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Scatterday Facilitates Final Placement

The Arlington companies, the Arlington Funeral Home and the Arlington Memorial Park created and then on Aug. 6 hosted the Great Urn Return & Scatterday. This unique event, conceived to focus on the need for permanent placement for what is thought to be thousands of cremated remains residing on Tri-State fireplace mantels, bookshelves or even in attics, is the first of many planned initiatives to highlight the frequent disconnect between cremation and final placement.

According to Dan Applegate, Arlington’s CEO, the dramatic rise in the acceptance of cremation is often accompanied by survivors of a deceased holding onto the urns containing cremated remains for several reasons. “First and foremost,” said Applegate, “it’s completely understandable that families have the impulse to keep the cremated remains, especially in their home, because they’re not quite emotionally prepared to let go.” In fact, according to Applegate, survey after survey confirms that the convenience of cremation, including the easy opportunity to hold onto a loved one’s cremated remains, is one of the more powerful factors in the rise of consumers opting for cremation rather than a traditional burial. “That convenience factor,” says Applegate, “is enormously persuasive and can’t be underestimated.”

But sometimes, holding cremated remains at home for the short-term morphs into a longer-term solution. Says Applegate, “As human beings, we rationalize, we adapt and pretty soon three or four years have passed, and our loved one’s cremated remains are still with us. It’s not creepy nor is it wrong in any way but it is possibly fraught with the unintended consequence of accidentally having the cremated remains misplaced at some point.”

“That’s because,” Applegate adds, “that death care providers – like us – have far too often failed to close the loop when we discuss cremation with consumers. We talk a lot about the cremation process but tend to skip over the discussion of final placement.” However, the options available for final placement and memorialization is another positive feature of cremation. Ground burial is still an option, but above-ground niches, glass front niches, inurnment in other “cremation campuses” and scattering gardens are all available for permanent placement and memorialization. How important is final placement and memorialization? According to Applegate, “final placement designates the place where a loved one is laid to rest and where that person’s existence is evidenced by the memorialization – a place of spirituality for survivors close to the deceased and a spot that can connect future generations to their past.”

At Arlington, a new emphasis on the final placement of cremated remains began with the Urn Return & Scatterday event and going forward, says Applegate, “We’re going to be taking a much more comprehensive approach to fully informing consumers.”