Tag Archives: death

Funeral Cremation Urns

What To Look For In A Cremation Urn

What To Look For In A Cremation Urn

As cremation becomes more and more popular across the United States, cremation urns are becoming a more and more common sight across the nation. But many urns of today are a far cry from the traditional “Grecian” style (though, to be sure, that style is still readily available and popular). The large selection of urns available through retailers today can prove overwhelming, a consumer guide is necessary. This article aims to answer the question that often proves to be surprisingly complicated: “Which urn should I choose for my loved one.”
Uses for an Urn

The first thing to consider when searching for a cremation urn is where it will likely end up. Urns intended to be buried or permanently stored, out of sight, in a columbarium need not necessarily be as sophisticated or complex as an urn that will be displayed in a home or some other public place. Plenty of simple, stylishly sophisticated, and relatively inexpensive urns can found in most any retailer’s collection that will be entirely suitable for brief display at a memorial ceremony followed by permanent transfer to a burial site or columbarium. These are probably the best choice if an urn is not intended to be on permanent display (whether public or private). And, while a decision to purchase one of these types of urns narrow’s one’s options considerably, there is still typically a sufficiently large number to choose from to assure that your loved one’s personality is adequately represented, and honored, by the choice.
Likewise, if an urn will likely end up on a special shelf – whether it be in a home or a public place – most any retailer will have a surprising number of artistic options that will capture and represent your loved one’s memory perfectly. From religious scenes to tributes to one’s favorite sport, the memorial products industry has an almost overwhelming number of options for beautiful urns that will carry anyone’s legacy forth, gracefully through the ages in just about any indoor setting.

Urn Size

The next thing to consider as you search for a cremation urn is the size. Urns today can be categorized in three ways according to their size: Keepsake Urns, Individual Urns, Companion Urns.
Keepsake urns are the smallest size and are intended to hold only a small portion of a person’s cremation remains. (Small is a relative term, of course. Some keepsake urns are large enough to hold up to a about a third of the ashes, and others will hold only, say, a teaspoon or so.) Individual urns are probably the most common. As their name implies, they are designed to hold all of the cremation remains of a single individual. And, finally, companion urns are large enough to hold the remains of two people, such as a husband and wife. (Companion urns are, further available in two main styles: divided or combined. Divided urns are designed with the intention that the two people’s remains will be stored in separate compartments. Combined urns, on the other hand, have one large compartment in which the urns of both people are combined together.)
Many urn styles are available in all three sizes, but, then again, many are not. Consumers are advised to check with their retailer about the availability of an urn they may see listed in one size category but would like to buy in a different size. It is often available directly from a manufacturer in a publicized size.

Styles and Materials

Once you have determined the use and size of your urn, it is time to begin considering your many options for style and material. The key to this step of selecting an urn is to not rule out any option too early. At any retailer’s website, you will likely come across hundreds (or maybe even thousands) of urns to choose from, and it’s best to spend a little time pursuing as many as you can before making a decision.
Urns are available in wood, marble, granite, glass, silver, bronze, clay and, in the case of biodegradable urns, even cloth. (And that’s just the start of the list of materials from which urns are made today.) And each of these materials has its own unique properties that affect the artistic features of the urn you will select.

Personalization Options

Many, if not most, urns available from the memorial products industry today can be outfitted with features that personalize the piece to suite the loved one it memorializes. Metal plaques can be attached to many urns announcing the name and important dates of the deceased and, in some cases, a personalized message can be engraved directly onto the surface of the urn itself. And, in still other cases, urns can be individually crafted by an artist following explicit instructions from the purchaser. In the case of glass urns, some manufacturers even offer a service whereby a family submits a small portion of the cremation remains which are then hand blown into the piece itself by the artist.
Personalization Options are available on far more urns that a consumer may realize, and, while they do add to the cost of the urn, the amount is rarely a prohibitive factor. Inquiring from one’s urn retailer about personalization options is usually a worthwhile endeavor.

Prices

This consideration we list last, but, for many wanting to remember their loved ones, it is the most important. It is important to remember that there is no shame or dishonor in being a frugal shopper for a cremation urn, and it should be pointed out that cremation urns are often some of the most reasonably priced memorial products available today. (Especially when compared to headstones and caskets.)
Prices literally range from less than $100 to more than $4,000. The least expensive urns are those stylist pieces that are most suitable for brief display at a funeral followed by burial or storage out of sight. And the most expensive urns are those that involve considerable artistic skill to create. Prices are also based on the quality – and sturdiness – of materials. Biodegradable cloth urns are typically among the least expensive available, and they are much less expensive, by far, than their bronze, or even hard wood, counterparts.
If you follow these guidelines as you search for the best urn for your loved one, it is certain that you will not go wrong in your final choice.

The Grieving Process

The grieving process is the name that the common name given to a psychological theory known to experts and scholars as the Kubeler-Ross model. Like all psychological models, this process is simply a set of guidelines that experts can use as a guide to counseling clients. It is not necessarily based on science but, rather, is based upon some observations made by psychologist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross who first introduced the theory in her famous book On Death And Dying in 1969. This article is a brief overview of the grieving process, how it was developed, and at least one of its competing alternatives.
The grieving process itself is often memorized in its entirety by counseling students and even lay people who desire to help their friends, acquaintances and loved ones who find themselves struggling with the loss of a loved one. Here are the famous stages with a brief explanation of each one.

