When considering the final resting place of a loved one, there are two options: traditional burial and cremation. As the advantages of the latter become more universally known, more people are opting for this process.
Cremation enables people to spend less money in funeral expenses because of the elimination of the embalming step, which involves preparing the body for burial. Embalming is an involved process with a high price tag. Reducing the body to ash also eliminates the need for a traditional casket. Instead, people can choose to have the ashes placed in an alternative container that will usually cost much less.
Traditional burial needs to occur within a tight timeframe to ensure the timely handling of the body. Cremation affords the family some flexibility, especially if distant family needs to travel to attend a service. It is possible to proceed with the incineration but put off a service until a later and undetermined date.
After burying a deceased family member, this gravesite will remain the permanent resting place for the departed. Cremation enables family members to keep the ashes with them if they relocate at a later time.
The slow decomposition of a body in a casket can be distasteful and undignified. If the body is cremated, however, it can avoid this slow return to the Earth and receive a fast and clean disposal. Family members may find this a comforting alternative.
Some people assume that the choice to cremate precludes a funeral or memorial service. However, this is incorrect. After preparation of the ashes, the funeral home assists the family with placing the ashes into an urn or container of their choosing. Then, the service can occur in much the same way as a typical funeral with a casket.
Final Resting Place
After the service, the ashes may be buried or entombed. Ashes can also be scattered in a place with special relevance to the deceased, or kept in a loved one’s home, possibly on a shelf or a mantle.
Concerns abound about the burden of cemeteries on the Earth because of the amount of land used to bury the deceased. Even those who choose to bury after cremation will use much less land. Another environmental concern is that chemicals from embalmed bodies enter the soil and water supplies during decomposition. A balanced analysis considers the fact that incineration involves the emission of greenhouse gases into the environment; however, this can be reduced by requesting the removal of silver-mercury fillings from teeth before the process.
As this process is irreversible, all options need to be carefully considered. Anyone who decides that they wish to be cremated should consider how their family will feel about it. When moving forward, place this wish in writing to inform survivors.