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Honoring Cremation Ashes Ideas

Holding Hands

Choosing how to put our loved one’s ashes to rest can feel overwhelming. There are many ideas for honoring cremation ashes — from creating jewelry to keeping them in an urn. Many people decide to pick a place to scatter ashes because it creates a place to visit in the future. 

Table of Contents

Scatter Atop a Mountain Garden
Plant a Memorial Tree 
Scatter Ashes at Sea 

Years ago, we were presented with this same situation. We wanted to honor our loved one through scattering. Yet we also wanted a place where we could visit and reflect. It needed to be somewhere special, beautiful, and most importantly, someplace that would be preserved over time. 

Cremation Ashes Ideas

After a memorial service, you can wait any length of time before deciding to scatter your loved one’s ashes. Many people even keep ashes in their homes for years while they mourn. Whenever you’re ready, scattering the ashes allows you a final moment of closure and a place to visit for reflection. We recommend choosing a scattering option that aligns best with the memories you have with your loved one.

Scatter Atop a Mountain Garden

Many people like the idea of scattering their loved one’s remains in a place they can visit from time to time. Ideally, it’s someplace registered for that purpose — and will be preserved over time. Scatter gardens are a wonderful option because they are filled with beauty and life. 

At Rest Ashured, we’ve actually created such a place in the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Our scatter garden is a beautiful site with breathtaking views, abundant wildlife, and carefully-kept memorials. If you choose this service, you send the ashes to us through the mail. Then, we reverently scatter them on our mountaintop garden. Finally, we place an engraved memorial stone at the site and send a certificate of release. 

Although we keep the property closed to preserve the landscape, we open it twice a year for our days of celebration. During these days, we invite people to come and visit their loved one’s scattering sites. Visitors find it’s a meaningful time to pause, remember, and reflect.

Plant a Memorial Tree

Many people prefer the symbolism of planting a tree in memory of a loved one. Trees represent hope because of the way they grow from a small sapling into a beautiful tree. As they say, “Every gardener is an optimist.” 

As a resting place, a memorial tree celebrates a life well-lived by thriving in nature. Each year, as the tree grows taller, the memorial grows too. The tall trunk and long branches will point heavenward as a reminder of your loved one’s new home. 

We also provide this tree memorial service on our property. Similar to the scattering garden, we receive your loved one’s ashes through the mail. Then, we prepare a site for a new tree — scattering the ashes during the planting process. After planting, we place a stone at the base of the tree and send a certificate of release. 

The memorial trees are also available for visitation during the days of celebration. Our visitors enjoy seeing the tree grow from year to year.

Scatter Ashes at Sea

The ocean holds a special meaning for many people. Many people scatter ashes in the sea when the person has served in the Navy, Coast Guard, or Marines. Others choose it as a final resting place for fishermen. Many families like to choose a seaside close to a favorite vacation spot — where they spent quality time with their loved one. 

Burial at sea is legal as long as you abide by the EPA guidelines. This means you’ll need to be at least 3 nautical miles offshore and file appropriate paperwork. We recommend choosing a scattering service that is familiar with these guidelines and operates in compliance with the regulations. Then you are free to focus on your family and friends during the scattering ceremony. 

At Rest Ashured, we offer two types of burial at sea: attended and unattended. Attended ceremonies allow the family and friends to journey with the remains on a boat to the scattering location. Unattended ceremonies take place without the family or friends present.

During these ceremonies, the boat captain navigates to the appropriate location for scattering. At that spot, we respectfully scatter the remains. Afterward, the boat captain ensures that the proper paperwork is filed with the EPA. 

Honor Cremation Ashes with Rest Ashured

Our experiences with scattering ashes have shown us how much people need a personal way to say goodbye. Often, we hear that our clients plan their own ceremony, complete with readings and music to honor the life of their loved ones. They may hold it in a religious building, an informal venue, or even in a location that their loved one adored. After their special ceremony, they appreciate our simple and respectful process — where we scatter cremation ashes in our scattering garden in an unattended ceremony. From the actual memorial ceremony to the final goodbye when they send us their loved one’s ashes, our clients appreciate the personal touch offered by a memory garden.

Our advice? Select whatever works best for you from these cremation ashes ideas.

Get in Touch with Us

Our ash scattering services are a labor of love. We are honored by each scattering and help people say goodbye with dignity and respect. If you have any questions about our services, please get in touch with us. Call 434-534-4007 or email us at info@restashured.com.

Loss & Grief - Ideas for honoring cremation ashes
Loss & Grief – Ideas for honoring cremation ashes
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What to Do with Cremated Remains After A Loved One Has Passed

People Hugging

When a loved one passes away, events move quickly. You have a lot of decisions to make and it can feel overwhelming. If you have a will to reference, that makes it easier. If not, you have several critical decisions to make about how to put your loved one to rest. 

One comfort of cremation is that you can wait to decide what to do with your loved one’s remains. Then, when you’re ready, you can choose how to say goodbye.

Table of Contents

Is it Bad to Keep Cremated Ashes at Home?
Tips for Transferring Ashes to an Urn
How to Put Human Ashes to Rest?
Tips for Scattering Cremated Remains

Many people have questions about how to properly care for ashes after receiving them from the crematorium. Thankfully, you can move on your own timeline as you process the grief and celebrate the life of your loved one. In this article, we explain how to transfer ashes, how to properly store ashes, and how to scatter them when you’re ready. 

Is it bad to keep cremated ashes at home?

Many people wonder, “Is it bad to keep cremated ashes at home?” At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice. There are no U.S. laws prohibiting storage of human ashes in your home. Some people worry about religious consequences, or even paranormal activity when they choose to keep an urn with ashes in their house. In essence, the decision is rooted in your own beliefs about the afterlife and the constraints of your spiritual practices. 