Part 1
The first stage is Denial, the fooling of oneself into believing that the loss has not actually happened. The second stage of grieving is Anger, the rage that a grieving person expresses (very often at those who are trying to help) upon finally realizing the magnitude of the loss. The third stage is Bargaining, the period in which a person suffering from grief attempts to work deals (with loved ones or even God) that he or she believes will ease his or her suffering. The fourth stage is Depression, the lonely period of quiet suffering in which a person finally begins to truly process the grief. The final stage of the grieving process is Acceptance, the uplifting period in which a grieving person can finally be said to be “free” of grief. Taken together, the first letters of each of these stages adds up to the very familiar acronym DABDA. Many a college professor has ended emotionally wrenching lecture on these stages with a humorous note about the acronym. It seems that plenty of clever, funny rhymes can be found for this grief-formed word. Such humor may seem out of place in a discussion about helping others cope with the loss of a loved one but, in fact, experts uniformly declare that laughing, even at off-color or mildly blue humor, can be a good antidote to the negative affects of healing. When it comes to grieving, laughter really is, many experts and patients alike can testify, the best medicine.

Part 2
It is important to note that, while many people mistakenly believe this to be the case, these stages of the grieving process were never intended to be interpreted as being something that a person experiences in a linear time fashion. Rather, the grieving process is something that even experts describe as an emotional roller coaster. It is quite common, in fact, for a person suffering from the loss of his or her family member to legitimately be in the final stage of grieving – acceptance – for weeks immediately after the loss of a loved one and then to, suddenly, find himself or herself in one of the other stages that, literally speaking, are actually below the 5th stage of grief. Experts caution that novices who are tempting to help those in the grieving process that jumping from one stage to another like this is quite healthy and to be expected. In fact, at least one expert has written an entire book on the simple fact that , if a person does follow the grief stages in exact order, that could very well be a sign that the grieving person is just acting his grief for public benefit and that, internally, he or she is a psychological wreck who is experiencing the roller coaster of grief quite naturally, but without benefit of a true friend who can assist with the struggle.
An interesting bit of trivia about the development of the grieving process may also shed some light on how it works and how it should be used (and it has also led to the considerable criticism that has spawned alternative models that many psychologists employ). Kubler-Ross did not observe people who had suffered a recent loss of a loved one. Rather, in compiling her book, On Death and Dying, she spent a great deal of time carefully studying people who were suffering from terminal illness – in other words, she developed the stages of grief by documenting the final days of many people who were, themselves, dying. As trivial as this may sound to users of the grieving process, it actually can have a powerful affect – even comforting – especially if the person using the theory suffers from grieve over the loss of someone who battled a terminal illness for some time. This knowledge gives the person suffering with grief a means of identifying with the feelings that very likely were experienced by the deceased friend or loved one in his or her last days. And that can do wonders for the mental state of the griever. It has a way of putting the grieving family members spiritually in touch with the lost loved one and, with that, the loss may not feel so permanent after all.

Part 3
One big draw back to this story of the birth of the theory that led to the stages of grief, of course, is that it was developed by studying an entirely different class of people than those it is commonly used to help. As any beginning graduate student in just about any science based field knows, this is a dubious position for any theory to be in. And, given that position, it can be said to be nothing short of a miracle that so many people (perhaps millions) have claimed that understanding the stages of grief has helped them to persevere through difficult bouts of grief (some struggles take decades to see themselves through). Few other theories can have such a mismatch in their development and still be given such credit for healing. Further, it is very interesting to note that it is widely accepted, even by those who use the five stages of grief routinely in their professional practices, that the theory has never been adequately tested through the scientific process (and, if it was tested, it’s almost universally assumed that the theory would be quickly debunked. The previously mentioned discrepancy between how it was developed and how it is commonly used is almost enough to make that clear without even lifting a finger to plan a scientific study.) It is almost as if the grieving process should be thought of as a work of literature or philosophy rather than as a piece of science. Fortunately for the practitioners of counseling and psychology, however, literature and philosophy (combined, often, with theology) have led to many strategies that are successful with clients.
Nevertheless the scientific drawbacks of the grieving process have led to many alternative models that have, for their practitioners, proved just as helpful. One famous expert has shown – this time through scientific research – that most people who lose a loved one do not show much hint at what can be thought of as “grief.” Rather, his research shows, people tend to stay perpetually in the state that the process of grief would call “acceptance.” Resilience is another term that experts who prefer this later model often use. The model that has sprung from this line of thinking contends that grief simply does not exist and, therefore, there are no stages of grief. The process of grief, in that case, would be far less complicated and issues that might be confused as being caused by grief – such as lashing out at loved ones who are trying to help –would fall under the realm of some other psychological model, one that has nothing to do with the loss of a loved one.
While the book is still proverbially out on the grieving process, it has, indeed, been a tremendous help to people across the world for decades.