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Prayers, Poems, and Bible Verses to Read for a Cremation Funeral

Virginia Ash Memorials

Today, funerals can be adapted to a variety of formats. With a cremation funeral, people often choose to hold a memorial service or celebration of life separate from scattering ashes. These may be formal, such as in a church or hall. Or they may be informal, and take place in a location of special significance to family and friends. 

Regardless of location and format, it can be hard to know what to say. 

In this post, we provide several prayers, poems, and Bible verses that you can say at a cremation memorial service. 

Table of Contents

What to Say at a Cremation Funeral
Memorial Prayers
Poems to Say Goodbye
Bible Verses for Funerals

What to Say at a Cremation Funeral

A beautiful memorial speaks to the life of a person and their impact on the world around them. Often, it can be hard to summarize these sentiments in a single statement. Let the following prayers, poems, and Bible Verses inspire your heartfelt message.

Memorial Prayers

Each of these prayers can provide hope and comfort during a memorial ceremony. 

Protection Prayer by James Freeman

Protection Prayer 
By James Freeman
Source

The Light of God surrounds me. 
The Love of God enfolds me.
The Power of God protects me. 
The Presence of God watches over me.
The Mind of God guides me.
The Life of God flows through me.
The Laws of God direct me.
The Power of God Abides within me.
The Joy of God uplifts me.
The Strength of God renews me.
The Beauty of God inspires me. 
Wherever I am, God is!

Irish blessing for a memorial service

Irish Blessing
By Anonymous
Source

May the road rise to meet you, 
and the wind always be at your back. 
May the sun shine warm on your face 
and the rains fall softly on your fields. 
And until we meet again, 
may God hold you gently 
in the palm of his hand.

Sunny Skies poem for a cremation funeral

Sunny Skies
By Anonymous
Source

All sunny skies would be too bright, 
All morning hours mean too much light, 
All laughing days too gay a strain; 
There must be clouds, and night, and rain, 
And shut-in days, to make us see
The beauty of life’s tapestry.

Poems to Say Goodbye

Often, people choose to say goodbye to a loved one with a poem that recalls the impact of their life. 

A Poem to Read for a Cremation Funeral, If I should go

If I should Go
By Anonymous
Source

If I should go tomorrow
It would never be goodbye,
For I have left my heart with you,
So don’t you ever cry.
The love that’s deep within me,
Shall reach you from the stars,
You’ll feel it from the heavens,
And it will heal the scars.

Poem - Warm Summer Sun by Mark Twain

Warm Summer Sun
by  Mark Twain
Source

Warm summer sun,
Shine kindly here,
Warm southern wind,
Blow softly here.
Green sod above,
Lie light, lie light.
Good night, dear heart,
Good night, good night.

Poem - Robert Frost, Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nothing Gold Can Stay 
by Robert Frost
Source

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Bible Verses for Funerals

Often, Bible verses about life and the afterlife provide comfort during memorial services. 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 - For everything there is a season

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 (ESV)

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Psalm 23 - The Lord is my shepherd

Psalm 23 (ESV)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell  in the house of the Lord
forever.

Matthew 5:4 - Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Matthew 5:4 (ESV)

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Psalm 34:18 - The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Psalm 34:18 (ESV)

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Matthew 11:28 - Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11: 28-30 (ESV)

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

How to Say Goodbye During a Memorial Service

When the time comes, it can be difficult to say goodbye. The beauty of memorial services is that they give us a special moment to mark this transition. Your grief does not end with the ceremony, but your remembrance and honor of a well-lived life can begin there.

Graphic: What to Read During a Cremation Funeral Service

Our Ash Scattering Garden

At Rest Ashured, we help people say goodbye to their loved ones. Our property contains a cremation ash scatter garden overlooking the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and the James River. 

For those looking for a place to put the ashes of their loved ones to rest, we offer an unattended ash scattering ceremony

First, we ship you a special package with the appropriate containers. You can place it in the mail through your local post office. (We also provide personal pickup for an additional fee.) 

