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Funeral Scattering Ceremonies - Meaningful and Inexpensive

Updated on February 28, 2013

Keepsake Cremation Memorial Urns

Sphere Urn Keepsakes will hold a portion of the ashes, with a brass closure for engaving name, dates, and a few thoughtful words.
Sphere Urn Keepsakes will hold a portion of the ashes, with a brass closure for engaving name, dates, and a few thoughtful words. | Source

Funeral Memorial Services are Evolving

Grief experts agree that a funeral memorial ceremony of some kind is an extremely important touchstone in the process of properly saying goodbye to a loved one, and beginning the healing. But how we conduct the funeral ceremony is changing. Alternative funeral services are evolving along with the aging demographic of the boomers, who are personalizing funeral ceremonies as never before, and rebranding dour funerals as inspiring Life Celebrations.

Not long ago, a clergy-led funeral service followed by a traditional graveside burial was the only option in North America. Recently though, if family members have not been regular church-goers, they will sometimes choose to sidestep inviting a clergy member whom their loved one didn't necessarily know, and ask a family friend or a Life Celebrant instead to lead the funeral ceremony. And cremation has been increasing in popularity exponentially - in 1985, only 15% of deaths in the United States resulted in cremation; by 2007 this grew to 35%. CANA, the Cremation Association of North America, predicts 45% of Americans will choose cremation by 2015, and that by 2025 cremations will account for 55% of funeral disposition choices. Part of the reason for the increase in cremations is that it is much less expensive than traditional burial.

The funeral service is very important to the long term emotional wellbeing of those grieving, even if they don't realize it in their state of distress at the time of dealing with a death in the family. But the cost of the service may be daunting.

Some families are choosing to remedy the cost issue by instead scattering their loved one's ashes in a highly personalized scattering ceremony in a location that holds meaning for them and their loved one, with the option of retaining only a portion of the ashes in a small keepsake memorial. A scattering ceremony can be very intimate and highly meaningful. It can be limited to only immediate family members, or it can include close friends as well. It can be a stand-alone service, or it can be a follow-up to a larger gathering, such as a home gathering or a service organized in a community hall.

I often have the privilege of talking with people about their wishes for a memorial service, and if they have chosen scattering, of course I advise them to assign a family member or friend to check that the chosen location allows scattering. I also offer that many cemeteries have beautiful scattering gardens available at a small cost, if perhaps a meaningful location is quite a distance away, or maybe because it would be comforting to all extended family and firends to have a garden which they could visit whenever they wish. And if the family is looking for a small keepsake cremation urn with which to create a memorial in their home, I guide them to my keepsake urns at

A meaningful and inspiring funeral can be conducted for as little as the cost of cremation only, or if it is comforting, with the added cost of a small memorial keepsake. Most importantly, a scattering ceremony can afford the closure needed for loved ones to begin their healing process.

Barbara Bergen is a designer of inspiring cremation urns and keepsakes at


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