When you receive ashes from a crematorium, they usually give them to you in a plastic bag. This is often placed inside a temporary container made of card stock or a similar temporary material. If you want to keep the ashes at home for a period of time, an urn gives you a reliable vessel to store and transport the remains

Tips for Transferring Ashes to an Urn

  1. Ensure the container is big enough before you transfer. Most adult’s ashes weigh between 4 to 8 lbs.
  2. You may need someone to help you with the transfer. They can hold the container to keep it steady. 
  3. Place your container on a flat, stable surface. Choose a surface you can easily wipe clean. 
  4. When you’re ready, cut a small hole in the corner of the bag. This will help you pour them softly into the new container. 
  5. If your container is narrow, you may need a funnel to facilitate the process.
  6. At the end, there may be larger elements to add. Carefully cut open the bag to make this easier to transfer. 

After you’re done, make sure the container is properly sealed. This helps prevent any spilling and creates a stable environment inside the container. 

Displays and Memorials

Once you have transferred the ashes, you can choose to display them or put them away. Common display areas include a fireplace mantle, a shelf or bookcase, or a prominent table in your living area. If you prefer to store them discreetly, a cupboard or wardrobe provides a safe area. Sometimes, people pick a spot in the home where the loved one used to spend time — such as a bedroom or office.

Many people choose to decorate the area with mementos, photographs and messages to the deceased. It can become a personal space for reflecting on the life of the person who has passed.

Of course, you should always consider the wishes of the deceased as expressed in their will. If they haven’t expressed their wishes, it can be harder to decide what to do. Many people keep ashes for a period of time after cremation — about one in five people choose to store ashes in their home

For those who choose to keep them, it’s often parents (about 54%). When asked why in a survey, many people (about 30%) explained they were not sure what their options would be to scatter or memorialize remains. 

Some people also find that they feel like their loved one is nearby during the mourning process when they keep the remains in their home. Then, when they’re ready, they look for an appropriate place to release the ashes and say a final goodbye. 

How to put human ashes to rest?

One key benefit of choosing to scatter cremated remains in a memorial? It creates a place for future generations to visit. In fact, that’s often the appeal of putting ashes to rest in a memorial or scattering garden. It takes the burden of keeping the ashes off of an individual and places them in a location where any loved one can visit.

Tips for Scattering Cremated Remains

If you choose to scatter your loved one’s remains, you follow the laws for scattering ashes. These are predominantly enforced and managed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In general, you cannot scatter in public or private areas without permission. Unless it is your own property, you must check the location beforehand to ensure you’re complying with local laws. 

One of the benefits of choosing a private scattering garden is that it has been prepared and registered for that purpose. So, you know that your loved one’s memorial will be preserved through time (unlike a public park or a residential area). 

After you choose a scattering location and get the appropriate permission, you should plan for the following:

  1. Decide if the scattering will be attended or unattended. 
  2. If you choose to attend the scattering, find out if you can say something during the memorial. Often, people like to recite a prayer, poem or Bible verse.
  3. If you choose to send your ashes for scattering, find out what the process is for verifying the scattering. 
  4. Plan for the fees. Most memorial sites have some fees for the scattering services and reserving the space. 
  5. After the scattering, you’ll need to mark the location. Memorial stones and memorial trees are popular choices.
  6. Find out if you can visit at a later date. Many people find comfort in this ritual.

If you have more questions about how to plan an Ash Scattering Ceremony, download this guide: https://restashured.com/comprehensive-guide-to-ash-scattering-ceremonies/

Send Cremated Remains to Rest Ashured

At Rest Ashured, we’re here to help you say goodbye. Our process follows five simple steps. 

First, you start by picking a scattering service. We offer a scattering garden, memory tree dedication and burials at sea. You can see all your options on our Services Page.

Next, we’ll send you a package. This contains all you need to send us ashes for scattering including boxes, labels and tape. It also contains simple instructions for how to prepare and post your package.

Then, you can ship the package to us using your local post office or favorite mail service. 

Once we receive your package, we scatter your loved one’s ashes as you specified. After the scattering, we send you a certificate of release. This marks the date and exact location of your scattering.

Ask Us Your Questions

Finally, you can rest assured knowing your loved one has been memorialized with the utmost care and dignity. 
We can’t remove the sadness of your loss, but we can remove the complications of laying a loved one to rest. We’ve tried to think of everything to relieve you of worries, and strive to make our process as simple as possible. If this sounds like something you would like to do, please get in touch with us. Call 434-534-4007 or email us at info@restashured.com.

Loss & Grieg - What to do with cremated remains?
Loss & Grieg – What to do with cremated remains?
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How to Lay Someone to Rest in a Cremation Garden

Loved Ones with Grey Hair

While cremation has been around for thousands of years, modern cremation memorials are relatively new. Often, people don’t know how to lay someone to rest in a cremation garden. At Rest Ashured, we created a special space just for this type of event. 

In our garden, we scatter the ashes that people send to us with reverence and dignity. 

It’s a labor of love for us. We journey to our mountaintop property on beautiful days with your loved one’s ashes. From there, you can see the glory of nature with the rolling Blue Ridge mountains and rushing James River.

We gently release ashes over our garden. Then, we mark the location with a stone containing the individual’s name and life dates.

Table of Contents

Rest Ashured’s Cremation Garden
Selecting a Scattering Site
Sending Your Ashes
How do you scatter the ashes? How do I pick the date?
What do you say when you scatter ashes?
Do I get pictures of the ash scattering process?
What are the fees involved?
Visiting Your Loved One’s Memorial
Can we be present at the scattering?
Can I visit the memorial?
Prayers to Read at a Cremation Memorial
Poems to Read for an Ash Scattering Memorial
Bible Verses to Read When Visiting a Memorial

Most people have a lot of questions about the process and we’re happy to answer them.

