Filling a cremation urn is a fairly simple
procedure, but it can be an overwhelming emotional experience. For many people,
the process of transferring their loved one’s cremains into their final resting
place provides a welcome sense of closure, which can be helpful in the grieving
process. However, the transfer requires a steady hand to avoid accidents, so be
certain that you’re emotionally prepared for the process before you begin.
Having the Funeral Home Transfer
Cremains For You
There are a number of options for getting
cremains into a cremation urn. The simplest is to have the funeral home
transfer them for you. Not only can you purchase an urn from the home, but you
can also request that they place the deceased’s ashes into the container for
This includes urns you purchase yourself,
either online or from another vendor. By law a funeral home cannot refuse to
place cremains into an urn you provide, nor can they charge you extra money for
the transfer simply because you didn’t purchase the urn from them.
If you’re nervous that you might accidentally
spill cremains while making the transfer yourself, either because of nerves,
emotions, or other physical conditions then having the funeral home provide the
ashes to you already in their final urn is your best option.
Transferring Cremains Yourself
Many people prefer to make the transfer
themselves instead of leaving the responsibility to the funeral home. The act
can be rather intimate and can be a good chance to connect with the deceased
one last time before placing their urn in its final location. If this is your preference you have two
options for making the transfer.
Leaving Cremains in Their Plastic
Cremains are provided by the funeral home in a
heavy, sealed plastic bag. The easiest way to move cremains is to simply
transfer the plastic bag directly into the urn. Because the plastic bag is
sealed, using this technique assures no possibility of spillage or accidents.
To make the transfer you simply lift the
ashes-filled bag out of the heavy cardboard box or temporary urn the funeral
home provided to you and then place the unopened bag inside the chosen urn.
Because the plastic bag is strong and
airtight, permanently sealing the urn is unnecessary.
It’s important to note that some urns seal on
the bottom instead of the top. For this style of urn, you must leave the
cremains in their plastic bag, or else you risk ashes escaping out of the
bottom of the container.
Removing Cremains From Their
For some, the thought of leaving their loved one’s
cremains in a plastic bag doesn’t feel appropriate, for any number of reasons.
If you would prefer the cremains to be loose inside their urn, extra care must
First, be sure to choose an urn that opens
from the top. There are far less likely to ever leak.
Find a stable, flat surface in a location
where the air is still. Put down newspapers to protect the surface and then
place the urn on top of the paper. Go to a home store, kitchen store or
hardware store and buy a funnel large enough to sit in the urn’s opening. Make
sure the funnel sits firmly in the opening.
Remove the bag and snip off one of the
corners, wide enough to admit the cremains, but not so wide that they pour out
too quickly. You can start smaller and expand if necessary. Remember that
cremains are sanitary and sterile, so they pose no health hazard. However, it’s
worth wearing a protective mask, to avoid breathing any fine dust.
Gently pour the cremains through the funnel
and into the urn, tapping the bag as needed to keep the flow moving freely. Any
spillage can be poured from the newspaper into the urn.
Once you’ve completed the transfer, you can
opt to permanently seal the top of the urn using an appropriate glue. This
removes the possibility of future accidents.
That’s it! Your loved one is now in their
final resting place.