Choosing Above-Ground Burial
For most people, discussing or choosing burial means literally that—burying the remains of a loved one in the ground. Most cemeteries are filled with rows and rows of graves of the dearly departed, all of whom have been laid to rest six feet underground. This is such a common and accepted tradition of laying a loved one to rest that it is rarely questioned as the best—if not the only—burial choice.
However, at many cemeteries above-ground burial is also an option (in fact, it is the only kind of burial in areas located below sea level or in flood plains).
Family Mausoleums and Crypts
The most well known option for above-ground burial includes entombment in a family mausoleum or crypt, which is a large, stone structure with space for multiple members of a family to be laid to rest. These are found standing within cemeteries the world over, offering a beautiful and elegant way to memorialize the family name. Because of their size and the fact that they can be used over and over again, they come at a higher price than a more traditional burial, but this is an upfront cost that is much less burdensome on future generations.
Not all cemeteries have the space or ability to erect a mausoleum, so it is important to find a cemetery that can accommodate your needs. It is also a good idea to start planning one well in advance, since the building of the structure can take some time.
Wall Crypt Options
If you cannot afford, or do not have access to, a family mausoleum, there are ways you can still opt for above-ground burial. Many cemeteries offer something called a “mausoleum wall crypt,” which is a large, public building that houses the remains of families and individuals in much the same way as a more traditional cemetery. Like buying a grave plot, you purchase one small portion of this wall, behind which the remains of your loved one will be laid to rest. You can then engrave and decorate that portion of the wall like a headstone, including quotes, names, and important dates. You can also visit your loved one at regular intervals – and often in a well-lit, climate-controlled space that is open year-round.
Wall crypts also have cremation niches available to those who choose cremation but would like a more formal place to visit and mourn.