Laying Someone to Rest in a Cremation Garden

When you have cremation ashes after a memorial service, you can wait any length of time before deciding to scatter them. Some people even keep them for years while they grieve. Once you’re ready, a scatter garden creates a wonderful place to release the ashes and say goodbye.

Rest Ashured’s Cremation Garden

Our garden creates a unique resting place that is both majestic and tranquil. It’s a private property in the Blue Ridge Mountains with views of the James River. On our property, we have a scatter garden where we scatter cremation ashes. The area is protected and contains markers with the name of each person scattered there. 

We were inspired to create this scatter garden by our own family’s experience with loss and grief. Over time, many people have laid the ashes of family and friends to rest in this garden memorial.

Selecting a Scattering Site  

If your loved one passed away without specifying a scattering site, a cremation garden provides a peaceful and meaningful scatter location. We properly registered our property for cremation ash scattering and have long-term plans in place to ensure the sanctity of the location. These are important points to note when you’re selecting a scattering site. It’s illegal to scatter human ash in most public places. Additionally, many private spaces won’t remain intact over time if they aren’t set aside as a memorial site.


Sending Your Ashes  

For those who choose to send their ashes to us, we help you through the process. First, we ask you to pick a scattering service. On our mountaintop, you can either choose to scatter the ashes over the garden or plant them with a memorial tree. 

Then, we’ll send you a package with all the necessary packing materials. It has the appropriate boxes, labels, tape, and simple shipping instructions. 

Then, you ship the package to us. You can drop it off at the local post office. (We also offer personal pickup for certain areas.)

How do you scatter the ashes? How do I pick the date?

Once we receive your package, we plan a time to scatter the ashes. Most of the time, we choose a day with mild weather. If you have selected a tree, there are seasonal considerations to ensure the tree takes root. 

Sometimes, people request scattering on a certain date. We can discuss that detail over the phone after you place your order.

What do you say when you scatter ashes?

In general, we send up a silent, respectful prayer as we release the ashes. Sometimes, people request a small statement, verse, or poem. If you have a special request, you can discuss this with us as we’re reviewing your order.

Can we be present at the scattering?

In general, our ash scatterings are unattended. This helps us keep the property pristine and undisturbed. However, we can discuss other options if you have a special request.

Do I get pictures of the ash scattering process?

Everyone who sends us ashes gets a certificate of release marking the date and exact location of the scattering. We also can send a picture of the marker or the memorial tree upon request.

What are the fees involved?

Our pricing varies depending on the service. A memorial stone in our scatter garden costs $275. A memory tree costs $425. We also offer options for scattering couples’ ashes and other special requests. You can see all of these by reviewing our services.

Visiting Your Loved One’s Memorial  

Although the ash scattering ceremony is unattended, we do open up our property twice a year to visitors. We call this our Day of Celebration.

Can I visit the memorial?

We hold one Day of Celebration during the spring and the fall. You’ll be notified by email prior to the event so you can plan to visit your loved one’s marker. 

On these days, we encourage friends and family members to visit, remember and reflect.

Prayers to Read at a Cremation Memorial

We’ve collected the following prayers to inspire your words when you visit your loved one’s scattering site.

A Funeral Prayer by Gregory Coles (Source)

And I pray that the worked you have accomplished in this remarkable life will grow deeper, wider, and stronger in the days to come, uninhabited by a we - RestAshured.comk opponent like death. A Funeral prayer by Gregory Coles

I cry for those of us left behind, for the lonely ones with hollows in our hearts. I ask You to comfort us, give peace, restore hope, and lavish us with love, family, and belonging. In the depths of loss, meet us with Yourself.

I cry for the legacy this loved one leaves, for the ways the world has been made different by their presence, for the memories that become both more beautiful and more painful on this side of death. And I pray that the work You have accomplished in this remarkable life will grow deeper, wider, and stronger in the days to come, uninhibited by a weak opponent like death. 

A Prayer of Comfort from Liturgy and Agenda (1921), p. 134 (Source

Comfort the survivors with your everlasting comfort and cheer them with the sweet hope of a blessed reunion in heaven. A Prayer of Comfort 1921  - RestAshured.com

O Lord God, Lord of life and death,
you turn man to dust and say,
“Return, O children of men,”
we give you thanks for all the mercies
which during his life you bestowed
on this our beloved brother, now fallen asleep.
Especially do we praise you
for having brought him to the knowledge
of your dear Son Jesus Christ.
Comfort the survivors
with your everlasting comfort,
and cheer them with the sweet hope
of a blessed reunion in heaven.
Grant to the lifeless body
rest in the bosom of the earth,
and hereafter, together with us all,
a joyful resurrection to life everlasting.
Teach us all to number our days
that we may apply our hearts to wisdom,
and finally be saved;
through Jesus Christ, your beloved Son,
our Lord and Savior. Amen.

A Prayer for Friends by Thomas à Kempis (Source)

Almighty and eternal God, have mercy on your servants our friends. A Prayer for Friends by Thomas A Kempis - RestAshured.com

Almighty and eternal God,
have mercy on your servants, our friends.
Keep them continually under your protection,
and direct them according to your gracious favor
in the way of eternal salvation.
May they desire whatever pleases you,
and with all their strength strive to do it.
As they trust in your mercy, O Lord,
graciously assist them with your heavenly help,
that they may always diligently serve you,
and be separated from you by no temptations;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Poems to Read for an Ash Scattering Memorial

The following poems provide comfort and hope during the grieving process.

There Is No Night Without a Dawning by Helen Steiner Rice (Source)

There is no night without a dawning. No winter without a spring and beyond the dark horizon our hearts will once more sing for those who leave use for a while have only gone away out of a restless are worn world into a brighter day. There is No Night Without a Dawning by Helen Steiner Rice - RestAshured.com

There is no night without a dawning
No winter without a spring
And beyond the dark horizon
Our hearts will once more sing…
For those who leave us for a while
Have only gone away
Out of a restless, care worn world
Into a brighter day.

