Today, when it comes to funeral planning, many choose cremation over burial.
In 2020, 56.1% of Americans chose cremation as their preferred way of honoring their loved ones.
Several factors influence this preference of cremation over burials including their affordability, eco-friendliness, and their acceptance by many religious beliefs including most Christian orders, Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists.
A funeral is not only about saying goodbye, but also about expressing your love and respect for someone you lost. Planning the funeral of a loved one is never easy, but knowing the processes involved in different types of cremation services can lessen the stress of funeral planning and help you make your peace with the loss of a loved one.
A traditional funeral allows the family and close friends of the deceased to pay their respects before the cremation. The body will be placed in a casket that can be kept open or closed based on the preference of the family.
If you choose this option, you will then need to proceed with choosing a casket, deciding the visitation and viewing times, and planning the service. You can, of course, discuss this with your funeral service provider and enlist their help in making the necessary arrangements.
A traditional funeral can be held at home, a place of worship, a funeral home, a crematorium, or a graveside. Keep in mind that a crematorium will likely have a time limit for their service, which is often between 15 to 40 minutes.
Cremation and memorial
A memorial after the cremation will include a display of the urn containing the remains, a prayer, a eulogy, and the opportunity for family and friends to share their memories.
You can choose to display the urn in a manner that honors your loved one’s life; many display it with flowers, next to a photograph of the deceased, or display medals of honor if the deceased was a veteran.
A graveside memorial, on the other hand, will have a headstone with space for the urn. Family and friends can gather around the headstone for prayer, read scripture, and leave flowers.
Alternatively, you can choose a celebration of life. A celebration of life can take place anywhere after the cremation; a place of worship, at home, a park, or any other venue that holds sentimental value.
In a celebration of life, friends and family gather to share memories, play music, and have performances to commemorate the life and accomplishments of the deceased.
This is the most straightforward among the many types of cremation services and doesn’t involve a casket. A direct cremation is an unattended funeral service where the body is taken directly from the place of death to the crematory, and cremated within 48 hours of death.
After the cremation, the ashes will be placed in an urn and delivered safely to the family. The family can then decide whether to bury the remains in a cemetery plot or scatter the ashes.
A witnessed cremation has some members of the family present during the cremation and is sometimes preceded by a private funeral. This type of cremation allows you to say a final goodbye and the chance to offer keepsakes, even though there is no service.
You can choose this type of funeral to identify the remains and to ensure that the deceased is handled respectfully and in accordance with cultural or religious expectations.
Most crematoriums will have a viewing room that family and loved ones can use for an extra fee to witness the process.
Choose between the types of cremation services to suit individual requirements
There is no right or wrong option when it comes to cremation types. The funeral ceremony you choose can be based on religious beliefs, emotional needs, and the wishes of the deceased.
The type of service you choose can help you relieve the stress of funeral planning and gain some closure to process the loss.