Deciding between traditional earth burial or entombment in a mausoleum versus cremation is a matter of final disposition, not memorialization. A good funeral director will discuss with the parties involved the reasons behind their feelings. Many people oppose cremation because they won't get to see the deceased person again and don't believe the deceased person will be memorialized. This doesn't have to be the case.
Many funeral professionals now offer several options with cremation. Some of these options include:
1. A full traditional service followed by cremation: The body is embalmed and prepared for viewing/visitation/calling hours and a funeral is conducted. The change is that a cremation casket or a ceremonial casket would be used instead of a traditional casket. After the funeral service, the body is taken to the crematorium.
2. A public or private viewing/visitation/calling hours followed by cremation.
3. A cremation followed by a memorial service.
4. A cremation followed by a graveside committal service. Once the decision for cremation is made, families still must decide what will be done with the cremated remains. Options for this include:
Scattering in a rose garden or other "special place" on private property or public property set aside for this purpose.
Regulations require that the scattering of the ashes at sea be done three miles off the coast. (EPA)
The cremated remains may be placed in an urn which may then be placed in the home (on the mantle, or in a niche), or buried in the family plot at the cemetery.
Cremated remains may also be divided up among family members and placed in "keepsake" urns that hold only a small portion of the cremated remains.
Vials, in the form of jewelry, containing portions of the cremated remains, are also becoming popular.
Once the decision about the final disposition of the physical remains is made, the decision on how to memorialize the life of the person may be easier to make. Options for this may include: A religious ritual or ceremony
A Humanistic service, or a celebration of the life of the deceased person.
The important thing is for families to TALK about their wishes BEFORE the need arises. To take a huge emotional burden off of your loved ones,after you have discussed your wishes, call your funeral professionals and ask if they have a workbook you may fill out that contains your biographical information along with your wishes for your final disposition and memorialization. Once you have documented your wishes, ask your funeral professionals if they will place a copy of the information in their "Unfunded Funeral Pre-
Again, the important thing is to discuss your family's wants and needs in an open and non-