She Is Gone by David Harkins (Source)

you can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday, or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday. She Gone by David Harkins

You can shed tears that she is gone,
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her only that she is gone,
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what she’d want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.”

Turn Again to Life by Mary Lee Hall (Source)

For my sake - turn again to life and smile. Turn Again to Life by Mary Lee Hail - RestAshured.com

If I should die and leave you here a while,
be not like others sore undone, who keep
long vigils by the silent dust, and weep.
For my sake – turn again to life and smile,
nerving thy heart and trembling hand to do
something to comfort weaker hearts than thine.
Complete these dear unfinished tasks of mine
and I, perchance may therein comfort you.

Bible Verses to Read When Visiting a Memorial

We appreciate the hope found in the following Bible verses.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 (NIV)

The spirit return to God who gave it. Ecclesates 12:7 (NIV) - RestAshured.com

“And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” 

Psalm 56:8 (NLT)

My heart is broken, my mind exhausted I cry out to you and hardly know what to ask, All I can do is tell you how I feel and ask you to keep track of all my sorrows, collect all my tears in your bottle, and record each on in your book as I poor them out to you. Psalm 56:9 (NIV) - RestAshured.com

“My heart is broken, my mind exhausted. I cry out to you and hardly know what to ask. All I can do is tell you how I feel and ask you to keep track of all my sorrows, collect all my tears in your bottle, and record each one in your book as I pour them out to you.” 

Exodus 22:27 (ESV)

And if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate. Exodus 22:37 (NIV) - RestAshured.com

“And if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.” 

Psalm 31:9 (NIV)

Be merciful to me Lord, for I am in distress: my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. Psalm 31:9 (NIV) - RestAshured.com

“Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.” 

Ask About Our Scatter Garden in Virginia

We provide reverent ash scattering options atop our beautiful mountain property in Virginia. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the property surrounding our garden remains very much in its natural state. We’ve cleared the landscape only enough to enhance the breathtaking views and maintain the scattering area. 

If you have questions about laying ashes to rest in our garden, we can help. Please get in touch with us. Call 434-534-4007 or email us at info@restashured.com.

Loss & Grieving. How to Lay Somone to Rest in a Creation Garden - RestAshured.com
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Five Ways Memorial Gardens Create a Peaceful Resting Place

Image of a bird visiting a memory garden

They say time heals. After a loved one has passed away, the length of mourning varies from person to person. People find comfort in many different moments and rituals from a formal funeral to a celebratory memorial service. If your loved one chose cremation, the timeline can move more slowly than traditional burial or interment. Many people choose to keep the ashes in an urn for a period of time. Then, you can release them whenever you’re ready. In these situations, memorial gardens create the ideal resting place because of their quiet, natural beauty.

“All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!”

-Harry Scott-Holland, Death is Nothing at All (SOURCE)

Choosing a spot for the release is highly personal. If your loved one did not specify where they’d like to be scattered, or if they chose a place where scattering is not permitted, we suggest a memory garden as a peaceful resting place.

Table of Contents


Appreciate Natural Views
Use Nature’s Soundtrack
Attract Wildlife
Create Moments of Reflection
Offer Relief from Daily Commotion

Most memory gardens are private properties that have been registered for ash scattering. They are created with the long-term in mind. They’re set far away from busy, metropolitan areas or properties slated for development. 

These scattering gardens provide subtle landscaping. The changes only enhance the beauty of the surroundings and provide room for scattering location markers. 

Many of these ash scattering locations even allow you to visit semi-annually. This creates a beautiful tradition to honor the life of the person scattered in the garden. It allows you to grieve on your own timeline. 

You can scatter the ashes whenever you’re ready. Then, visit over the years to celebrate their life.

Memorial Gardens Create a Peaceful Resting Place

If you’re choosing between a traditional cemetery and a memory garden, you may enjoy the peaceful, natural setting of a cremation scattering garden.

1. Memory Gardens Appreciate Natural Views

Unlike traditional cemeteries or mausoleums, garden memorials for cremated ashes coexist within their natural settings. They don’t alter the natural views with large monuments, buildings, or other constructions. Instead, the best memory gardens create just enough structure to memorialize the area without destroying the natural beauty of the garden memorial.

At our Scatter Garden in the Blue Ridge Mountains, we’ve cleared only enough to enhance the breathtaking views. From our garden, you can see portions of the James River with a small waterfall. Every hour of the day brings a new phase of the sun. In the morning, the sunrise peeks out from behind clouds that nestle just across the river. Throughout the day, the rays shine through leaves and branches. In the evening, the colorful sunset splashes across the horizon until it sets behind the mountains. 

2. Memory Gardens Use Nature’s Soundtrack

In stark contrast to a mournful funeral dirge, or the clamor of cars on busy roads, memory gardens offer the twittering of birds. Soft, soothing sounds of rustling leaves will echo around these natural settings. Can you imagine visiting your loved one’s memorial and listening to the happy chatter of wildlife?

At Rest Ashured, we use native plants and trees to encourage the local wildlife to make their homes around our scatter garden. As a result, birds, squirrels, and insects provide a pleasant soundtrack to peaceful surroundings. When the breeze is still, you can even hear the soft rush of the river in the distance.

3. Memory Gardens Attract Joyful Wildlife

As we mentioned above, memory gardens encourage animals, birds, and insects to make their home around the area. This differs from cemeteries that often discourage wildlife from visiting the property. 

When you open up the landscape to this natural ecosystem, it comes alive with the joy of new life. You may see a bird’s nest full of eggs in the springtime or spot bees buzzing around the nearby flowers. We encourage these happy interactions because they add to the vibrant memorial garden cemetery.

