Cremated remains… what next?

We’re often asked about what happens to cremated remains following a funeral service.

We are very lucky to work with some excellent crematoriums and their professional staff, who treat every loved one with whom they deal with dignity and great care. They make sure that, after the cremation, the remains are very carefully gathered together and placed in a receptacle to await collection.

Sometimes families will pre-arrange for the remains to be scattered or interred at the crematorium itself, in which case the crematorium staff will do exactly that in a dignified and respectful manner. But many families request that their loved one’s cremated remains are picked up by our staff and returned to the branch office from which the service was arranged.

At the branch, all cremated remains are moved into the Sanctuary, our designated area specifically reserved for their respectful and safe storage. The branch staff will then call the family, or next of kin, and inform them that their loved one is ready to be picked up at their convenience.

We understand that for a great many people, picking up the ashes of their loved one is a significant event and can be challenging. Subsequently, it can take a while to prepare oneself, so we make clear that we’re more than happy to look after their loved one’s until they’re ready.

Some families, however, when the funeral is over, never manage to get round to dealing with their loved ones’ remains. In cases like these, we continue to look after the remains in our sanctuary. Some have been with us for years, as a result. For example, in our Colchester branch we have cremated remains which date from 1984 (the year we started the business).  Eventually, even these remains will need to be respectfully scattered or interred.

Once a family picks up the cremated remains, or gives instructions, there are lots of options, and all of our branches are very happy to discuss the possibilities and help to make them a reality.

Traditional scattering or interment – Ashes can be scattered with or without ceremony, at a location of choice. Many families will deal with scattering on their own behalf, but permission is usually necessary. In most other cases we will work with them to organise things. For example, there might be a church or graveyard where your loved one can be reunited with those who have died before them. We are very happy to help arrange for a suitable celebrant, minister, or priest, or even for one our professional funeral directors to serve you in that manner. If a more permanent memorial is required, or even an alteration to an existing one, the Hunnaball Memorial Department can advise and help.

Keeping your loved one – For some families, keeping the cremated remains of their loved one at home is an important part of their grieving process, often until some future date. Our branches can help in choosing and supplying a suitable urn or receptacle. There are other options too, with keepsakes such as paperweights, jewellery, and the like, which have become increasingly popular. We offer a wide range of urn and keepsake options.

Creative scattering – For those who want to do something different, there are any number of creative solutions with which to honour the memory of your loved one. There is the possibility of incorporating the cremated remains into a firework, floating the remains out to sea, and any number of other interesting and alternative ideas. Simply talk to someone in our branches and they will be very happy to help. 

You can leave it to us – We understand that some families simply find it too painful to deal with cremated remains. Please don’t worry about this; we are willing to scatter or bury the cremated remains on your behalf, with dignity and respect, so your loved one has an appropriate final resting place.

It is up to you – Of course, what happens to cremated remains is completely at the discretion of the loved ones or next of kin. No matter what happens next, cremated remains are always treated with the same respect, dignity, and care as any of those who are placed into our hands for safekeeping.

We understand that every person is loved and missed, and so we honour them as if they are our own family. To us, that is what being a family funeral director is all about.

If you have any further questions then please take the time to explore our website, or talk to your local branch.