Families have dozens of decisions that must be made when planning a funeral, cremation, or memorial service. And they need to start by answering this simple question: Which is better, traditional burial or cremation?
This question can have a lot of different answers based on:
- Your family’s traditions and religious beliefs
- Environmental considerations
- Cost considerations
- How best to give family members closure with the lost loved one
Traditional burials can be very expensive, especially if the arrangements have not been planned and paid for in advance (pre-planning). When making a choice between traditional burial and cremation, you will first want to consider religious tenets. The Catholic Church encourages burial, but cremation is OK. Protestants do not dictate what is done with the remains. And Judaism requires returning the body to earth as soon as possible. Many other religions are now requiring burial rather cremation as well.
There are people who ask to be cremated and their remains interred in or beneath a tree. At a time in our history when the environment is so important, this can be a conservation-friendly choice, and it provides a special opportunity for the healing of loved ones (see www.beterplaceforest.com).
Cost is a priority for many families as well. Cremation is typically less expensive than a traditional burial because it avoids the expense of embalming, casket, and memorial service, which includes a chapel and related goods and services.
As you read this blog, you should begin to think about how much you would like to spend on your own funeral services, and consider what you can plan now, such as final resting place, prepaying funeral expenses, internment details, and estate planning, which could include setting funds aside for your children’s college education.
As the Scout Motto says, it’s important to “Be prepared.” You are the one who can best decide how you want to be remembered and how best to honor your family’s preferences. Once you have a plan, you should share it with your loved ones so they know your wishes and will be ready to play their part when the time comes. This is so much better than leaving your family with the burden of making all the decisions under pressure after you’re gone.