Timesharing the Family Urn
One reason for choosing cremation over burial is that you are left with a tangible memento of your loved one. Although many people choose to scatter or bury the ashes, just as many take them home in a commemorative urn to be placed in a mantle or otherwise cherished.
However, when a family is large (or when there are several family members who all want the honor of keeping the cremains), difficulties may arise. Who gets to choose the urn? Who gets to place it in their home? And what if everyone does not agree?
Dividing the Cremains
One way to handle this type of dilemma is to divide the cremains amongst family members. The average adult provides around five pounds of ashes, and there are no rules regarding how you split them up. Smaller, commemorative urns exist so that everyone can take a part of the deceased home (and in a vessel that matches their aesthetic and décor), and you can also opt for garden-friendly boxes or even unique cremation ideas like coral reef burial.
In most cases, there will be no extra funeral costs for this service, with the exception of additional urns or cremation receptacles.
The problem with this option is that some families feel strongly against dividing the remains. Whether for religious, cultural, or personal reasons, there may be a strong desire to keep the cremated remains intact and in one place.
Sharing an Urn
When this happens, your best option is to share the urn amongst family members. Because urns tend to be small and lightweight, they can be carried from place to place fairly easily. It is possible to pass the urn along every few months, every few years, or according to another schedule set by you and your family.
Of course, this does take quite a bit of trust and advance planning. Although there are airtight and very durable urns, there are also ceramic ones and other delicate pieces that might not work well in a home with, say, a large family with young children.
If you and your loved ones are interested in dividing the cremated remains of a relative, it’s a good idea to sit down with the funeral director during the initial funeral planning stages. Although the next of kin or executor to the estate will be the one to make final decisions (unless otherwise specified in the will), it is possible to come to agreeable terms that everyone can accept.
Timesharing an urn might seem like something out of a movie, but when it comes to grief and bereavement there is no wrong way to approach the subject. Whether by dividing the remains into parcels or erecting the urn in a garden or memorial spot where everyone is welcome to visit, sharing cremains is not nearly as difficult as you might think.
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By Amy Johnson