Basically there are two types of body dispositions after death, the traditional ground burial or cremation. Each is a matter of preference or can also be determined by culture or religion. Sometimes the most commonly used body disposition is based on geographical area. For example, in the midwest, there has been historically more burials than cremation.
The Traditional Burial
Many families choose what is commonly referred to in the profession as the traditional burial or “full” funeral service. This service is subdivided into four specific segments but may or may not include all of the following:
- A period of visitation or wake in a funeral home usually lasting for two to three days, where the deceased rests in an open or closed casket.
- A public or private ceremony in a funeral home chapel or place of worship of one’s choice.
- Committal service and burial or entombment in a cemetery or mausoleum.
- Memorialization or the placement of some type of permanent marker or inscription at the burial site.
There are more cost associated with the traditional burial service however, your funeral professional may offer special packages and rates depending on the type of things that is included in the service. You can choose to do the full on service as outline above or eliminate a few of the items like the visitation service. Most families choose this type of disposition because it is a matter of preference as requested by the deceased, it was a matter of religion or it was by way of culture.
Casket selection and embalming are a few of the costs associated with traditional burials. It is strictly a matter of preference by the family or the deceased on whether or not the burial will have an open or closed casket. A viewing with an open casket requires the family special treatment and is always handled with the utmost care and respect. Makeup and desired burial clothes are all part of the viewing one needs to consider if choosing this. This overview is meant to provide you a general outline of the burial and cremation process but it is best to work with a trusted funeral home so they can guide you and ensure you with all the right options.
The final resting place for burials is in a cemetery or private property of the family where there is typically a Committal Service. This service is the final segment conducted at the gravesite and can be public or private. There are costs incurred for the plot at a cemetery as well as other miscellaneous fees for digging, grave liner, and headstone.
Cremation is a technical process which reduces the human body to its basic elements, bone particles and fragments referred to as cremated remains. The process begins with the placement of the container or casket in to the cremation chamber where it is subjected to intense heat and flames. Depending on the height and weight of the deceased, the cremation may take anywhere between 2-4 hours. After the process has completed, the ashes, tiny bone particles are placed inside either a temporary or permanent urn.
Some of the reasons people are choosing cremation over burial can be any or all of the following:
- A fear of burial or entombment
- A desired to be buried in a family plot with other family members such as a spouse, parents, or children)
- A choice not to have a viewing
- A tendency to be sensitive to the environment or an advocate of an eco-friendly burial
- Desire to have a more simple funeral service
It is believed that the majority of people choose cremation because of the costs may seem less than the traditional burial. This may or may not be true depending on what is included in each service. Purchasing a very expensive urn can raise the price to the overall cremation cost to as much as a burial and all its associated costs.
It is possible to have a cremation and viewing. Sometimes the funeral home will have a special viewing casket to place the loved one in prior to cremation. In this way, the family can pay their final respects but still choose cremation. Below are specific links relating to either the burial process or cremation choice. Learn more about each as presented here.