When we receive the ashes, we scatter them reverently on our mountaintop garden. We also place an engraved memorial stone at the site. Finally, we send you a keepsake Certificate of Release, noting the date and location of the placement. 

We’re here to make the process as smooth as possible. If you are interested in our scatter garden, please get in touch with us by calling 434-534-4007 or emailing us at info@restashured.com.

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Important Steps to Take After the Loss of a Loved One

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Photo of 32 Things You Must Do After Someone Dies
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Whether a loved one’s death is sudden or expected, many people are overwhelmed by the process of facilitating their departure. You will need to determine their final wishes and do your best to honor their memory. This includes personal details like arranging their memorial as well as practical processes like initiating probate.  If you’re working with a funeral planning service, this list prepares you for the documents they’ll need.

Steps to Take When a Loved One Dies

After your loved one passes away, access their living quarters. Try to find important documents such as a last testament and will, financial documents, and other important records. These will help you as you go through the process.

As Soon as Possible

Each of these tasks must be done as soon as possible.

1. Get a Pronouncement of Death

A pronouncement of death is a ritual performed at the time of someone’s passing. If the family is present, the pronouncement gives permission to grieve. In a hospital setting, this is usually performed by the doctor or nurse providing care. If someone dies outside a hospital, an EMT, firefighter, or police officer may declare death. 

This individual records the time and it becomes the official time of death on their certificate. This is an important legal step that begins the process of putting someone to rest.

2. Arrange for Organ Donation

Medical professionals at a hospital will identify a potential candidate for donation. If appropriate, they will approach you about your loved one’s status. When your loved one has registered as an organ donor, you will be notified at the appropriate time. If they are not registered, you will be asked to provide consent. This happens in the hospital and the donation coordinator will assist you during the process. 

Learn More about How Organ Donation works at organdonor.gov/about/process.

3. Notify Friends and Family

This notification usually takes two forms. First, an information notification happens immediately when you contact your family and friends. Most people call text, or email with an initial update. 

Later, most people choose to send a formal message. Below are a few decisions you’ll need to make. 

  • Choose a Medium: Most people write a post on social media, send an email, mail a letter.
  • Express sympathy: Your message should contain an expression of sympathy for everyone’s loss. 
  • Declare Details: Include important details about how your loved one passed and how their life will be memorialized.

See Sample Letters and Messages HERE. This should be sent to anyone who should be notified before a formal obituary.

4. Arrange Care of Dependents and Pets

Often, a person expresses their wishes for dependents and pets in a living will. If they have not, you’ll need to contact the appropriate organizations to arrange their care.

  • For Children: If the child has no other legal guardian, your state’s child protective services. They will work with you to arrange care.  
  • For Other Dependents: If your loved one leaves behind an adult dependent, you must contact your state’s adult protective services. They will assist you with the arrangements.
  • For Pets: Your local humane society can assist you with rehoming a pet. 

5. Call Your Loved One’s Employer

Contact your loved one’s Human Resources department to let them know of their death. You can call or send an email. They will ask you for additional information for their records. 

6. Secure Large Property (eg: house, car)

Depending on the circumstances, you may need to secure your loved one’s large property. Make sure their car is parked in an appropriate and safe location. Check their house to make sure the doors and windows are locked. Also, make a note of who has additional keys and decide if they should still have access to these areas. 

7. Decide What you Will Do With the Remains

Your loved one’s living will may provide insight into what they would like to do with their remains. Some people provide explicit instructions and may have even pre-paid for a funeral planning service. If so, follow their instructions and contact the appropriate service providers.

If your loved one did not plan, you will need to choose between several options, including:

  • Ground Burial
  • Water Burial
  • Cremation

8. Arrange for Transportation of the Body

Depending on your choice, you will need to direct the remains from the morgue to the appropriate funeral planning service provider. This might be a funeral home, a crematorium, or a mausoleum. 

