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 you.
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 Bag
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 Plastic Bag
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 be taken.
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.