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Columbarium is a Memorial - because We Love Them!


I think we all have a desire to be remembered and to remember our loved ones. Psychologists tell those who suffer the loss of a loved-one to establish a permanent memorial. Memorialization assures the living that the person we lost will never be forgotten. Having their cremains put into a niche in a columbarium gives us a place to visit, and gives a peace of mind knowing that our special person is “close by”.  
I think you will be surprised to know that only 35% of the people who choose to be cremated are memorialized. Their remains end up on a shelve, in a drawer, or even out in the garage. I think it is because people don’t know what to do with the remains once they get them. Many people do not even know what a columbarium is, they have never heard of it. But with cremation on the rise, more and more churches, universities, and organizations are building columbariums on their property as a service to their members.
When your loved one dies, the first memorial you can give to them is an Obituary. An obituary is a notice that is published in your local newspaper that includes a small biography about the person, information about the funeral arrangements or memorial service. A photo of the individual can also be included.   There are a number of online memorial websites you can go to make an online memorial. Virtual Memorials provides a place where every person can be honored free of charge. A free memorial consists of a text main page and the guest book for friends and family to view reflections posted. Another website is Last-Memories. Last-Memories also offer free online memorials. Legacy.com and Tributes.com are a couple more websites. Facebook has a request form that you can fill out to memorialize a person’s Facebook account.   For a small fee, my favorite is the Memory Medallion. The Memory Medallion uses a QR Code that can be read by your smart phone and connects you to the story profile that is represented by the QR code. You can read their story, see photos and watch any videos that have been uploaded. Free software is available for smartphones which allows the user to read barcodes. The medallion is made from laser-etched stainless steel and can be mounted to the outside of a columbarium, tombstone, picture frame or any smooth surface.   I like the idea of having a website that stores information about a person. It may sound morbid but it would be nice for the person to put different stories on the site about themselves that the family may not even know. I think so much family history is lost because stories are not passed on from generation to generation. With the Memory Medallion, the person can start adding to the site and have it already for the family to enjoy and share.   There are even pet memorial websites. Critters.com is a website you can fill out a free memorial about your pet. You can upload photos and add stories. Pets-memories.com is another website that offers free online memorials for pets. Petco.com has a number of different types of memorials you can purchase. Some you can include a photo of your pet.
When my son was just a toddler we lived near a large church that had a cemetery on its property. I would put my son in his stroller and we’d walk through the cemetery. The tombstones dated back to the 1700’s. I’d stop and read the tombstones. Many of the tombstones had more on them than just the person’s name, birth date and death date; they would have a few statements about the person. At that time, I’d ponder about that person. What they were like, how their family loved them. That person came alive to me. Now there are so many options to keep the memory of a person alive. What I hope you get from this blog is take the time to make a memorial for the person you lost. Write the stories down and pass them on so they are not forgotten.

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