When a family loses a loved one, the discussion of how to proceed with the burial becomes a major decision that must be made pretty quickly. The question of whether to use a cremation service or a traditional burial often arises. Both have contributing factors that impact why you would select one over the other. There are a few aspects surrounding memorial services, the person who passed, and your family’s beliefs you’ll want to consider when thinking about cremation.
What is cremation?
A good place to begin is understanding what the cremation process looks like. Thinking about cremation during your time of need is not the ideal way to learn about the process. The basics for modern cremation services began nearly 2,000 years ago. The process reduces the body down to ash through exposure to open flames, evaporation, and intense heat. All of this takes place in a specially designed furnace known as a retort or cremation chamber.
Most cremation providers require a container for the body to be cremated with. This can be a simple as a cardboard box or as fancy as an urn. After the body goes into the furnace, the remains (commonly known as ashes) are harvested. These are mainly bone fragments and typically weigh anywhere from three to ten pounds. The weight depends on the process and size of the remains. Before the remains are given to the family, any excess metal is removed, and the ashes are ground. Once this takes place, they are transferred to an urn if one is provided by the family or to a temporary container. The greatest care is taken during the process to make sure the deceased is treated with dignity and respect.
What was the nature of your loved one’s passing?
Now that you have a general understanding of the process, another factor you’ll want to consider before moving forward with cremation is how the deceased passed on. If the cause of death was violent, like a motorcycle crash can be, and leaves the victim with a head injury that has deformed the face, you might want to consider cremation. There are several factors in motorcycle fatalities that could cause the result of a collision to be gruesome.
Stationary objects are a common reason why a motorcycle accident may be more severe than a motor vehicle crash. In this case, helmet use protects the rider, while airbags and seat bets protect the driver. Sadly, a motorcyclist has a higher rate of fatality in a crash than those in passenger vehicles, simply because they are a motorcycle rider. Alcohol use also is an issue in fatal motorcycle crashes. All road users may sustain a severe injury when driving under the influence, but the risk factors for a motorcycle rider are higher. Motorcycle accidents also inflict more damage onto the individual. When the severity of damage to the body is great, often an open casket funeral is discouraged. It reminds those who are mourning of the nature of the passing, instead of the memory of the loved one.
What were the wishes of the deceased?
Hopefully, before your loved one dies you will have a general idea of how they envisioned their funeral service. This includes which funeral home they’d like to use if they would want to have an open-casket viewing if they wanted to be cremated, or even which clothes they wanted to be buried in. Some people have clothing or footwear they really love, like a pair of extra wide calf black boots. If these are the knee boots that symbolize that person’s style, it might be the right choice to use them at a viewing. Taking these wide calf boots into the afterlife is something they’d want to do. Knowing these types of wishes will help determine what direction you take their services.
What is the cost of the service?
Probably the biggest factor in determining the type of funeral services is the price tag. Often, but not always, the cost of a burial tends to be higher. For traditional burials, some of the costs you will have to pay for include:
- Preparation of the body
- Transportation of body
- Staff and facility fees for viewing and funeral
- Memorial prints
- Grave plot or a burial vault
There are sometimes other fees, such as an opening and closing cost, or a hearse rental fee. All of these can easily end up costing more than $10,000. What you’ll want to consider with cremation is whether you’ll do a direct cremation or have a viewing. If you have a viewing, you’ll incur many of the costs of burial and the costs of cremation on top of them. When dealing with a direct cremation service, the body is cremated directly after death, and you never deal with a funeral director. Additionally, you don’t have a service, and you often scatter the ashes somewhere in lieu of a gravesite. All of these issues should be considered when making your decision about cremation.