Cremation or Burial, Making the Choice

Published on February 5, 2013 by

When you are preplanning your funeral, one of your tasks will be choosing what will be done with your body. Will you have a traditional burial in a casket? Will your body be cremated? If so, will your ashes be dispersed or buried?

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These decisions really come down to your personal preference. Here are some things you may want to consider:

Religious traditions: Does your religion permit cremation? How important is that to you? If you choose cremation will there be limits on the options for your memorial service? How will your family and the rest of your community be affected by your choice?

Personal beliefs: What do you believe happens after death? Which method is more aligned with your feelings?

Location: Where would you like to be laid to rest? Keep in mind that it is easier to transport cremated remains rather than a body.

Mourning: Family can be present at either burial or cremation, though some feel that the cremation process may not be as conducive to healing. Others focus less on the question of cremation versus burial, and concentrate on the celebration of life.

Environment: Some people have special concerns about the body laying in the ground, so they choose a steel casket that’s encased in a vault to protect the body from the elements (in some cemeteries a vault is compulsory). Other people choose a more eco-friendly and green burial option.

There are also new environmentally-friendly cremation methods being developed in other parts of the world, such as a funeral home in Florida that uses a green liquid cremation process.

Cost: Burial and cremation each have their own associated costs, set by the funeral home establishment. A cemetery plot for cremated remains may cost less than a plot for a casket burial. Or your family may have already pre-purchased plots.

You will need to purchase a casket or an urn for cremated remains, unless you choose to have your ashes scattered, or provide your own meaningful vessel such as a bottle or box.

Choosing between cremation and burial involves many complex issues. By preplanning and making this decisions ahead of time, you will be giving a gift to the family left behind, so they can concentrate on reflecting on the life you shared together.

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