4. Memory Gardens Create Moments of Reflection

When you visit a memory garden, the quiet landscape beckons. It’s ideal for moments of reflection — especially during occasions like our Days of Celebration. When family members and friends visit our location, they see the marker for where their loved one was scattered.

This creates a serene moment — not only to celebrate the person’s life but also, to soak in the comforting, natural surroundings.

When you are saying goodbye, these moments of reflection become a vital part of healing. You can enjoy the quiet and soak in nature while viewing your loved one’s marker.

5. Memory Gardens Offer Relief from Daily Commotion

While there is some cell phone service as our private, remote location — it’s mostly distraction-free. We encourage visitors to put their phones aside for our twice-annual days of celebration and take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Visitors won’t hear the hum of traffic or the bleep of devices.

Buzzing cell phones are replaced by buzzing bees. Chattering squirrels drown out the memory of traffic jams. And rushing winds overwhelm the whirr of white noise.

These moments of relief become an important part of the grieving and eventual healing process. A memory garden creates the chance to break out from daily life. You can visit your loved one’s resting place without distraction.

Send Your Loved One to Rest in a Memory Garden

Memory gardens remain the ideal resting spot for anyone looking for a peaceful, remote place to put cremation ashes to rest. They’re usually solitary and natural — perfect for nature lovers. 

If you have questions about whether a scatter garden is right for you, please get in touch with us. We’re here to make the process as smooth as possible. Call 434-534-4007 or email us at info@restashured.com.

Five ways memory gardens create a restful resting place
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5 Beautiful Reasons to Plant a Memory Tree

a living tribute tree

Throughout history, trees have represented life and the fundamental elements of existence. They provide shelter, fruit, and fuel. We nurture trees and receive nourishment in return. From children’s stories like The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein to the parables of Jesus, trees remain a symbol of life and connection. 

In this article, we look at five beautiful reasons to plant a memory tree in honor of your loved one.

1. Memory Trees Represent Hope

Photo of Bible Verse for Psalm 1:3

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

Psalm 1:3 (ESV)

A palm tree in the desert or an old oak along an abandoned road instantly evokes strong emotions. We think of rest, security, and relief. Trees serve as landmarks, shelter, and sustenance for weary travelers. They offer nourishment — which is why they are often used in stories that involve physical or spiritual comfort. Trees represent hope.

Often, trees appear at moments of transformation. Many mythologies place trees at pivotal moments in the story. Sometimes, anthropomorphic trees speak. Other times, their tall trunks and long branches point heavenward. In most instances, the upward reach of tree branches reminds people of their journey to something higher.

Finally, trees recall the process of resurrection. A tiny seed, buried in the earth, bursts forth into a tall, strong trunk with waving branches. This symbolic victory over death appears throughout religious literature, including Christianity. In the Bible, almost every major figure has a tree linked to their story in some way—from Noah receiving the olive branch to Moses in front of the burning bush. Additionally, Jesus’ earthly existence symbolically interconnects with trees from his childhood to his death and ultimately, his resurrection. 

2. Memorial Trees Help the Environment

Photo of Quote stating I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.

I think I shall never see
A Poem as lovely as a tree.

From Trees by Joyce Kilmer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trees_(poem)

Trees benefit the natural world. They clean our air — absorbing harmful carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Wildlife makes their homes in trees and forests rely on tree root systems for nourishment. They also help clean water and give nutrients back into the soil. 

The relationship of giving to and receiving from the earth can continue when you plant a memory tree. This living memorial will create a home for wildlife, clean the air, and add nutrients to the surrounding soil. 

3. Trees Celebrate the Natural World

Photo of quote stating the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life.

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life…

Proverbs 11:30 (ESV)

Planting trees to honor someone’s life has become such a meaningful gift and one that truly represents the Cycle of Life. As one life ends, something new grows from the loss. Planting trees lets you express your sympathy while also celebrating the natural world. 

Season to season and year after year, the tree will endure and grow stronger. As it blossoms with life, your loved one’s memorial will celebrate the natural world. 

4. Memory Trees Create a Personal Moment

Photo of Quote saying There's a very special garden where the trees of memory grow nurtured by the kindness and concern that good friends show. The roots are cherished memories of good times in the past. The branches tender promises that soul's endure and last.

There’s a very special garden
Where the trees of memory grow
Nurtured by the kindness
And concern that good friends show. 
The roots are cherished memories
Of good times in the past
The branches tender promises
That souls endure and last. 

Author Unknown, Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/23714335525454905/

Twice each year, we open our secluded, private garden to visitors so they may visit their loved one’s memorial. During this time, our guests walk through nature and enjoy the serene setting. When they visit a memory tree, they have an opportunity to partake in a personal moment of reflection.

Standing before a thriving memory tree, our guests can listen to the rustling of leaves and feel at peace with their beloved’s passing. 

5. Memory Trees Become a Living Memorial

Photo of Quote stating When we lose someone we love we must learn not to live without them, but to live with the love they left behind.

When we lose someone we love
We must learn
Not to live without them, 
But to live
With the love they left behind.

Anonymous, Source: ​​https://healingbrave.com/blogs/all/grief-quotes-love-never-dies

Planting a memory tree creates beautiful remembrance of a person’s life. Year after year, the tree will stand tall against the backdrop of the changing seasons. In the fall, orange and red leaves from the surrounding landscape will frame the tree. During the wintertime, squirrels may explore the dormant limbs. Throughout the spring, birds will nest among the budding branches as wildflowers grow on the nearby mountains. The sun will shine upon the rustling leaves throughout the summer, casting lovely shadows across the memorial stone at the tree’s base. 

In the same way that your loved one’s legacy changed and grew throughout their time on this earth, their memory tree will illustrate the seasons of their life.