Within a Few Days

These tasks must be finished within a few days of your loved one’s passing.

9. Arrange for a Funeral or Burial

Now that you have chosen the method of your memorial, you’ll need to work with your service provider to arrange for a funeral or burial. You’ll need to decide on the location for the memorial service and where you are putting the remains to rest. 

  • If you are doing a ground burial, you will work with a funeral home. They can hold the services at their location and help you with interment in a cemetery. You can also work with them to hold the service at another location (like a church) and transfer the body to the cemetery. In the U.S. these services usually take place 3 to 7 days after death. If you choose a natural or green burial, the timeline is shorter.
  • If you are doing a water burial, you’ll need to work with a service provider that performs these ceremonies. Typically, they are held on a ship and the remains are buried in the ocean as part of the ceremony. These follow a similar timeline as a funeral but are dependent on the weather.
  • If you are cremating your loved one, you can ask a funeral home or a crematorium to perform the service. Often, this is called a direct cremation. Then, you can choose to hold a memorial service with the funeral home or plan one yourself. With cremation, you do have some extra time to arrange a service.

10. Order a Casket, Urn, or Scattering Service

You must choose the appropriate vessel for your loved one’s remains. If you are doing a ground or water burial, you will need to order a casket. The funeral home or another service provider can help you order this. If you choose cremation, you can order an urn or simply use the box provided by the crematorium. Most of the time, people order an urn if they plan to display their loved one’s remains for some time. If you are scattering them shortly after the cremation, you can keep them in the original packaging.

11. Get their Mail Forwarded

Forward your loved one’s mail through the US Postal Service at https://www.usps.com/manage/mail-for-deceased.htm. They have a simple online form that takes you through several steps. 

Also, you should contact DMAchoice.org to register them on the Deceased Do Not Contact List (DDNC). Within 3 months of registering, advertising mail should decrease.

12. Check Home for Plants or Expired Food

Even if you visited your loved one’s home to find important documents, you should return to check on perishable items. Check their refrigerator and cabinets for items that can expire. Consider donating the other items to a food distribution charity if you are able. 

Also, look for any plants and take them with you. These steps avoid attracting pests to the empty living space. 

13. Check with Fraternal Services or Military

If your loved one was part of the military or any fraternal services, notify them of your loved one’s passing. They will let you know if any special ceremonies and honors can be bestowed upon your loved one.  Additionally, the Military or fraternal organizations often assist with the cost of a service or burial. 

14. Write an Obituary

If you choose to place a formal obituary in the newspaper, you should write it before the wake. According to Legacy.com, these cost between $100 – $800. The price depends on the length of the obituary and the chosen publication. Alternative options include: 

  • Funeral Home Website: Many funeral homes allow you to post a copy of your loved one’s obituary on their website. 
  • Social media: Social media platforms provide another, less-formal option to leave an obituary message. Many friends choose to interact by leaving comments.

Leading Up to the Wake

As you plan the funeral, wake, or memorial service, you’ll need to facilitate each of these tasks.

15. Establish Financial Needs

Common costs related to a funeral planning service include the cost of burial or cremation, the vessel, and legal paperwork. Additionally, you may choose to include memorial programs, floral arrangements, printed photos, and other displays. Celebrations surrounding the service may require catering and a venue. Create a budget and determine if there are costs that aren’t covered by your loved one’s estate.

16. Choose Participants

You’ll need to decide on a format for a memorial service. Typically, someone leads the service and introduces each person to speak. This may be the funeral director or a religious advisor. Even if you have a time when anyone can speak, someone will need to facilitate the transition between speakers. Plan who will participate in the ceremony. 

17. Set a Schedule

You’ll likely have a limited amount of time to spend at your service. Plan how you will fill that time of remembrance by setting a schedule. This helps direct people through the ceremony and any special moments of remembrance.

18. Order Programs and Flowers

If you are working with a funeral home or another service provider, they can help coordinate programs and flowers. You’ll need to decide the details with their assistance. 

