If you want to store a loved one's ashes in an urn after a funeral, there are many options out there for you to choose from. However, while some urns that are very large can carry the ashes of virtually anyone, some smaller urns that are designed to fit on bookshelves and display cabinets might not be able to cut it. To determine whether you'll be able to fit a loved one's ashes into one of these smaller urns, ask yourself these three questions.
How tall is my loved one?
When a body is cremated, the flesh is dissolved into gas and only the bones are left. At the end of the process, the bones are ground up into fine ashes and put in a bag to make them easy to transport.
Since taller people have more bones to grind down and thus create more ashes, you should be wary of getting a very small urn if your loved one is very tall. It's understandable if you aren't comfortable with disposing of some of the ashes in the bag to make it small enough to fit in an urn.
Is the urn very thin at any point?
Since the ashes will be in a bag, they won't be able to expand to fill empty space in the urn as easily as they could otherwise. Especially if the urn can be re-opened by turning the lid, it's difficult to open the bag to let the ashes efficiently fill a cavity without creating a huge mess.
Therefore, even if the urn isn't ridiculously small, think twice before using it if it's in an odd shape. For example, if the urn is very thin in the center and thicker at the bottom, it won't be able to hold as large of a bag as an urn that has the same internal volume but a more cylindrical shape.
Is the urn's lid designed to be sealed?
In contrast to normal urns with removable lids, some urns have lids that are meant to be sealed with glue once the ashes are safely inside. If you're looking at the second type of urn, you'll be able to fit in a slightly larger bag than normal without risking a bag puncture and strewing loose ashes all over your floor.
This is because you have to leave a certain amount of space on the top of a normal urn open so that the lid can be moved, removed, and reapplied easily. In the case of an urn with a seal, the ashes can occupy all that space because the lid will never have to twist or grind against them.
For more information about choosing an urn, contact a local cremation expert who has experience in the matter.