Pros and Cons of Cremation

July 22, 2019

When it comes to selecting services for a deceased loved one, there are two main options available that families will need to look at; Cremation and Burial. Cremation is not an easy subject to think about. Cremation is the new trend to final disposition and over 60% of the world’s population choose cremation over burial. The most used phrase funeral directors hear about cremation is, “It’s cheaper. Dad didn’t want us to spend money on this.” In reality, there are so many other reasons to either agree or disagree upon cremation. Our funeral directors here at Altmeyer Funeral Home will understand all of your concerns with funeral arrangements; but we focus on providing as much knowledge and education to you and your family before you make this big decision. Families are concerned about the differences between the two options of burial vs cremation. There can be many aspects in your decision making; budget, religion, closure, level of personalization, etc. The best way to make your final decision regarding funeral services is to educate yourself upon it. I have created a detailed list of pros and cons if you decide to go down the pathway towards cremation. This will help guide you in your decision for celebrating your loved one’s legacy and memories and deciding if cremation is the right choice for you and your family.

 

PROS:

  1. You can still have a viewing/funeral before cremation.
    1. This keeps the funeral somewhat traditional. Your friends and family can visit during the visitation, view your loved one in a casket, and have a funeral with the body present. With that being said, it can give you and your family some closure with the passing. It will feel more like a conservative funeral rite. Once the service is over, the cremation can proceed days later.
  2. Less expensive than burial.
    1. This is the honest truth that everyone understands. Cremation is cheaper than burial simply because you are not choosing a casket or cemetery plot. However, the costs can differentiate with your choice of urns or services.
  3. It takes up less land and helps with overcrowding.
    1. Cemeteries have been around for centuries. The majority of the cemeteries are beginning to become overcrowded or running out of space for future burials. With cremation, you can keep your loved ones remains with you, scatter their ashes, bury them at sea in a coral reef, or bury them at the cemetery. Even if you decide to bury your loved one’s ashes at the cemetery, the urn vault is significantly smaller than a burial vault.
  4. Cremains are portable; can be transferred into other urns.
    1. The beauty with cremation is that you can take your loved one’s ashes with you anywhere. Let’s say you decide upon an urn at the time of passing… What if you like another urn later? You can simply take the urns to the funeral home and they can transfer the cremains. The options are unlimited. You can also divide the cremains into other urns for other family members or friends.
  5. Families have more time deciding on where the ashes will go.
    1. During your time of grief and pain, it is very challenging to make any type of decision. If you decide upon cremation, you and your family will have much more time to plan on your loved one’s final resting place. Burials are time sensitive and usually completed within a week; whereas a cremation can give you more time to breathe and relax. You can always scatter ashes or bury an urn; however, with burial you are more pressured on time.
  6. Less details to plan for a service.
    1. Memorial services in general do not require as much planning as a burial/funeral service. Also, you can plan a memorial service months later upon initial passing. With memorial services, you don’t need to schedule a funeral procession or a graveside service at the cemetery. It may allow you more time to think about how you want to personalize your loved one’s celebration of life.

 

 

CONS:

  1. It is a permanent choice of disposition.
    1. Cremation is such an irreversible form of disposition. The best example I can provide is if the death was due to a tragedy, most of the time families want answers from the Medical Examiners and local police. If your loved one is cremated, there is no physical body for the police to examine as evidence. If someone was buried, the police can exhume the grave (meaning they can take the body out of the ground) to further their investigation.
  2. It may be against some religions.
    1. Throughout history, some religions have rules where they are prohibited from cremation, or they stray away it. Traditionally, Catholics were opposed to cremation. Today, they still prefer the body be present during the funeral mass, but will allow cremation as long as the ashes are buried. Another religion that strictly prohibits cremation is Eastern Orthodox. If your loved one was religious and you are unsure about the religious aspect of cremation, it is always best to call a local church as ask.
  3. Cremation provides limited closure.
    1. I had a professor in college who was adamant about spending some final time your loved one, whether you are choosing cremation or burial. That closure helps with the healing process. When you spend that final moment with your loved one, it gives you that sense of reality. I have worked with a number of families that just want cremation
      and no services. Later, they are regretful for not being able to see their loved one. With cremation, it does not give you as much closure in grieving compared to a full burial funeral.
  4. It can cause family tension.
    1. Unfortunately, some families do disagree upon the final decisions of disposition. It can cause tension between other family members if one child wants cremation and the other wants burial. Another issue comes with the distribution of the ashes. Who gets to keep the ashes? All of these decisions can cause families to feud. It may be harder
    2.  for one family member to mourn than another due to the nature of cremation.
  5. Cremation can be hard to explain to children.
    1. Children often need to understand death tangibly. This includes seeing their deceased love one and being taught the truth behind death. The best way children will learn is to witness the passing and not being sheltered from it. Cremation can be harder for kids to understand because that closure of seeing their loved one may not be available. They may not understand the reality of death if they do not get the opportunity to experience it with their own eyes. They need to grieve in their own way as adults do.

 

 

There are several factors when it comes to making a final decision about your loved one. Keep these different aspects in your thoughts when choosing cremation vs. burial. Remember that the funeral director is there to answer any of your questions you may have.  Every family has reasons why they choose cremation or burial, but it depends upon your personal needs or wants. The guide will also help you plan your own funeral service later in the future; it may save your family from the stress caused by planning a funeral. In summary, cremation allows you to still provide personalization in celebrating the life of your loved one. It is significantly less expensive than burial, but it can add up with all of the extras you choose. Some religions may prohibit cremation and will not allow a member to be cremated. Cremation is also safer for the environment and takes up less space than burial. Because a memorial service does not have as much to plan for, it can be easier for families who live further away. On the downside of cremation, it can be extremely difficult to properly mourn and obtain closure if you do not view your loved one or have a service. Cremation is ultimately an irreversible form of disposition. Some families say they want “direct cremation” and later regret making that decision because they did not see their loved one in a peaceful state. It can cause tension between feuding families and it is rough on children to understand death. This decision is personal, but we hope this blog has helped you make the right one for you and your family. As always, call us if you ever have any questions.

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