If you are arranging the memorial service yourself, you’ll need to order these and plan delivery.

19. Coordinate Food and Drinks

Often, people have a meal as part of awake. You’ll need to choose the venue for the meal and plan the food. Some choose to cater the event. Others may plan a potluck for a close-knit community. 

20. Tell Loved Ones About the Service

Once you have planned the service, you should send clear instructions to anyone who would want to attend. This includes friends, family, and other mourners. Sometimes, people differentiate between the different parts of the mourning process and only invite those closest to the deceased to the intimate parts like a graveside service. 

Within a Few Weeks

After the ceremony, you’ll need to finalize these important details.

21. Order a Headstone

If you are burying your loved one, you may order a headstone after they are interred. This serves as a permanent marker. Often, people have another small, private moment of remembrance when the headstone is installed. If you are scattering your loved one’s ashes in a garden, you may put a marker in that area.

22. Get at Least 5-10 Copies of the Death Certificate

As you are settling your loved one’s estate, you’ll need several copies of their death certificate. Order many copies to avoid reordering later. 

You can order these through your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or Department of Health. Most states have online forms on an option to visit their offices.

23. Start the Will Probate Process

Probate is the legal process of administering a person’s estate after their death. If the deceased has a last will and testament, probate confirms that the will is legally valid and executes the written instructions. If the deceased did not write a will, the probate court will consult your state’s intestate laws. These laws vary from state to state. A lawyer can guide you through either process.

24. Talk to Financial Benefit Organizations

This may include stocks, bonds, retirement benefits, or social security. Go through the deceased records to find out the entitlements their loved ones may be able to collect.

25. Notify Banks and Insurance Companies

To notify your loved one’s bank of their death, you can visit their office or their website. Most banks have an online form where you can start the process. They’ll need to verify the death and help close the accounts. 

Similarly, you must notify insurance companies of your loved one’s death. They will verify the death and determine who receives benefits. 

26. Contact an Accountant

In addition to a lawyer, you’ll want to use an accountant to help close out your loved one’s finances. They can guide you through the taxes necessary to settle their estate.

27. Notify Pension Services

If your loved one had a pension, you’ll need to notify them as well. They’ll confirm the death and facilitate any financial benefits. 

28. Cancel Insurance and Utilities

Cancel the insurance and utilities that are no longer necessary. If your loved one owned a property, you may need to keep some of these accounts active to keep the property safe.

29. Find and Pay Important Bills

As you’re closing out your loved one’s account, you’ll need to settle any outstanding bills. Use this as another opportunity to close out their accounts. 

30. Close Credit Cards and Notify Credit Reporting Services

Close all of the deceased’s credit cards to protect their accounts. Also, notify credit reporting services. Equifax provides simple instructions for protecting credit after death HERE.

31. Cancel Driver’s License

Contact your local DMV to cancel the deceased driver’s license. You’ll need a copy of their death certificates and any license plates in their name. 

32. Close or Memorialize Social Media and Email Accounts

Social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook can be closed or memorialized after death.

If you need to close out an email account, submit a support form from their email account to their email provider.

Download our Checklist

Photo of Steps to Take When a Loved One Dies

Although this list may seem overwhelming, you can work through these tasks slowly over the weeks following your loved one’s departure. This document contains printable checklists to make the unthinkable a little bit easier.

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Burial or Cremation

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Funeral Planning

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Planning for your death may necessitate some extremely difficult and uncomfortable decisions—and one of the most challenging aspects of funeral planning is the choice between being buried or cremated upon demise.

While you cannot rely on others to make this determination for you, you can certainly take some factors into consideration to make the selection easier.

Religion

The first thing you have to consider is your religious beliefs. In most cases, the choice between cremation and burial will be determined by the religion you adhere to, as many religions have an already accepted practice of disposition. Some religions require cremation while others forbid it.

