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Different Burial Customs and How They Help You Grieve


Grieving Process

Posted On: Jan 10, 2017

Different Burial Customs and How They Help You Grieve

In the United States, at least, there are several common burial customs with details and nuances that change depending on the religion—or lack thereof—of the departed. We think of these customs in the abstract, if at all, and consider them as things that we must do for the person who has passed on, and as a means to give mourners an opportunity to say goodbye. While those things are unquestionably necessary, the method you choose can also have a tremendous impact on the way you grieve your loss. It's worth considering how the following common customs will affect your grieving journey.

A Standard Burial Offers a Permanent Place

One of the most popular customs is an actual burial, wherein the body of the departed is lovingly interred in a cemetery, which may or may not have a connection to the person's religion. That being said, religion is not a requirement for burial in most cemeteries. Although the rites that take place may have religious overtones, that isn't a requirement, either.

The most important aspect of this custom as it relates to your grieving is that you have a place to go. Following a burial, there is a spot to visit—a headstone, a plaque, a crypt, a mausoleum. You can go there to mourn, to talk to your loved one, or to sit quietly and breathe. This can help you grieve by offering you a space that is still occupied by your loved one. He or she is still there so, in a manner of speaking, you can still spend time with him or her.

A Standard Cremation Keeps Your Loved One with You

Where a traditional burial provides a permanent spot to visit, a standard cremation keeps your loved one wherever you are. People choose to do different things with the remains of their loved ones following a cremation. There's the option of keeping them in an urn, separating them, turning them into jewelry or another keepsake, burying them, interring them—there's practically no end to the things you can do with this option, nor are you limited to just one choice.

Although you may have a spot you can always visit if you choose to inter any of your loved one's cremains, cremation does not generally offer that particular benefit. However, there is comfort in having part of the departed with you and/or other members of the family. You can create your own space to use when you want to commune with the memory of the special person who passed.

Scattering the Ashes Honors Your Loved One

This deserves its own mention because it is its own unique circumstances. Some people who choose cremation also wish to have their ashes scattered in a special place after they pass. The journey to do so is often cathartic and memorable—and it has to be because that is your chance to say goodbye to the remains of your loved one. This act honors the spirit and wishes of the person who passed on. You are doing it for him or her. Unless you save back a portion of the remains, you won't have a spot or an item to go to when you need to feel close.

Have you considered which custom is the right fit for you?