Not many people want to think about final disposition methods or funerals. But death is a part of life, and whether a person is planning one’s own funeral or a family is planning a service for a deceased loved one, a disposition method has to be chosen. The most common choices are cremation and burial. Today, more and more people are choosing cremation because of the benefits it can offer.
Lower funeral expenses
One of the biggest reasons more people are choosing cremation is because it costs less than a burial. In 2016, 50.2% of Americans chose cremation, and cost was one of the main reasons for this decision. It’s no secret that funeral costs and other expenses can quickly add up. For a burial, the plot of land and the casket must be purchased. Cremation costs include the cremation services and an urn if desired. If no financial arrangements for a funeral were made before a death, then families may opt for cremation to save on funeral expenses.
Loved ones can keep the ashes
A common choice after cremation is for someone, or several people, to keep some of the ashes. Rather than having to drive to a cemetery to visit a loved one, family members can have a part of them right in their homes. This can often be comforting for people, especially if they end up moving far away and wouldn’t be able to visit their loved one’s grave frequently. Ashes can even be made into jewelry or art, which can be truly special. Or if family members don’t want to keep the ashes, they can spread them somewhere with significant meaning — a favorite spot or even the ocean can be meaningful areas for the loved one’s ashes to be spread. Either way, being able to keep the ashes after cremation services are completed allows loved ones to do as they see fit with the remains.
Less of an impact on the environment
If someone is particularly passionate about their impact on the environment, then cremation is likely the way to go. When someone chooses to be buried, or their family members make the decision, land will be dug up for the burial. Many cemeteries span a large area, which takes land away from nature. Additionally, most bodies that are buried are embalmed with a formaldehyde-based fluid, and that chemical is bad for the environment. Cremation requires no land use, and ashes can even be made to help plant trees — overall, cremation is considered the “greener” option.
Leaves flexibility for services
Whether someone is buried or cremated, most family members choose to have some sort of service for loved ones to come together to cherish their memories of the deceased. But when someone chooses to be buried, the burial has to happen soon after the death. The body starts to decompose relatively quickly, so burials generally occur within a few days of the passing. But when someone is cremated, there is usually more flexibility for when the service takes place. The body can be cremated, and then the family can decide when to have the memorial service or funeral, which can happen within a few days or weeks. This also gives loved ones more time to process their grief and make arrangements as needed.
Making the decision between burial and cremation is not an easy choice and should not be rushed. But all in all, cremation can offer many benefits over burial and can still give family members and loved one closure and time to process their grief as needed.
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