Are You an Ideal Candidate for Cremation?
The debate of whether it is better to choose cremation over burial is one that has the potential to divide families and make funeral planning difficult. Unless the deceased was clear about his or her wishes or made advance funeral plans, chances are there will be some family members who feel strongly about cremation—and just as many who feel strongly about burial.
With growing awareness that cremation saves both money and the impact of death on the environment, it is an increasingly popular choice in the funeral industry. But that does not mean it’s for everyone. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine if cremation is right for you or for your loved ones.
- Is it important for you to have a body viewing or wake? Whether for personal or religious reasons, you may need to see the body to find closure. Although it is possible to have both a body viewing and cremation, most people who choose embalming and an open casket also opt for burial.
- Do you need a physical place to mourn? An urn on a mantle or in a columbarium does not always carry the same significance as visiting a cemetery and headstone. If you want a physical place to mourn and place flowers, you may want to choose burial (in some cases, you can also bury the urn and visit the deceased that way).
- How important is a green funeral? Do you care deeply about the environment and want to simplify your burial process? Cremation is considered a more eco-friendly alternative to burial, especially if you forgo much of the traditional funeral ceremonies.
- Will your family be moving in the future? A family with long-lasting roots in the community might take pride in having family members buried in a local cemetery. However, if you are a traveler or might not remain in a city forever, cremation provides a way to take the deceased with you wherever you go.
- What is your funeral budget? There are ways to have an inexpensive burial (direct burial or skipping things like embalming and high-end caskets), but most cremations will save you money over the long run. If you do not have funds set aside, cremation can allow you to say your goodbyes with dignity without putting a strain on your finances.
- What does the family want? While you might not harbor strong feelings regarding burial versus cremation, your family might. Funerals tend to be more for the living than for the deceased, so ask about the wishes of those closest to you. Taking their preferences into account can reduce much of the emotional strain.
These days, there is no reason why you can’t plan a funeral your way. By taking a little time to plan ahead, you can come up with the best plan of action for your life and simplify your family’s struggles when the unfortunate time comes.