March 29, 2024

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When many people lose a loved one, they take comfort in knowing that there’s a place they can go to be with them. Cemeteries offer a location where loved ones can gather to be with those who are no longer with them in everyday life. In many ways, choosing to be buried or interred in a cemetery is a gift for those still living as it gives them a place to find you, knowing that you’re never really too far away.

But one thing that’s commonly misunderstood is the fact that cemeteries have many options for your final resting place, whether you’re buried or cremated. If you choose cremation, you may find yourself opting to be laid to rest in a columbarium. But what exactly is a columbarium? And what types of columbariums can you choose from?

What is a columbarium?

A columbarium is a large, above-ground structure in cemeteries with individual niches. It can be a room, an entire building, or simply a wall in a cemetery.

When a loved one passes and is cremated, that person’s cremated remains can be inurned in an urn, which is placed in a niche in the columbarium. The niches are then labeled with who has been laid to rest inside, often with other words of remembrance, just like other monuments over gravesites in the cemetery. Sometimes, other small items, such as a photograph, are also placed with the urn, creating a lovely memorial for someone you’re missing.

What’s the difference between a family and a community columbarium?

Columbariums can be both private and public. Some columbariums are built to house the cremated remains of just one family. These structures are referred to as family columbariums.

However, other columbariums may hold several different families and unrelated individuals. These structures would be considered community columbariums.

Both columbariums serve the same purpose of protecting the urns of your loved ones, providing them with a safe place that keeps them from being damaged by the elements. They also both offer a place for living loved ones to visit when they’re missing someone they love. Columbariums are often surrounded by gardens, foliage, and other tranquil beauty, providing visitors with a peaceful location to pay their respects to their relatives and ancestors.

However, family columbariums offer a location that’s specific to just one family. When you visit a family columbarium, you’ll be surrounded by generations of ancestors, allowing you to pay respects to many people you’ve loved throughout your lifetime during one visit to the cemetery.

Many families take comfort in knowing that they’ll be around those they’ve loved in life when they pass, which is something that a family columbarium can offer that a community columbarium may not be able to.

Both a community columbarium and a family columbarium are beautiful locations that serve as lovely places for loved ones to rest. However, they each offer something a bit different. Speaking with the staff at the cemetery of your choosing can help you pick the right columbarium for your needs and your family’s needs.

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