When a loved one passes away before us, we sometimes wish there could be a way for us to spend forever with them. It’s not uncommon for couples to ask to be buried together. But what should you do if one of you is to be buried while the other wants to be cremated? Can you put your loved one’s urn in your casket? What about placing an urn on top of an already-buried casket?
Can my loved one’s urn be put in my casket?
There are generally few restrictions about what can go in the casket with you when you’re buried. One of the things that often can be included is your loved one’s ashes. Cemeteries have different rules about what can be buried there. Before making any plans for your burial, speak with a representative at the cemetery about their restrictions. Although burying an urn in a casket with you should generally not be an issue, you want to make certain so it doesn’t become an issue later on.
What if I want to be cremated, but my loved one was buried?
If you want to be cremated, but your loved one was buried, and you want to be buried together, you may have the option of being buried on top of your loved one’s casket. But similarly to wanting an urn to be put in your casket, you’ll need the clear permission of the cemetery and to abide by all of their rules and restrictions.
Most often, urns are buried 3 feet underground, but when burying something in an existing grave, you should try not to dig too deeply. Despite the common misconception that graves are 6 feet underground, most modern graves in the United States are actually only 4 feet down. So, if you’re digging all the way down to 3 feet, you may disturb the casket that’s already there. The cemetery will be able to direct you on how to bury the urn, should they allow the burial to occur.
What should I consider when I bury an urn?
Urns can be made of all kinds of materials, so you have to choose carefully when you pick one that will go in a casket or be buried underground on its own. The key is to pick a material with durability. Although you can make urns with glass, ceramic, or porcelain, these materials may be too fragile for what you’re trying to do. You’re better off choosing an urn made of granite or cultured marble.
However, if you are burying an urn in a grave, the cemetery may require you to use an urn vault anyway. Like a burial vault, an urn vault protects not only the urn but the grave itself from sinking in. If you are required to use an urn vault, you may be able to use more fragile materials for the urn because the vault will protect it.
It’s also important to consider if you want the urn to be biodegradable. If you’re aiming for an eco-friendly urn burial, you may want to pick one that’s made of materials like palm leaves, recycled paper, or unfired clay. Whether inside the casket or buried on its own in the grave, a biodegradable urn will eventually decompose naturally, leaving no trace or pollutants.
When it comes to what you can and can’t do for your burial, the best thing to do is talk to the cemetery about your options. You’re unlikely to be the first person they’ve helped who has asked to be buried with a loved one, and they likely already have a procedure in place to assist you. If you know that you want to be buried with a loved one who has already passed, be sure to schedule a meeting with the cemetery to talk about your burial options.