Cost

Like all the other important decisions of life, one of the most important factors to consider when choosing between burial and cremation is how much money one is willing to spend. Cremations can be quite economical, while a traditional burial, with a casket, headstone, embalming, and grave purchase, can be very expensive.

Eco-friendliness

People who have cared about the environment all their life, would want their disposition to happen in an environmentally friendly way as well. Cremations are far less damaging to the environment than burial as burial entails the use of a number of highly toxic chemicals in the embalming process. Furthermore, when buried, people also take a spot on the earth forever. You must also consider that the machines used to dig graves and non-biodegradable coffins may contribute to a larger carbon footprint.

That’s not to say that all cremation methods are completely safe for the environment. A recent method of cremation such as alkaline hydrolysis is a water-based chemical resolving process that can harm the environment.

After

Perhaps the most important factor to consider when choosing between burial and cremation is where people want their remains to be kept. In burial, people have the ability to choose a graveyard that is near to their family and loved ones, so that they can be buried adjacent to their family. On the other hand, with cremation, people can opt for a number of options to have their ashes spread in a place that has important sentimental value to them. They can also have their ashes contained in an urn. This way their ashes can move with their family, or even be incorporated into objects such as jewelry, enabling their loved ones to have them close to their hearts at all times.

Burial or cremation? However you want your body to be finally disposed of, you must first let your loved ones know in writing to ensure your wishes are met. Remember that it is a very personal decision and should only be resolved with careful consideration.

If you or a loved one has chosen cremation, Rest Ashured is available to talk with you about the final steps.

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Traveling With Ashes

plane taking off at sunset

What to know if you’re Traveling with Ashes

There may come a time when you need to travel with ashes. Whether you are moving, trying to spread them somewhere, or simply transporting them, you may need to look into flight policies to discover the best way to move them. 

When doing so, it is important to know the regulations of taking cremated remains on planes, and which companies are more open to it.

Issues for Cremated Remains on Planes

Most containers for ashes, urns, are made out of breakable glass. The TSA recommends that you use cardboard or wooden containers on planes though to avoid breakage. This will also guarantee that the urns can be scanned. Urns that are made out of glass may also contain lead, which makes them impossible to X-ray. If this is the case, the urns will not be allowed on the plane.

However, if you cannot find another way to store the remains, make sure you show up earlier than you normally would. Hopefully, this will give you time to work out any issues with a glass urn before your flight.

Airfare Companies on Cremated Remains

It is also important to know which companies are more open to having cremated remains on their planes. United, Spirit, U.S. Airways, American, and Frontier all allow cremated remains on their planes without any stipulations. Whereas Southwest, Jet Blue, and Delta have a few requirements. Most of these requirements are simply getting permission to carry the remains in advance or making sure it is carry-on luggage, but if you want more information you should consult the companies’ online policies.

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The Rise In Popularity Of Cremation

Urn for memorial service

Why Cremation is a Great Alternative to Burials

People are increasingly choosing to be cremated rather than having a traditional burial. As a matter of fact, Time magazine reported that people were choosing to be cremated 49% of the time in 2015, compared to only 45% who chose traditional burials. This is because in many ways cremation is more advantageous.

There are variety of reasons why cremation may be appealing. For one, it costs less than traditional burials. Traditional burials can cost many thousands of dollars. This is because burials require land that has to be bought, a more expensive handling process, and the arrangements can be pricy. However, cremation can sometimes cost just a few hundred dollars. This is much more manageable, and does not put undue stress on grieving families who may struggle to cover the expenses of a traditional burial.

Cremation can also reduce strain on the environment. Traditional burials require a lot of land, which means that land cannot be used for other purposes. With rising populations, it may become necessary for people to choose cremation, as traditional burials may become too costly.

Cremation Offers more Variety in Ceremonies

Many cremation services can help spread ashes in a variety of ways. Some offer a variety of locations; mountains, parks, and bodies of water are just some examples of locations. Cremators can also fly ashes to locations of your choosing, and aerial scattering is also an option.