In days past – even as late as the 1990s – options for memorializing your loved one were usually very limited. Families typically contracted with funeral homes and cemeteries to create memorials that rarely strayed far from decades of routine. Families who wanted memorials that went even a little beyond the traditions established by the funeral home and cemetery industries often had to compromise.
While traditional memorials are still very popular today, they are just one choice available. Below are some ideas for making the most of all the memorial options available today.
In some parts of the United States, cremation is the choice in as many as 80 percent of deaths today. Despite its popularity, however, cremation is still emotionally difficult for many family members who are troubled by its air of finality. To help with these psychological difficulties, today’s memorial industry offers a number of comforts. Foremost of these is the huge, and growing, variety of urns. There is truly something for everyone. Whereas in days past, cremation urns typically followed classic designs that had been handed down for centuries, the urns of today are as varied as the people they memorialize. Classic designs are still readily available of course, but so too are golfing urns, motorcycle urns, and even urns for people who enjoy gardening, knitting or just reading.
Another relatively recent development in cremation memorials helps families who want to memorialize their loved one in more than one place. Keepsake urns hold a small bit of ashes, and many families today choose to divide their loved-one’s remains into several of these pieces that can be displayed in multiple locations – even around the country or world. Keepsake urns are common today when a loved one has requested to have his or her ashes scattered over some special place or at sea. Family members will often place a small portion of the ashes in one or more keepsake urns before the ashes are scattered.
Closely related to the keepsake urn is, perhaps, the newest memorial tradition: cremation jewelry. These special pendants are designed to hold tiny amounts of ashes that can be worn to keep a loved one’s memory always close. Either way, using keepsakes for ashes can help create a small tribute that will be a big comfort both during, and after, the mourning period.
As with full-sized urns, keepsake urns and cremation jewelry is available in a huge variety of styles, materials and designs. There is truly something for everyone and, in fact, it is common for family members to choose different keepsake urns or pendants to remember the same loved-one. This is yet another way that today’s newest memorial options help families cope with the air of finality that often results from a cremation.
While the traditional “upright” headstones of decades past are quickly declining in popularity (mostly because cemeteries have discovered that their ground maintenance is much simpler when most of their markers are of the “flat” variety), there are still plenty of options available for memorializing a loved-one in a cemetery. Today’s grave markers are available in traditional, simple granite, but they can also have a bronze plate attached. These bronze plates are available in a huge variety of styles, colors and designs and, just as with the urns, there is truly something for everyone. Browsing through pictures of all the bronze-on-granite grave markers to select a marker that perfectly matches a loved-one’s personality can be an extremely comforting, uplifting experience for any grieving family member.
Aside from a huge variety of grave markers, today’s memorial industry also has a wide variety of beautiful statues that can be installed in a cemetery to help mark a grave or a set of graves. These statues are available in marble, bronze or fiberglass and they are offered in a huge variety of sizes. There is something to fit nearly every personality and, of course, nearly every budget.
More and more people today are choosing to do more than simply build traditional memorials in traditional cemeteries. Families, and other groups, often wish to memorialize a special person in a special place. In one recent case, for example, a school honored the memory of a former coach by building a permanent memorial into the school’s new stadium. Colleges and other institutions often build similar monuments on their campuses, and, of course, many private residences today have permanent memorials installed, say, as part of a backyard garden. To help with these memorials, specially designed “memorial rocks” and “memorial trees” are available from today’s memorial product industry. These products come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and style, and all are designed to maintain a natural look outdoors for generations to come. Memorial rocks can be outfitted with a place to hold cremation ashes or they can serve as a beautiful supplemental memorial for a body that is buried elsewhere. All of these products are adorned with a custom made brass plate that includes the loved ones name and dates.
The above is just the start of the variety of products and services available for memorializing your loved one. More ideas are coming about very regularly. One recent example is the new Art in Ashes service available from Memorials.com. With this service, customers can have a small amount of your loved-ones ashes mixed with paint and included in a beautiful modern-art painting that will certainly become a precious family heirloom. Likewise, cremation ashes can also be mixed with hot glass while it is being blown and included as part of a new style of keepsake urn that is sure to be a conversation piece for years.
Thanks to new trends in the memorial industry, and the continuation of age-old traditions, the sky is truly the limit when it comes to options for memorializing your loved one.
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