Have you thought about whether you want a coffin keepsake? This is a very broad term, but is essentially any personal item that you want to have sealed inside the coffin with you. A Welsh newspaper surveyed a few funeral homes to discover the curious items that people have requested as keepsakes. These range from the logical (a wedding dress) to the odd (a Chinese takeaway). When arranging a loved one's funeral, should you consider adding a coffin keepsake?
Choosing a Keepsake
The keepsake itself should be small and personal. There should be some symbolism attached to the item. It could be the flag of their birth country, a book that meant a great deal to them or even something as simple as a photo of their family. It's essentially an item that you know your loved one would have appreciated being included. By no means is a keepsake essential, and it's a matter of preference — which in this case means if you and other family members think it would be an appropriate touch. There is, however, a common scenario when a keepsake cannot be included.
Cremation and Keepsakes
Funeral services are followed by a burial or a cremation. Coffin keepsakes are not generally possible with cremation, even if the item in question can be safely incinerated. Cremation chambers are intended for human remains within an appropriate (wooden) container, and nothing else. Even though the risk of the item disrupting the cremation process is extremely low, the priority must be the safe and efficient cremation of your loved one. Instead of placing a keepsake inside the coffin, consider placing it on the coffin lid during the service.
Burial and Keepsakes
It's certainly possible (and even perhaps appropriate) for a loved one to be laid to rest with a symbolic keepsake in their coffin. However, you don't have free rein to include whatever you and your family members might like. The size of the item plays a role, simply due to available space (which is why a keepsake should be small). Some possible keepsakes might not be permitted, although this depends on any specific local legislation about burying these items. This can be applicable when the item has the potential to contaminate surrounding soil. Ask your chosen funeral director for guidance if you're unsure.
Not everyone is laid to rest with a keepsake, but it can be a way of laying your loved one to rest with something that symbolises a treasured memory. Contact your local funeral director to learn what their guidelines are.