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What is Better for Your Loved One – Burial or Cremation?


Bereavement Relief

Posted On: Nov 22, 2014

grieving man

               For thousands of years, many cultures and religions across the world accepted burial as the only way to lay a body to rest after the individual had passed away. For a number of reasons, this is changing. More and more individuals are choosing to be cremated instead. Cremation isn’t necessarily new. It has been practiced for hundreds of years and is now the more popular wish for people in Japan, the U.K., Scandinavia, and Continental Europe. So why are people changing their minds on the subject?

                One reason that cremation is becoming more popular is cost. The average funeral cost is about $6,500 to $7,500 nowadays. This includes the expense of the casket, which usually costs around $2,000 on average, although much more expensive options exist. The cost of a burial lot or burial vault can raise this by another $1,000. Cremation is much less expensive. Choosing an option known as direct cremation is the least expensive. Direct cremation includes only the cremation of the body but not any type of memorial service. This option can cost as little as $1,000.

Of course, even if cremation is the final decision, it’s up to the family and the last wishes of the loved one to decide what else to include in the memorial service. It’s possible to have a graveside memorial just like a traditional burial service, with the only difference being that the body had been cremated. This might be an option for couples who differ in opinion about their final wishes. One could choose traditional burial while the other could choose cremation but have their ashes buried alongside their spouse.

There are many other reasons beyond cost that someone might choose cremation over traditional burial. For some people, the thought of being buried in a casket is simply too much to imagine. Instead, they prefer that their body be nearly instantly incinerated than decompose on its own. For others, the option to have their ashes scattered in some memorable spot might be appealing. This is a great way for their loved ones to say a solemn final goodbye to the person in an environment where they felt at peace during life. Other people may choose cremation for environmental reasons. They might not want to take up more space with a burial and see cremation as a more efficient path.

memorial candles

Religious beliefs of the family as well as the deceased should always be taken into consideration when deciding between cremation and traditional burial. Some religions expressly forbid cremation and accept burial as the only option. These religions include Orthodox Judaism, Eastern Orthodox, and Islam. However, most religious accept cremation. Be sure that you talk to your loved ones about their final wishes. It’s possible that they have strong feelings about one or the other without ever having clearly expressed them to someone else. In the end, it’s just important that everyone involved is in agreement with the memorial service so the grieving process can begin.