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Pros and Cons of Cremation

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When making funeral plans for a deceased loved one, two main options are available for families: Cremation and Burial. Cremation is not an easy subject to think about.

Cremation is currently trending in the United States, and over sixty percent of the world’s population chooses cremation over burial. The most used phrase funeral directors hear about cremation is, “It’s cheaper. Mom didn’t want us to spend money on this.” 

Cremation vs. Burial PROS: 

1. You can still have a viewing/funeral before cremation.

  • This keeps the funeral somewhat the same as a traditional burial. Your friends and family can visit during the visitation, view your loved one in a casket, and have a funeral with the body present.
  • It can give you and your family some closure with the passing. It will feel more like a conservative funeral rite. Once the service is over, the cremation can proceed days later.

2. Cremation is less expensive than burial.

  • Casket Burial is more expensive than cremation cost because you need to choose a casket or cemetery plot. However, the costs can differ with your choice of urns or services.

3. Cremation uses less land and helps with overcrowding.

  • Cemeteries have been around for centuries. Many of the cemeteries are beginning to become overcrowded or running out of space for future burials while other families are interested in green burials.
  • With cremation, you can keep your loved ones remains with you, scatter their ashes, and bury them at sea in a coral reef or at the cemetery. Even if you decide to bury your loved one’s ashes at the cemetery, the urn vault is significantly smaller than a burial vault.

4. Cremated remains are portable and can be transferred into other urns.

  • The beauty of cremation is that you can take your loved one’s ashes with you anywhere. Let’s say you decide upon an urn at the time of passing.
  • Some people may want another urn later. You can take the urns to the funeral home, and they can transfer the cremains. The options are unlimited.
  • You can also divide the cremated remains into other urns for family members or friends. There is even an option for cremation jewelry.

5. Families have more time deciding on where the ashes will go.

  • It is very challenging to make any decision during your time of grief and pain. If you decide upon cremation, you and your family will have much more time to plan exactly what you would like to do. Burials are time sensitive and usually completed within a week.
  • In contrast, a cremation can give you more time to breathe and relax and decide what to do with the cremated remains. You can always scatter ashes or bury an urn; however, with burial, you are more pressured on time.

6. There are fewer details to plan for a service.

  • Memorial services generally do not require as much planning as a burial/funeral service. Also, you can plan a memorial service months later upon initial passing.
  • With memorial services, you don’t need to schedule a funeral procession or a graveside service at the cemetery. It may allow you more time to think about how you want to personalize your loved one’s celebration of life. 

Cremation vs. Burial CONS:

1. It is a permanent choice of disposition.

  • Cremation is such an irreversible form of disposition. The best example I can provide is if the death was due to a tragedy, most of the time, families want answers from the Medical Examiner and local police.
  • If your loved one is cremated, there is no physical body for the police to examine as evidence. If someone was buried, the police could exhume the grave (meaning they could take the body out of the ground) to further their investigation.

2. It may be against some religions.

  • Throughout history, some religions have had rules where they are prohibited from cremation or stray away from it. Traditionally, Catholics were opposed to cremation. They still prefer the body to be present during the funeral mass.
  • Still, they will allow cremation if the ashes are buried. Another religion that strictly prohibits cremation is Eastern Orthodox. Suppose your loved one is religious, and you are unsure about the religious aspect of cremation. In that case, calling a local church and asking is always best.

3. Cremation provides limited closure.

  • Whether you choose cremation or burial, spending some final time with your loved one is essential. That closure helps with the healing process. When you spend that final moment with your loved one, it gives you that sense of reality.
  • Those families that want cremation and no services find out later that they are regretful for not being able to see their loved one. Cremation does not give you as much closure in grieving as a full burial funeral.

4. It can cause family tension.

  • Unfortunately, some families do disagree with the final decisions of disposition. It can cause tension between other family members if one child wants cremation and the other wants burial. Another issue comes with the distribution of the ashes.
  • You can decide who gets to keep the ashes. All these decisions can cause families to feud. It may be more challenging for one family member to mourn than another due to the nature of cremation.

5. Cremation and death of a loved one can be hard to explain to children.

  • Children often need to understand death tangibly. This includes seeing their deceased loved one and being taught the truth behind the death. The best way children will learn is to witness the passing and not be sheltered from it.
  • Cremation can be more challenging for kids to understand because the closure of seeing their loved one may not be available. They may not understand the reality of death if they do not get the opportunity to experience it with their own eyes. They need to grieve in their own way, as adults do.

Green Burial

A green burial, also known as a natural burial or eco-friendly burial, is an environmentally conscious approach to burial that minimizes the impact on the Earth and encourages the decomposition of the body in a natural way.

It is an alternative to conventional burials using concrete vaults, which often involve embalming, using non-biodegradable materials, and maintaining manicured lawns in cemeteries.

The body is typically placed directly in the ground without embalming in a green burial. This allows the body to decompose and return to the earth naturally.

Using biodegradable materials, such as a simple wooden coffin or biodegradable casket, or a shroud made from natural fibers, is encouraged. The burial site is often chosen in a natural setting, such as a meadow or a forest, rather than a traditional cemetery.

The benefits of green burial include:

  1. Environmental Conservation: Green burials aim to reduce the environmental impact of traditional burial practices. Green burials help preserve natural resources, minimize carbon emissions, and protect ecosystems by avoiding embalming chemicals, non-biodegradable coffins, and concrete burial vaults.
  2. Natural Decomposition: Green burials promote the body’s natural decomposition, allowing it to return to the soil and contribute to the ecosystem. This process facilitates the recycling of nutrients and supports the growth of plants and wildlife.
  3. Cost-effectiveness: Green burials can be more affordable compared to conventional burials, as they often involve simpler and less expensive materials and procedures. This can make them an appealing option for those looking for a more budget-friendly choice.
  4. Emotional Connection to Nature: Green burials allow individuals and their loved ones to be laid to rest in a natural setting, creating a closer connection to the environment. This can offer a sense of peace and comfort for those who appreciate nature.

It’s important to note that green burial practices may vary depending on local regulations and cemetery policies. Suppose you are interested in pursuing a green burial. In that case, it is advisable to research and consult with Jeff Monreal Funeral Home to learn more about eco-friendly burial options.

There are many paths to change the way we approach end of life and after-death decisions. The Green Burial Council provides direction. Choosing unimpeded burial and the time-honored rituals that go with family-centered graveside funerals is one of them. 

Other Factors

There are several factors when making a final decision about your loved one. Keep these different aspects in your thoughts when choosing cremation vs. burial. Remember that the funeral director is there to answer any of your questions. It is a personal decision and every family has reasons for choosing cremation or burial, but it depends on your needs or wants. 

In summary, cremation allows you to still provide personalization in celebrating the life of your loved one. It is significantly less expensive than burial but can add up with all the extras you choose. 

Some religions may prohibit cremation and will not allow a member to be cremated. Cremation is also safer for the environment and takes up less space than burial. Because a memorial service has less to plan for, it can be easier for families who live further away. On the downside of cremation, it can be challenging to properly mourn and obtain closure if you do not view your loved one or have a service.

Jeff Monreal, our Funeral Director here at Jeff Monreal Funeral Home, understands your concerns with funeral arrangements. We focus on providing as much knowledge and education to you and your family before you make this big decision.  

If cremation services are something you would like to discuss, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. We are only one phone call away from providing peace of mind and excellent service. Contact us to start planning for your family.

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