Arrangements after the funeral

Depending on the choices you made, you will still have some matters to resolve once the funeral ceremony itself is over.

Thanks and acknowledgements

If you would like to thank those who attended the funeral, and offered words of comfort or appreciation, you have a number of choices.

A handwritten letter is always appreciated and you may wish to thank mourners in this way if you have the time and desire to write what could be a great many letters.

Pre-printed stationery will cut down the work involved in contacting a number of mourners. Appropriate cards will be available from your high street stationer or your funeral director.The easiest way of reaching the widest number of people is by posting a notice in the local newspaper. This is particularly effective when you have a large number of local mourners to thank.

Your funeral director will be able to arrange this for you and the cost will be added to his disbursements.

Tending The Grave

Keeping the grave or memorial in good order may not simply be a matter of personal choice. It is likely to be a condition of your agreement with the cemetery authority.

Check your deeds or agreement with the authority for more information on what you can and can't place in and around the grave. If something doesn't meet with the authority's requirements, they will probably reserve the right to remove it. This can be distressing, so it is wise to know the rules of the cemetery and adhere to them.

For a variety of reasons (e.g. disability, infirmity, geographical distance from the cemetery etc) tending the grave may not always be easy. If you're unable to personally keep a grave or other memorial maintained, local grave and memorial tending services will be able to help.

Scattering the ashes

Whilst your choice of locations for scattering ashes is almost infinite, there are a number of options that will be available to you immediately following the cremation. These will have been presented to you when you completed your application form for cremation.Amongst your immediate options are:
  • Burying them near to a memorial plaque
  • Burying them in a Garden of Remembrance in a recorded but unmarked position
  • Burying them alongside the remains of another family member

Other choices

If you choose to take the ashes away with you, you can take your time in deciding what happens next.
  • The ashes could remain in the urn
  • They could be divided amongst members of the family
  • They could be scattered in the garden
  • They could be scattered at sea, in rivers or on mountains
  • They could be scattered at a place close to the deceased's heart (sports grounds are not unusual choices)

If you intend to scatter the ashes in any public place, or on private land, you must obtain the permission of the landowner. You should also check that there are no restrictions on scattering ashes in your chosen location.It's also worth considering the following practical points:
  • If you are planning a small ceremony to mark the scattering, will you be interrupted if the location is a public one?
  • Will the conditions make scattering difficult (e.g. a windy mountain top)?
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