Plant a Memory Tree in the Blue Ridge Mountains

To commemorate a loved one’s life, we will plant a Memory Tree to serve as a living tribute that could stand for hundreds of years. The memory tree will be planted near our secluded Scattering Garden in Virginia’s scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. After placing your order, you may choose an evergreen or deciduous tree.

We will respectfully scatter the ashes during the planting process, and place an engraved, personalized memorial stone beneath their Memory Tree. A Memory Tree can also be planted without the ashes of a loved one. (Some families simply want a living memorial to stand for their loved one.)  

You will be able to visit the tree when we open our grounds for Days of Celebration. We hold these twice a year: once in the spring, and again in the fall…when the site is at its most beautiful.
Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about planting memory trees. Call us at 434-534-4007 or email us at info@restashured.com.

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5 Beautiful Reasons to Plant a Memory Tree
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Prayers, Poems, and Bible Verses to Read When you Visit a Memorial Tree

best memorial trees

Memorial trees have become a lovely way to honor someone’s legacy. Our memory trees are situated on our secluded, private property—recognized by the County and permanently safe from development. The location is not set up for day-to-day traffic. So, we open the property twice a year for a special “Day of Celebration”. 

Once in the spring, and again in the fall, we invite friends and family members to visit their loved one’s memorial tree on our property. It’s a meaningful time to visit, remember and reflect.

Table of Contents

Prayers of Remembrance
Poems about Loss
Bible Verses about Heaven

During our celebration days, family members often mark the moment with a few private words of remembrance. We’ve collected some popular prayers, poems, and Bible verses that you may like to read when you visit a memory tree.

Prayers of Remembrance

You can repeat these prayers of remembrance as you visit your loved one’s final resting place. They offer hope and recall the promise of new life. 

Photo of quote, reading, you must not grieve so sorely, For I love you dearly still...

Safely Home


by Anonymous
Source: https://www.poetrynook.com/poem/safely-home

I am home in heaven, dear ones;
All’s so happy, all so bright!
There’s perfect joy and beauty
In this everlasting light.
All the pain and grief are over,
Every restless tossing passed;
I am now at peace forever,
Safely home in heaven at last.
Did you wonder I so calmly
Trod the Valley of the Shade?
Oh! but Jesus’ love illumined
Every dark and fearful glade.
And He came Himself to meet me
On that way so hard to tread;
And with Jesus’ arm to lean on,
Could I have one doubt or dread?
Then you must not grieve so sorely,
For I love you dearly still;
Try to look beyond earth’s shadows,
Pray to trust our Father’s will.
There is work still waiting for you,
So you must not idle stand;
Do your work while life remaineth —
You shall rest in Jesus’ land.
When that work is all completed,
He will gently call you home;
Oh, the rapture of the meeting!
Oh, the joy to see you come!

Quote stating, it broke our hearts to lose you, but you did not go alone, a part of us went with you, the day God called you home.

May You Always Walk in Sunshine

By Anonymous
Source: https://www.all-greatquotes.com/may-you-always-walk-in-sunshine-and-gods-love/

May you always walk in sunshine and 
God’s love around you flow,
for the happiness you gave us, 
no one will ever know, 
it broke our hearts to lose you, 
but you did not go alone, 
a part of us went with you, 
the day God called you home. 
A million times we’ve needed you. 
A million times we’ve cried. 
If love could only have saved you. 
You never would have died. 
The Lord be with you 
And may you rest in peace. Amen.

Photo of Quote, God be in my head, and in my understanding...

God Be in My Head

Attributed to Old Sarum Primer
Source: https://acollectionofprayers.com/2016/06/22/god-be-in-my-head/ 

God be in my head, and in my understanding;
God be in my eyes, and in my looking;
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;
God be in my heart, and in my thinking;
God be at my end, and at my departing.

Poems about Loss

We’ve collected several meaningful poems that reflect on love and loss. 

Photo of Quote stating, Life is but a stopping place, a pause in what's to be, a resting place along the road, to sweet eternity.

Poem of Life

By Anonymous
Source: https://www.creative-funeral-ideas.com/life-poem.html

Life is but a stopping place,
A pause in what’s to be,
A resting place along the road, to sweet eternity.
We all have different journeys,
Different paths along the way,
We all were meant to learn some things, but never meant to stay…
Our destination is a place,
Far greater than we know.
For some the journey’s quicker,
For some the journey’s slow.
And when the journey finally ends,
We’ll claim a great reward,
And find an everlasting peace,
Together with the Lord

Photo of Quote stating I'd like the tears of those who grieve to dry before the sun of happy memories that I leave behind when day is done.

Afterglow

By Helen Lowrie Marshall
Source: https://www.memorialstationery.com.au/funeral-wordings-popular-prayers.html

I’d like the memory of me
to be a happy one,
I’d like to leave an afterglow
of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo
whispering softly down the ways,
of happy times and laughing times
and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who grieve,
to dry before the sun of happy memories
that I leave behind when day is done.

Photo of Quote reading who has seen the wind?

Who Has Seen the Wind?

Christina Rosetti
Source: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43197/who-has-seen-the-wind

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

Bible Verses about Heaven

These Bible verses about heaven offer the comfort of a future reunion with those we love. 

Photo of Bible Verse for 1 Corinthians 2:9

1 Corinthians 2:9 (ESV)

But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Photo of Bible verse for John 14:3-4

John 14:3-4 (ESV)

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.

Photo of Bible verse for Colossians 3:1-4

Colossians 3:1-4 (ESV)

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Visiting Memorial Trees

Although our property is closed to the public throughout the year, our visitors enjoy the chance to visit and reflect during our “Days of Celebration.” These visits often become a family tradition and a chance to process their loss together. 

