Cremation is a popular alternative to burial, and many take great comfort knowing that their loved one’s remains will be properly cared for in a respectful and dignified way. But while many people today who plan their own funeral arrangements in advance will opt for cremation, sometimes families who are left to make end-of-life decisions on behalf of a friend or family member are unsure if it’s the right choice. We often find that families and friends have similar concerns, and we’d like to take a moment now to go over four of the most common ones with you.
1. Can We Still Have a Memorial and Viewing?
This is a very common concern for decision makers in charge of funeral arrangements, but the short answer is absolutely. Cremation will not prevent you from having a viewing or visitation, nor from holding a memorial service to celebrate the life of your loved one. A related question that people often have is whether remains can still be embalmed before cremation, and again the answer is yes. In fact, this is recommended if there is going to be a visitation or viewing prior to the cremation.
2. Where Will We Go to Visit?
When a friend or family member passes away, those of us who remain often find great comfort knowing we’ll have somewhere we can go to visit, leave flowers, and even talk to the person who’s gone. After the cremation, you will have to decide what to do with the cremains. Some people want them transferred to a decorative urn that can be displayed at home. Others feel it’s more appropriate to scatter the ashes in a favorite place.
However, if you prefer to have a permanent resting place with a marker, you can always have the cremains interred in a burial plot, cremation cemetery, or laid to rest in a mausoleum. And just like a cemetery plot or mausoleum space, you can have a marker to indicate the final resting place, and it can be inscribed with a name, date, and message of love and remembrance.
3. The Cost of a Cremation
There are several cremation options available that can range anywhere from $600 for a basic cremation to $6,000 for a cremation and memorial service from a full-service funeral home. At Moles Farewell Tributes, the average cost of a cremation and service is around $3,500. If cost is a concern, always ask about discount services offered by a full-service funeral home. And if you plan to use the services of a discount funeral home, be sure to address questions such as:
- Where will the cremation take place (on-site or at a third-party crematory)?
- Are the facilities clean, climate-controlled, and secure?
- When and where can you say goodbye before the cremation?
- How are cremains tracked and identified?
- Is the cost of a marker and final resting place included with the price?
4. Cremation and the Environment
More recently, there have been growing concerns about the environmental impact of cremation. Often, when a body is cremated, it is cremated in the casket that was chosen for the wake or viewing. Depending on the composition of that casket, it may release pollutants into the atmosphere when it’s burned. Loved ones with environmental concerns have a few options. For one, some funeral homes offer rental caskets that can be used for the viewing but that aren’t cremated with the body. Other funeral homes have plain, unfinished boxes that can be used for cremation. Talk to your funeral director about the environmentally friendly cremation options available.