"I want to be cremated."
In the last week of July 1998, my wife, Jan, was entering the final days of her life. We talked about what she wanted to happen at her funeral. She wanted to wear her wedding dress with her favorite butterfly broach pinned to her shoulder. She wanted to wear her glasses. She wanted her pewter cross hanging around her neck.
She wanted to be cremated. And rather than have a funeral before burial, she wanted a service of the resurrection held after the cremation.
All this was done exactly as she wanted. Afterward, I needed a place to bury her ashes. Cemetery burial was too expensive, and I didn't have the desire to spread her ashes in a secluded area.
It was then that I learned about the cremation gardens at St. John, Summit, and Faith, New Providence, metropolitan Lutheran churches in New Jersey. Ashes are buried on church grounds; a nearby plaque displays the names of the deceased.
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