Choosing the right way to say goodbye is never easy. Here we outline a few benefits of cremation versus burial and other rituals.
The number of people who choose cremation over burial continues to grow each year. More Americans now pick an urn over a casket for their final rites, with over 53% choosing cremation in 2018. This trend is expected to continue to grow, with cremation being the choice of 2/3 of the population by 2030.
However, the idea of cremation is still novel to many people. Some people and cultures remain critical of this process.
Whether you’re planning a service for a loved one or making this decision for your end-of-life planning, there are many benefits of cremation to consider.
What is the best way to say goodbye? There is probably no “best” funeral ritual, but there are benefits and disadvantages to weigh. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of this funeral process.
What is Cremation?
Cremation is a method of final disposition of human remains. While burial is a commonly understood practice, cremation is not as widely known. At the end of the cremation process, only a fine dust, or ash, remains.
There are two main methods of cremation. The first, most common method, is burning the body at high heat. This process leaves the bones behind, which are pulverized and returned to the mourners as ash.
A second cremation method is becoming more popular for its gentler and more eco-friendly process. This method is also known as alkaline hydrolysis, and effectively uses water, heat, and pressure to reduce the body to its elements, leaving only bone ash behind.
Benefits of Cremation
Cremation has a lot to recommend it, from its price to its adaptability and eco-friendliness. Let’s look at the details below.
It’s Cost Efficient
The most obvious pro for cremation is its economical price tag. A traditional burial will cost, on average, up to $12,000. An average cremation runs about half that amount, between $6,000 and $7,000. In some cases, the cost of cremation can be a fraction of that amount.
It’s More Environmentally Friendly
Relative to burial, cremation has a smaller footprint on the environment. Traditional burial introduces embalming chemicals, while cemeteries take up swaths of land. Cremation avoids these environmental tolls.
There are simply fewer decisions needed when choosing cremation. From a casket to a land plot, cremation doesn’t demand as many decisions during a difficult time.
Planning a Memorial Service vs. Funeral
A funeral has fairly prescribed rites and is usually held within a short time after the death. With cremation, the remains can be kept until a time when all friends and family members can gather to memorialize the deceased. This allows more freedom, especially when people who want to attend live far away.
It Offers Other Non-Traditional Options
Not everyone wants to have the traditional funeral service and burial rites. Many of us will seek out non-traditional options and ways to carry on the memories of those who have passed away. Cremation allows for ashes to be kept in new and creative ways like planting a tree or cremation jewelry.
But Traditions Can Still Be Honored
Even so, tradition can still be upheld even when choosing cremation. An open casket funeral is still an option, with religious rites included. Those who are choosing cremation for cost or environmental reasons can still honor family wishes and religious traditions.
Cremation Can Be Free
If you’re willing to donate your body to science, you will receive a cremation free of cost. In this case, medical students will study your remains and perhaps your cause of death. You can provide a final act of charity for science and a costless disposition of your remains for your family.
Disadvantages of Cremation
Though cremation has a lot to recommend it, there are some downsides that need to be considered. Let’s take a look at some of the cons that are often discussed around cremation.
Religious and Traditional Considerations
Not every religion is open to the idea of this type of disposal of final remains. Though at least one religion – Hinduism – mandates cremation, many other faiths have differing opinions as well as cultural acceptance levels.
You’re Less Likely to Have a Headstone
Many people who choose cremation also decide to have their ashes scattered or stored in another artifact. In these cases, there is no public grave site for mourners to visit. This fact may dissuade some from cremation, though there’s always the possibility of burying or interring ashes in a family plot or mausoleum.
Finality of the Final Disposition
The fact is, there is no going back from cremation. With a burial, a body could possibly be exhumed for various reasons at a future time. The finality of this process can be daunting for some making this decision.
Disputes About Ashes
The hope is that family members come together at a time of mourning, but it’s not always the case. Some loved ones might want to scatter the ashes, while others think it’s better to bury them or keep them in an urn. Sometimes there is a dispute over what kind of final resting place cremated remains should have.
Curious About Cremation Options?
Whether you’re trying to make a choice for yourself or the cremation of a loved one, this decision is a challenging one. Planning ahead is a great way to save your family from having to make these decisions for you at the time of your passing. This can save a lot of heartache – and headache.
We hope this information about the benefits of cremation can help in your decision-making process. If you have more questions or would like to learn more about this end-of-life option, contact us today.