Of the many benefits of cremation, one of the most notable is the romantic notion of scattering the ashes. Many people begin to plan their memorial services in their head early on and imagine having a loved one scatter their ashes across their favorite landscape, on top of a mountain, or even cast at sea. Poetic as this gesture may be, a new survey from California and Washington funeral providers shows that more people are choosing to keep their ashes in the home. According to the survey, one in five people are storing ashes in their home. More often than not, these family members are storing the ashes of their parents in their house. A smaller percentage of people choose to keep the ashes of their spouse in the home. It’s an interesting divide that points to different preferences we have when it comes to memorializing some of the people closest to us.

Of all those who keep ashes in their homes, 54 percent said they kept the ashes of their parents. When asked, they said they wanted to keep the memories of their parents close to home. Though many choose to keep the ashes in an urn and stored in a place of honor in the house, many turn their backyards into private memorials.

“Having the remains in a memorial in their own yard is the ideal solution. It provides a sense of permanence and respect and maintains that feeling of closeness, but it can be moved if they change residences or want to eventually place it in a cemetery,” explained David Montgomery, a private family memorial specialist in a press release for the survey.

For many, though, the decision to keep their loved one’s ashes at home is an easy one. When asked, 30 percent of respondents said they weren’t aware of all the memorial options available to them. For instance, ashes can be stored in a granite bench or a pedestal and placed in a cemetery. Urns can also be placed in a columbarium niche or even buried. Storing ashes at home is a great way to honor a loved one amongst your family, but it makes it difficult for others to visit and remember them. Keeping ashes, no matter the vessel, in a public place also makes it easy for future generations to pay their respects.

The results of this survey explain several things about our attitudes towards death. First, we’re increasingly becoming comfortable with the idea of cremation. According to the survey, 85 percent of all respondents said they had personally arranged a cremation at some point in their life. Second, we overwhelmingly realize the importance of honoring our family members by keeping their memory close.
Perhaps most important, though, is our willingness to think ahead about death. There are many who choose cremation as a part of their preplanning. It’s also important, however, to plan ahead for how future generations will remember us when they leave this earth. Would it mean more to your family to be kept in your home or in a public facility?

If you’ve yet to begin thinking ahead about your end-of-life plans, call the Philadelphia Cremation Society today. They’ll be able to answer any questions you may have about preplanning your cremation or storage options. If you’ve recently lost a loved one, the Philadelphia Cremation Society provides low-cost direct cremation as well. Call one of their caring and compassionate representatives today at (610) 572-7078.