Deciding between Cremation and Burial

We will all be confronted someday with the thoughts and decisions about what happens to our bodies when we pass on. Death is as much a part of life as is birth. In life we must confront choices, as in death. Honoring the body of our loved ones upon their death is as old a tradition as any other in the human experience. We have different ways to pay respect, but the respect is the same. And yet we often find this topic too uncomfortable to discuss, and so our final wishes may be unknown.  

Talk about it with family members

What are your wishes? Does your family know? Have you considered the options available?

These may not be Sunday dinner conversations, but they are important ones to have. If you do not let your loved ones know whether you would like to be cremated or buried, they will have to make the decision for you. Isn’t it better that they know what you want so they can honor you and your wishes when the time comes?

Making the decision to be cremated or buried

Some people will have an immediate inclination, and some will need to weigh out the options. Religious beliefs come into play. Does your religion have some doctrine that you might want to consider? It may be helpful in that case to speak to your rabbi or minister or priest. If, for example, you intend to have a Cristian burial in a Catholic Church, you will want to know if you can also be cremated.  

Do you need to consider the wishes of a spouse or your children? Do you have a family plot already picked out? Do you have environmental concerns, and want the most eco friendly option. There are so many things that go into this decision, and in the end, its final.

Choosing Cremation

Why would someone choose cremation over burial? There are many factors. Some might look at the cost of cremation versus the cost of burial. Cremation can be considerably less expensive. Beyond the cost, some people think cremation is a way to stay closer to that loved one.The urn of ashes can be kept in your home, or scattered in the place of your choosing. You  have the opportunity to spread your ashes under your favorite rose bush, or off the back of a fishing boat, or in the park where you first laid eyes on the love of your life. Your final resting place can be a place that gave you joy in life. 

There is also the opportunity to turn the cremated remains into a wearable charm so that you will forever be close to your loved ones.  You may find that speaking to a funeral director in your area will help you see all of the options that are available. They are experts and can not only guide you in your decision making, but also assist you to plan for your wishes.

Choosing Burial

Why would someone choose burial over cremation? There are also many factors. Religious considerations can weigh heavy on choosing burial. Many religions favor burial, and many people grew up with these traditional funerals. What is more solemn and dignified than participating in the rite of burial. Traditions like tossing in some earth or laying a flower atop the casket before saying goodbye for the last time give the grieving a sense of participation in the sendoff to eternity. And many times they will return to that burial place to leave flowers, or say a prayer, or just sit and remember the good times. Burial offers a place of memorial, a place of restful sleep. 

There are also green burial options that you can discuss with your funeral director if you are inclined. Remember they are the experts and will guide you.

Plan your funeral

Whichever you decide, cremation or burial, the only way to ensure your wishes are carried out is to plan. Do you want a funeral or memorial service? You can make a plan for that. Contact a local funeral director for their expertise. Speak with your family about your wishes and theirs. These decisions are final, so make sure you are the one that makes them.