Creative Ways to Honor Your Deceased Loved One After Cremation

Your loved one just passed and maybe they requested to be cremated but they didn’t have any comments on what to do after with the ashes.

First off, I am sorry for your loss. It is hard to say the least, and it can be challenging to make decisions right after.

On my mom’s 8 year mark of passing, my dad, my husband and I spread her ashes in the desert, on of her favorite places. I remember as I scooped her ashes over a dirt hillside on a sunny day, the feelings of vulnerability and closeness came over me. Physically, it feels like you can’t get closer than holding their ashes, after the loss of a loved one. It felt surreal.

You may find yourself not ready to do anything with their ashes, for various reasons. Maybe you feel like you’re letting them go, maybe you want the moment to be perfect, maybe it’s hard to come to a decisions because there are multiple people involved, or maybe you’re afraid of disappointing them.

I believe there is something freeing and powerful when a physical action is done in response to an emotional occurrence. It’s like connecting your heart and head. Whether you honor them with their ashes 5, 10, 20 years later, or honor them in short ways over the course of time, I highly encourage you to step into that direction of healing.

Remember, you are not alone.

Ashes remind us of what was, and what we no longer have.

Ashes take what we used to know, physically, and challenge our mind to look at it differently. Therefore, what we knew is not completely gone, it’s different. Ashes represent stories, moments, and life. While the topic is painful, I believe something can be made beautiful out of ashes.

Here are some ideas of ways to respect and honor your loved one with their ashes:

    • Create and order custom jewelry made of their ashes or that holds a tiny bit of their ashes:
      • Close by Me Jewelry, “Close by Me Jewelry is a unique, non-traditional, and beautiful way to remember the essence of a departed loved one. Whether you have lost a family member, friend or pet, designer Gina Murphy utilizes ashes (cremated remains) set in sterling silver and 14K gold to create an elegant keepsake that will last forever.”
      • Sugarberry Memorials, I started making cremation jewelry in 2016, as I wanted something to hold the ashes of my daughter who passed away during my pregnancy in 2010. I work very hard to make sure that I have the most affordable, most unique, and easiest process available for those who are going through loss.”
      • Lovely Little Acorns, “My Etsy shop has always been centered around jewelry with meaning. I lost my father in early 2017, and much of that year was spent dealing with the complicated emotions that grief stirs up. I started making memorial jewelry in mid-2018, and I do like knowing that I can offer people something beautiful to honor a memory and perhaps ease the grieving process. My customers sometimes share stories and pictures with me, and I am touched that they have chosen me to be a small part of their journey.”
  • Scatter the ashes at a place that they loved:
    • Such as their favorite hike or desert, ocean, forest, etc..
    • Mark your location on your phone so you’ll always be able to re-vist the location
  • Use their ashes to create a new garden or add it to an already existing garden
  • Schedule a boat ride with friends to have a ceremony on the ocean while spreading their ashes into the sea
  • Create a box or urn yourself to hold the ashes before you bury them

While we try to figure out life after loss, can we be real? We ultimately just want to feel better and not feel pain? We feel the tension between wanting to never forget, and never losing them all while learning to live forward. But the best gift we have is looking in the mirror and seeing them as a part of us, looking around and seeing their legacy, and looking back and seeing what they taught us.

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Photocredit: Katie Long


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