Planning a funeral is an emotional time. Whether you’re attending to the details of your own funeral, so your loved ones are prepared, or whether you’re making the final decisions for a departed loved one, it’s up to you to decide between burial and cremation, and weigh the benefits of both, choosing which option is most respectful for you, your loved one, or your family. While this can be a complex or devastating time, attending to the funeral services is a necessary part of laying your loved one to rest.
When making this decision, consider the different aspects of burial and cremation, and the separate benefits each option offers. The two biggest factors will be cost and the wishes of the family, and after taking both of those into consideration, you’ll be closer to understanding which is best for your family.
The cost of cremation is less than burial. Burial requires embalming, casket, headstone, and burial site. Cremation is typically a third of that price, and if you’re choosing burial options for yourself, this fee will relieve a burden from your loved ones.
The other thing to take into consideration is the wishes of your family, and/or your departed loved one. If he or she had a strong desire to be cremated or buried, it will feel most respectful to go with that final wish. If he or she made no specification, it’s up to the remaining relatives to choose which option is best. Many people cherish the last chance to say goodbye at an open coffin, while others prefer to remember the deceased only as they were in life. Cremations can take place after a viewing service, so the option to do both is also available. With burial, embalming is involved, and the burial takes place soon after. With cremation, embalming is often unnecessary, and the burial can take place at your family’s convenience. Especially if a close relative of the deceased is overseas or unable to attend the burial, a cremation offers a delay, allowing them to join the family in time to lay the loved one to rest.
Tradition is also another factor to consider when making this important decision. Cremation is often preferred for its eco-friendliness as well, while burial is preferred as more traditional. If you think your loved one would prefer to have a portion of their ashes scattered, cremation can be a beautiful part of the grieving process. Others will prefer to have a headstone to visit, to know that their loved one is resting peacefully.