If you are looking for a spot to put your loved one’s ashes to rest, you can plant a memory tree. Our beautiful mountaintop property overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains and portions of the James River. These memorial trees celebrate the unique lives of people who have passed. You can select this service through our website. Then, we’ll call to discuss the type of tree you’d like to plant (evergreen and deciduous options are available).

After you confirm your selection, we ship you a special package with the appropriate containers. You can place it in the mail through your local post office. If you prefer, for an additional fee, we offer a personal pickup service. 

Upon receiving your loved one’s ashes, we scatter them reverently during the planting process. We also place an engraved memorial stone at the base of the tree. Finally, we send you a Certificate of Release. This keepsake notes the date and location of the scattering. 
We’re here to provide comfort and relief to you during your time of loss. If you are interested in planting a memorial tree, please get in touch with us by calling 434-534-4007 or emailing us at info@restashured.com.

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Memory Gardens & Celebration of Life Ideas

Virginia Ash Burial Service

Our experiences through Rest Ashured illustrate how much people need a personal way to say goodbye. Often, we hear that our clients plan their own ceremony, complete with readings and music that honor the life of their loved ones. They may hold it in a religious building, an informal venue, or even in a location that their loved one adored. After their special ceremony, they appreciate our simple and respectful process — where we scatter cremation ashes in our scattering garden in an unattended ceremony. From the actual memorial ceremony to the final goodbye when they send us their loved one’s ashes, our clients appreciate the personal touch offered by a memory garden.

Table of Contents

Differences from a Funeral Service
Planning a Celebration of Life
The Final Goodbye

Over time, people have begun to favor Celebration of Life ceremonies over traditional funerals. These memorial services are intimate, and often less formal, than mourning rituals of the past. Memory gardens, in particular, allow people a beautiful place to lay their loved ones to rest following their celebration of life ceremony. The verdant setting illustrates the hope of life after death.

Differences from a Funeral Service

Celebration of life ceremonies differ from funeral services in several ways. First, celebrations of life are generally more intimate and may take place in an informal setting. For example, you might choose to hold the ceremony in the loved one’s place of worship or a location of special meaning to them. This changes the tone from a funeral home service to one limited to family and close friends. 

Second, celebrations of life have no particular order of service. Often, they are planned around personalized readings, music, or activities. By contrast, most funeral directors will guide services through specific stages, such as a prelude, introduction, prayers or readings, and a eulogy. If you are planning a celebration of life, you can organize the proceedings around a few intimate moments that reflect on your loved one’s memory.

Finally, celebrations of life have no particular send-off for your loved one’s remains. Traditional funerals typically end with a formal transition where a coffin or urn is carried out. Then, the most intimate members of the funeral party immediately follow the remains to their resting place. 

If you’re organizing a celebration of life, you’ll need to plan how you are laying your loved one to rest. For a cremation funeral, you may even choose to keep the ashes on display for some time. For our clients, we find people appreciate this flexible timeline. They can keep the ashes until they are ready to lay them to rest. Then, they send the ashes to us for a final goodbye.

Planning a Celebration of Life

When you’re planning a celebration of life, a theme creates a focus for the event. Many times, people choose a song, special location, or a quote to center the ceremony. If you are planning to have your loved one’s ashes scattered in our memory garden, you can make the memory garden a focus of your celebration of life ceremony. 

If you choose our scattering garden, you can explain to the attendees where your loved one’s remains will be put to rest after the ceremony: on a lush mountaintop among the beauty of nature. Weave that peaceful, life-bringing image into your mourning process. 

As you’re planning a celebration of life, you’ll also need to make provisions for the following areas.

The Invitations

Start by considering who will be invited to the celebration of life. Collect the appropriate contact information and keep the list available for anyone coordinating invites. This will make it easier to confirm who is attending.

The Ceremony

For the actual celebration of life ceremony, you can plan around what works best for your group. Some considerations include:

  • Where and when will the event take place?
  • Who will conduct the ceremony?
  • Who will speak during the ceremony? 
  • What music would you like to include?
  • How will you decorate for the ceremony?
  • Will there be food or beverages afterward?

Each of these questions will help you plan a personal, yet organized event.

The Activities

Many people enjoy a group activity during a celebration of life. This may be as simple as signing a keepsake, reciting a reading together, or participating in a symbolic moment. From lighting candles to singing a song, guests enjoy memory-making moments. 

Memory Gardens

For those looking for a place to put their loved ones to rest, we offer an unattended ash scattering ceremony. Our serene scattering garden overlooks the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and portions of the James River. It’s a glorious garden of memories — celebrating the unique lives of people who have passed.

Whether you want to send your ashes immediately after the celebration of life ceremony or wait for some time, we’re here to support you. 

After you confirm your selection, we ship you a special package with the appropriate containers. You can place it in the mail through your local post office. If you prefer, we offer a personal pickup service for an additional fee. 

Upon receiving your loved one’s ashes, we scatter them reverently on our mountaintop garden. We also place an engraved memorial stone at the site. Finally, we send you a Certificate of Release. This keepsake notes the date and location of the scattering. 

We’re here to provide comfort and relief to you during your time of loss. 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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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

Photo of Last Will and Testament

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

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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

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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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How to Scatter Ashes at the Beach

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The ocean holds a special meaning for many people. Often, people choose to scatter ashes at the beach to honor loved ones who were in the Navy, Coastguard, or Marines. Some choose it as a final resting place for fishermen or those who loved the sea. Because these ceremonies differ from typical funerals, many people have questions about how to scatter ashes at the beach. 

While you can’t scatter ashes directly on the beach, you can take them onto a boat and scatter them on the open water. Burial at sea is legal as long as you abide by the EPA guidelines under the MPRSA general permit for burial at sea, which states that ashes must be at least 3 nautical miles offshore.  We recommend choosing an ash scattering service that operates in compliance with these guidelines. This frees you to focus on your family or friends during the ceremony.

