Visit the National Memorial Arboretum
"Just put me in the bin" - Contemporary issues around ashes and bodies
On one of the hottest days of the summer, speakers from the church academia and funeral professionals addressed a marquee full of clergy, celebrants and a couple of cemetery managers (us).
Some interesting points we took away are: -
- Memorials are hugely important as places to go when there is no marked grave
- there will be 6.4 million deaths in the UK in the next decade
- Funerals are seen as difficult to organise. "In some ways we're so free but we're also a little bit lost" - Denise Inge
- Cremation is never the final rite - burial is final, cremation is the first stage...
- 80% of people now take the ashes away from the crematorium
- What you do with the ashes can be to fulfil the person's identity... Scatter them somewhere meaningful
- The place for the remains needs to have permanence
- Ashes stored at home are often found in wardrobes after house clearances
- Urns are surprisingly stolen in burglaries if the container appears valuable
- 'Direct Cremation' separates the farewell from the disposal of remains - this can help the 'flow' of a funeral when otherwise the gathering would be split and the family mourners can miss the wake
"A good funeral gets the dead where they need to go and the living where they need to be."