If you are planning a traditional funeral for a loved one, you may be asked what kinds of personal effects you’d like to have buried with the deceased. Today’s caskets come equipped with drawers and special pockets designed for things like jewelry and other mementos, making it easy and elegant to bury the deceased with their favorite items. You can also place items directly into the casket, where they can be near the deceased as he or she is entered into the ground.
Why Bury Personal Items?
Burying the deceased with personal tokens is nothing new. Ancient Egyptians are most noted for filling the tombs of royalty with valuable gold and jewels, though there have been several cultures since then with similar practices. While many of these cultures believed burying items would make them available in the afterlife, it was also a way to grieve and say goodbye. There is something very therapeutic about placing a person’s worldly goods in the ground with them.
Of course, it’s important to think long and hard before you place anything in a casket. While items are retrievable at a future date, the process of getting the right paperwork to dig up a casket and the costs associated with it make it not very ideal. Family heirlooms, expensive jewelry, and other irreplaceable items are not be good candidates for burial.
So What Should I Put in the Casket?
What you bury with your loved one is entirely up to you. Some of the more popular items include:
- Family photographs
- Wedding rings, other personal jewelry
- Favorite books
- Personal journals or travel diaries
- Diplomas or awards
- Medals of honor
- Religious icons/symbols
- Toys or dolls
- Ashes of a loved one who perished earlier
- Sports memorabilia
Because most of these items belonged to the deceased, they have a personal touch that can’t be duplicated. However, they might also carry deep meaning for you, so letting them go can be difficult. You might also find that other family members have objections to items of interest being disposed of in this way.
One way to avoid this kind of dilemma is to purchase items solely for placing in the casket. Making duplicates of photographs or diplomas can keep some of the problems at bay, but you can also look to buying new jewelry or flowers (especially single blooms, which can be placed one by one inside the casket).
Items for Cremation
In many cases, these items can also be included in a casket or shroud being prepared for cremation. Some restrictions related to putting toxins in the air (or having dangerous items being burned) do exist, so you should always check with the cremation officials or funeral director before you place anything inside.