Memorialization involving the placement of a permanent monument or memorial to remember the deceased. It can take many forms.
In a cemetery the most common memorials are upright monuments or headstones of granite or marble, or flat markers of bronze or granite set flush with the ground. Each contains the name of the deceased and in many cases the date of birth and death. Some headstones and markers may be manufactured in a particular shape, such as, a heart or include a short verse, phrase, picture or symbol providing the visitor with information about the deceased.
Some families choose companion headstones or markers with sufficient space to record the names and particulars of each spouse. Others use inscriptions on walls, columbarium niches and mausoleums as their form of memorialization.
The way in which we memorialize or pay tribute to the life of a person is not restricted solely to cemeteries. In churches we find many wonderful examples of memorials dedicated to those who have gone before us. Churches are filled with stained glass windows, many of which have been placed by parishioners in memory of their loved ones. Bulletins, prayer books, bibles and flowers are other items which are often given in someone's memory.
In fact many churches have been built or completed major projects because of people's desire to memorialize or remember. Donations to a Memorial Building or Organ Fund are common place in the church community, as are Memorial Endowment Funds established thanks to the generosity of parishioners in whose memory monies have been left or given to the church.
If cremation has taken place, the ashes are often placed within an urn. One choice for a final resting place for an urn is a niche in a columbarium, which is most often located within a cemetery, or within a church complex. Generally memorial plaques or nameplates are used to identify the urns.
Some prefer earth burial of an urn, either in a family plot or a special urn garden within a cemetery. In that case, a headstone or suitable marker is often placed at the burial site.
Some cemeteries provide areas for the scattering of cremated remains. Today, it is not unusual for remains to be scattered in the air or over water, where permitted by law. However, if this choice is contemplated, careful consideration should be given to the feelings of survivors. Many people need to be able to go to a specific location, or focal point, for reflection following the loss of a loved one. This emotional need often surfaces later and may be overlooked if scattering takes place too quickly.