Jason Meidl is the funeral director at Creston Valley Funeral Services.

Jason Meidl is the funeral director at Creston Valley Funeral Services.

Ask Your Funeral Director: Do I need an urn?

‘There can be something very cathartic about making an urn for a loved one.’

By Jason Meidl, funeral director at Creston Valley Funeral Services


We live in an amazing place. We have what I can honestly say are some of the best seasons I have experienced. Our growing season is next to none. Our summers are bright, warm, and full of joy. Our winters, for the most part, are mild yet abundant with winter activities. Spring and fall sport some of the most amazing colours I have ever seen! It is so very true that Creston is our own little slice of heaven, and I am happy to be a part of it. As I look out my window towards Goat Mountain, I can see the colours already changing and preparing for the winter. It’s almost time to string the lights and decorate the lawn!

“When do I pay and how can I pay for services?” – Ken

This is a good question. From my experience most funeral homes require payment at the time of arrangement. One thing that I do during the arrangement with my families is to go over our payment policy outlining this exact thing, so that there are no surprises or confusion. In the past it was common practice for funeral homes to take payment after the service itself was done. There are many reasons as to why there has been a shift from that style of thinking, to how we now take payment at the time of arrangement. One reason being that funeral homes are performing less services and more direct cremations. Another being the simple fact that funeral homes are businesses who need to pay their bills and staff and waiting for payment can make this difficult at times. Regardless of the reason, I always think it is important to be made aware of your chosen funeral homes’ payment policy. There are a few different ways that most funeral homes take payment – credit card, personal cheque, cash, pre-arranged funeral contracts which have been paid ahead of time, or a funeral invoice made directly to the deceased person’s bank account. The bank can then write a bank draft for the funeral expenses directly. Your funeral director should be going over all these options with you at the time of the arrangements. Another thing to note is that a funeral director should always be able to tell you the cost of their services before sitting down with you.

“Do I need an urn?” – Heather

The answer to this is yes and no. It completely depends on what you think a urn is. The definition of an urn – “a vessel that is typically an ornamental vase on a pedestal and that is used for various purposes (such as preserving the ashes of the dead after cremation).” From this definition, we can say that an urn is whatever you choose as the vessel for storing the cremated remains of your loved one. Most typically, when cremated remains are returned to the funeral home from the crematorium, they are placed in a temporary cardboard urn. This is simply a cardboard box with the cremated remains inside. For some people, this is sufficient for them, and there is nothing wrong with this at all. For other people, they may want an urn that is designed for scattering, for others they may want an urn that they can customize with their loved one’s names and dates and even a photo, and for others, they may want what we think of as a more traditional urn. The funeral home will always have a selection of urns that a family can choose from. There is also nothing wrong with bringing another type of vessel that you want the funeral home to use. I have used a person’s favourite purse, mom’s favourite corning ware dish, to handmade wooden urns made by family members. There can be something very cathartic about making an urn for a loved one. There should never be a cost from the funeral home when you bring your own urn and you should never be made to feel that you have to purchase an urn from the funeral home.

Interesting Fact

We all love music and for many a song can bring up a myriad of memories and feelings. There is a company in the United Kingdom that will take someone’s cremated remains and incorporate them into a vinyl record that can include that person’s favourite song along with a recording of the actual person themselves, if it’s available. Just another unique way that we can memorialize a person’s life!

Keep the questions coming to jason@crestonvalleyfuneralservices.ca!

READ MORE: Ask Your Funeral Director: Why do people wear black for funerals?

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