Cremation has been performed throughout human history, and the practice’s popularity has waxed and waned over time. Within the past century, cremation has become more widely accepted, and decorative urns are now regarded as beautiful, timeless keepsakes.
The earliest archaeological evidence suggests that cremation was practiced in the Stone Age (circa 3000 BC) in Europe and Japan, where simple pottery cremation urns have been discovered. Because these urns were fashioned using primitive tools, they weren’t very ornate.
Cremation practices became widespread in North America, Britain, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Portugal between 2500 - 1000 BC. During this time, cemeteries specifically devoted to housing cremated remains were established.
Between 27 AD and 395 AD, the practice of cremation became customary among Romans, particularly those in the upper class. Cremated remains were stored in highly decorated urns and housed in large, communal vaults.
Age of Constantine the Great
Early Christians considered cremation to be a pagan tradition, so by 400 AD, the practice was discouraged and earth burial became customary. For the next century and a half, this sentiment was upheld by a majority of the population.
By the early 1900s, modern cremation came to rise, specifically in North America. The Cremation Association of North America was established in 1915, and by the turn of the century, nearly 25% of all deaths resulted in cremation. Today, 50.2% of individuals opt for cremation for themselves or their loved ones.
Cremation has evolved so much so that there are currently a plethora of options to store cremated remains, including our "Blooming Bio-Urns," which are designed to grow into twelve different types of wildflowers.
Additionally, we offer a wide selection of decorative urns that make beautiful keepsakes. Visit our online catalog to learn about our reasonably priced urn options or call us anytime at (850) 466-5440.
"It's counterintuitive, perhaps, but obituaries have next to nothing do with death and absolutely everything to do with life," said Margalit Fox, the New York Times' obituary writer for upwards of 15 years.
While obituaries serve a variety of purposes, like spreading a notice of death to loved ones, they should focus on the impact of a life above all else. Because most of us don't have a memoir or a biography, our obituaries paint the most vivid pictures of our professional accomplishments, relational ties, significant life events and essence of our personality.
Whether you are preparing your own obituary in advance, or you are writing an obituary for a deceased family member, it is important to acknowledge the positive, lasting impact of the life lost.
Where to begin
Most obituaries start with the basics, like the individual's name, age and place of residence at the time of their death.
Instead of simply stating that the individual died, there are several ways to soften the impact. These phrases include:
• passed away
• crossed over
• went to be with his/her Lord
• passed peacefully
• departed this earthly life
• entered into eternal rest
• earned his/her way into heaven
• left this world
• was called home
Include significant events and important accomplishments
Often listed chronologically, obituaries mention individuals' birthday and place of birth, details about spouse and date of marriage, as well as significant educational and professional accomplishments.
Paint a picture of a life well-lived
In addition, acknowledge the specific contributions and designations the person made in life. It is also important to capture the essence of their personality. According to Catherine Garcia, a seasoned obituary writer, "When done right, obituaries have a way of making even the most ordinary person seem interesting."
Along with naming the family members who preceded the individual in death, as well as their survivors, the obituary should express the impact of their life and the pain of their loss. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to convey their character through the tone of your writing. For instance, if the deceased was popular for being funny, it would not be inappropriate to write the obituary in a lighthearted tone. Additionally, including a a sentence that illustrates a person's passions, like a cook's favorite recipe, can succinctly embody important aspects of their personality.
Announce memorial information
The best place to mention visitation, burial, funeral and memorial service details is through one or two sentences toward the end of the obituary. Additionally, many individuals list whether the deceased should be honored with flowers or charitable donations.
Finally, include a heartfelt message
If desired, you can include a special message from a loved one, a statement thanking medical staff, or a short prayer or quote as the last line in the obituary.
For a simple, complementary obituary template, click here.
For information on other ways to pre-plan, click this link or call us anytime at (850) 466-5440.
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