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Ashes To Ashes: Ceramic Funerary Urns

By Linda Ruiz

In the midst of the psychological mayhem and household upheaval that death brings about, people might lose sight of essential practical implications that are associated with it. One of these is the burial of the deceased person, and it is when people start to plan this that they discover the substantial cost involved. Nowadays, it is not unusual for people to cremate their loved ones. This involves no disrespect to the dead, and it is not as burdensome financially either. The remaining ashes can then be buried or taken home in ceramic funerary urns.

The expense incurred through physical burial is the result of several factors. First, there is the outlay on the tombstone, which is large. Second, local authorities are increasingly unenthusiastic about allowing permanent graves, since their graveyards are either entirely occupied or near to that. Graves have tariffs, and sometimes the older ones are exhumed and re-used.

Another factor is that the grave has to be maintained. Relatives do not necessarily want to participate in the grave site's continuous upkeep, or they are not always able to. Abandoning the grave of a loved one is not a wholesome prospect, since graveyards are notorious targets for vandalism and unsightly neglect. These are offensive to the dead person's memory.

Cremation, on the other hand, is a far simpler procedure. It is relatively quick, and it is cheaper. Since the remaining ashes pose no threat to hygiene, the family is allowed to do with them as they please. Some people issue specific instructions in this regard, such as casting the ashes into the sea or some other place of sentimental value.

If the deceased has not left behind any such instructions, people often keep the ashes in an urn. The design of the urn can then be incorporated into the overall process of tribute to the relative. An urn can be made in any design or have any decoration, so it is a personalized memento of the person whose ashes it holds.

If the deceased had a favourite sports team, the urn can be designed and painted to show that interest. This makes these urns material for artistic expression, with the input of the relatives, and they are also relatively inexpensive. The urn then turns into a personal and very positive tribute to the dead person and their personality.

There are also stories of people who have used the urns for other purposes, besides their primary one of storing the ashes. The ash is worth nothing financially, so other high-value assets are sometimes hidden in them. Where the urn is indeed a source of conflict in a family, such as when there is an argument as to who should keep it, relatives might substitute the deceased's ash with the ordinary ash of something else, such as incinerated newspapers.

Such levity aside, the death of a family member is recognised by psychologists as the hardest personal experience that anyone ever has to deal with. Urns allow people to put a more personal stamp on the official process of cremation and mourning. They are also more accessible to those who cannot easily sponsor a grave and tombstone. Therefore, price does not have be yet another negative aspect of an already unhappy situation.

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