If a loved one hasn’t designated their preference before death, the decision between a burial and a cremation may be one of the most important after-death choices a person will make. While burial is a more traditional method, cremation is increasing in popularity every year. There are a number of reasons for this, but it ultimately comes down to a personal decision that you have to make with the important people in your life. Here are some factors to consider when deciding between burial and cremation.
Cremation is cheaper than burial because it doesn’t require embalming or the purchase of a casket. When trying to decide between cremation and burial, you need to look at your budget. The costs of cremation and burial depend on your location, but cremations through a funeral home average between $2,000 and $4,000. The average cost of a funeral in the US is upwards of $7,000. This is a large difference, but there are ways to make a funeral more cost-effective, and there are also ways to spend more on a cremation. Remember that cremation is not a substitute for a funeral, as you still need to find a permanent place for the remains (often in an urn). Call around to get prices for cremations and funerals in your area, but make sure you’re asking the right questions.
Religion and Culture
The religion and culture of the deceased’s family will play a major role in the decision between cremation and burial. Until 1963, the practice of cremation was outlawed by the Catholic church, and burial is still preferred. Orthodox Judaism, Islam, and the Eastern Orthodox Church still disallow cremation, but most other religions accept the process. Some religions, like Hinduism, have historically practiced cremation and believe it to be an integral part of moving the soul into the next life.
It’s important to consider not only your own beliefs, but also those of the deceased. This can sometimes be difficult if the deceased wanted something that doesn’t align with the beliefs of the family, but it’s important to balance all perspectives.
Many people choose cremation over burial because it saves land space, which has become a precious resource in recent years because of industrialization. There are environmental concerns for both arrangements: some worry about public hygiene with burials, and others worry about the emission of gases during cremation. Stay informed and actively research the impacts of both burial and cremation to consider this element in your decision.
One very common reason that family chooses cremation is because of the flexibility it provides. Centuries ago, we didn’t move around much and often were born, raised, and died in the same town. Thus local, family burial plots were very popular. In modern times, many children live away from their roots and cremation provides a location-independent way to memorialize a person, whereas burial requires a location-specific cemetery. If your family has a family grave plot, traditional burial might be your preference. If your family is spread throughout the country (or the world) cremation might provide a more appropriate means of disposition. We have an upcoming blog post about the logistics of traveling with bodies and cremated remains that we will link here when it is published.
Cremation and burial are the most common methods of disposition but they aren’t the only options. As of 2011, over 200 people were being stored in a cryonic chamber with the hopes that they could be revived in the future. A Georgia-based company called Eternal Reefs will mix human cremains with concrete and position them in the ocean for coral reef restoration. Other options include natural burial, space burial, and resomation (dissolving of tissues).
Regardless of what you decide, your choice will be the right one, because only you can make it. Each disposition option has pros and cons and your decision is a personal and individual one. For more information about cremation and burial, contact the Hutchison Funeral Home.
Posted on 9/12/2016 at 3:50:00 AM