In this post, we offer ideas, poems, prayers, and Bible verses that you can add to your ocean ash scattering.

Table of Contents

Burial at Sea Ceremony Ideas
Prayers for Burial at Sea
Poems for Ocean Ash Scattering
Bible Verses for Ocean Burial

A burial at sea stands as the perfect way to reflect on the lives and loves of individuals who felt a special connection with oceans and seashores. 

Burial at Sea Ceremony Ideas

Burial-at-sea ceremonies can be conducted together at the dock before setting out to sea, or at some other designated location. With attended burial-at-sea scatterings, a ceremony could also be held on the boat itself during the trip (observing the boat’s passenger limit).

Scattering Ceremony

Many families will want to take an active part in scattering the ashes of their loved ones. In some ceremonies, someone is designated to release the ashes, while in other ceremonies, guests will take a portion of the ashes to scatter individually. Guests may choose to share something before they release the ashes, or the group may choose to release the separated ashes all at once.

Lighting candles or casting flowers, petals, or wreaths on the water along with the ashes are all lovely choices. This gives the family a beautiful, lasting scene to gaze upon as they finish their ceremony and celebration of life. There may be music played, memories shared and glasses raised in honor of the deceased.

Floating Ceremony

In this ceremony, as opposed to physically scattering the ashes over open water, the cremation ash is placed in a specially designed water-soluble urn. (These can be found on several online sites.) The urns can be simple or very ornate, according to your taste.

After, or as a part of, the memorial, the urn is placed in the water. The urn floats for a couple of minutes before it begins to sink and dissolve. To conclude the ceremony, guests will often toss live flowers, petals, or wreaths into the water as one final tribute.

Prayers for Burial at Sea

The following prayers for a burial at sea ceremony offer hope and comfort. 

Excerpt from Burial at Sea prayer from The Book of Common Prayer (1928) of the Protestant Episcopal Church

Burial at Sea

The Book of Common Prayer (1928) of the Protestant Episcopal Church (Source)

Unto Almighty God, we commend the soul of our brother departed, and we commit his body to the deep; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection unto eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ; at whose coming in glorious majesty to judge the world, the sea shall give up her dead; and the corruptible bodies of those who sleep in him shall be changed, and made like unto his glorious body; according to the mighty working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.

A Fisherman's Prayer Graphic

Fisherman’s Prayer

Anonymous

God grant that I may live to fish for another shining day. 
But when my final cast is made I then most humbly pray, 
When nestled in your landing net as I lay peacefully asleep, 
You’ll smile and judge that I’m ‘good enough to keep’.”

Excerpt from  The Lord's Prayer Bible verse

The Lord’s Prayer 

Matthew 6:9-13, KJV (Source)

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
forever and ever.
Amen.

Poems for Ocean Ash Scattering

These poems focus on the beauty of the ocean as a final resting place.

"Immersing my soul in water where first life and memory began." excerpt from Burial at Sea poem by John Companiotte

Burial at Sea

By John Companiotte (Source)

There will I lie, 
Forever with a moving element,
Not sunk in the leaden earth
Missing the sullen music of whales
For a lullaby to soothe my sleep.
Small fish with vermilion scales,
Haloing wide purple faces, will dart
In and out of my long dream
With no disturbance, their colors
Shimmering and enlivening my eyes
Closed to the pink revelry of dawn.
The swell of the shifting current
Will tug at my stuffed shirt, waking 
Me from being human, immersing
My soul in water where first
Life and memory began.

A Fisherman's Prayer by Jeanette Hoppes

A Fisherman’s Prayer

By Jeannette Hoppes (Source)

God grant me a little more time
To pick up my rod, and cast my line.
Work and worry disappear
When I pick up my fishing gear.
With boat on trailer, I will go
Anywhere the fishing’s not too slow.
Work just doesn’t seem so fine
When I see what’s at the end of my fishing line.
When I am feeble, old and grey
Please don’t take my pole away.
When the Pearly Gates open wide
Please find this old fisherman, one good lake inside!

"Down to the unfathom'd realms, where hidded fountains flow..." excerpt from Burial at Sea Poem by Mrs. L.H. Sigourney

Burial at Sea

Mrs. L.H. Sigourney (Source)

Down to the unfathom’d realms,
Where hidden fountains flow,
Alone, his silent couch to find,
The child of earth must go.
For him no funeral bell
May weeping friends convene,
Nor dust, to kindred dust be laid
Within the church-yard green.
Farewell! one heavy plunge!
One cleft in ocean’s floor!

Bible Verses for Ocean Burial

These Bible verses celebrate faith and the hope of heaven.

"...they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep." -Psalm 107:23-24

Psalm 107:23-24 (ESV)

“Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep.”

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

Matthew 5:4 (ESV)

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

Psalm 46: 1-3 (ESV)

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah.”

How to Scatter Ashes at the Beach

To plan a beautiful ocean burial, we recommend choosing a service that follows the MPRSA general permit for burial at sea. Then, you can plan a beautiful service that reflects on the life of your loved one. At Rest Ashured, we offer both attended and unattended burial at sea options

If you choose an attended ceremony, we will put you in direct contact with a boat captain to schedule the special day and time. On your scheduled day, you will meet him at the boat slip to begin your time on the water. 

If you choose an unattended ceremony, the boat captain will respectfully scatter your loved one’s ashes on your behalf. This is typically done within 30 days, and we will inform you on the day of release. 

Our sea scattering locations include the Outer Banks, North Carolina, Topsail Island, North Carolina, and Virginia Beach, Virginia. 
We’re here to make the process as smooth as possible. If you have any questions about how to scatter ashes at the beach, please get in touch with us by calling 434-534-4007 or emailing us info@restashured.com.

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