it biodegrades, the cremated remains help fertilize the growing tree.
This option uses nature to replace a tombstone. Now, instead of a dreary cemetery, you can visit your loved one in your backyard. They can provide you with shade and comfort for years to come.
For that reason, the biodegradable urn method is popular among people who like the idea of creating life out of death.
Transform the Ashes Into a Coral Reef
The company Eternal Reefs use cremated remains to make new reefs for marine wildlife. By combining the remains of loved ones into individual reef balls, they create lasting memorials for loved ones while improving the oceanic environment.
Moreover, the families get to have a hand in the creation of the reef if they choose. They have the option to mix the concrete and personalize it with hand prints or written messages.
Therefore, they get closure and create a living memorial for their loved ones. Memorial reefs are great for people who have a connection to the ocean or care about the environment.
The downside to this method is that, like with scattering, you won’t have opportunities to visit your loved one. So, before setting them into an eternal reef, you should consider separating some portion of the ashes for those who want to hold on to the loved one physically.
Send Your Loved One to Space
There are few better ways to send off your loved one than a trip around the cosmos. And there are ways to make that happen even after the cremation.
This method of separating cremated ashes after cremation is the most out of this world and pricey. However, some options are less than the cost of a funeral, which is around $8K on average. Through Elestis, a memorial spaceflight company, you have two options below that price, as listed below.
- Spaceflight and terrestrial return: $2,495
- Send into Earth’s orbit: $4,995
- Send into the moon’s orbit: $12,500
- Send to deep space: $12,500
Since you are separating your loved one’s remains, the service accommodates portions of the ashes in each package. Moreover, you can track your loved one’s location in space. Or, just look up and know they’re watching over you.
Learn More About Dallas Cremation
What to do with ashes after cremation is not a decision families take lightly. But, now that you know your options for dividing cremated remains, the choice will be easier.
If you want to know more about cremation for yourself or a loved one, Lonestar Cremation can help. We service customers in the Dallas Fort Worth area and can accommodate online cremation arrangements for your family. Our goal is to make your cremation experience as smooth as possible. Visit our website to book an appointment today.