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Cremation vs Burial: How To Choose

When a loved one dies, it’s a devastating time, and the last thing you want to think about is what to do with their...
Close up of flowers growing on grave

When a loved one dies, it’s a devastating time, and the last thing you want to think about is what to do with their remains. But unfortunately, you have to face the fact that you will have to deal with the deceased’s body at some point. Cremation and burial are both popular methods of disposing of a loved one’s remains, but how do you choose between the two? There are a few things to consider when making your decision, such as cost, religious beliefs, and personal preferences. Keep reading to learn more about how to choose the right option for you.

Understand the Differences

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Cremation services take responsibility for burning a body after death to ashes. It is an alternative to burying a loved one and can be done through a funeral home or self-directed. Meanwhile, burying a loved one is the process of placing a body in the ground after death. It is an alternative to cremating and can be done through a funeral home or self-directed. There are several differences between the two that are important to note when considering the best option:

  • Cremating takes less time than burying a loved one.
  • Burying a loved one takes up more space than cremating.
  • Cremated remains are lighter than buried remains.
  • Cremated remains can be scattered, buried, or kept in an urn. Buried remains cannot be scattered but can be buried, kept in an urn, or displayed in a columbarium niche.

Consider Your Loved One’s Wishes

When making the decision of whether cremation or burial is the best option for a loved one, it is important to consider their wishes. If they have made it clear that they would like to be cremated, then cremating should be the obvious choice. If they have expressed a desire to bury a loved one, then that should be the chosen option. However, even if a loved one has not made their wishes clear, it is still important to consider what they would have wanted.

Ask Friends and Family for Advice

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When making the decision between cremation and burial, it is important to consider all of your options and ask for support and advice from friends and family. Cremating has many benefits over burying a loved one, including being more affordable and eco-friendly. However, some people find cremating a loved one to be less personal than burying a loved one. If you are unsure which option is best for you, talking to those close to you can help you make the right decision.

Review the Costs

Cremation costs are typically much less expensive than burial costs. The average cremation costs between $1,000 and $3,000, while the average burial costs between $7,000 and $10,000. There are several reasons for this discrepancy. The first reason is that cremating a loved one does not require the purchase of a plot or casket. The second reason is that it is a much faster process. The third reason is that cremating a loved one allows for the reuse of the urn. There are a number of other factors to consider when making the decision between cremating and burying a loved one. For example, some people find cremating a loved one to be less traumatic for the grieving process. Others find that it allows for a more personal and intimate memorial service.

Take the Environment into Account

Cremation is more environmentally friendly than burying a loved one for many reasons. The most obvious is that it takes up less space. A traditional casket takes up around 250 cubic feet of space, while an urn takes up around 12 cubic inches. Cremating a loved one also eliminates the need for a casket, vault, and other burial supplies. Burying a loved one also requires embalming, which is a process that uses toxic chemicals. Cremation eliminates the need for embalming and its harmful chemicals. Further, burying a loved one releases harmful toxins into the environment, such as formaldehyde, mercury, and arsenic. Cremation releases none of these toxins.

Overall, cremation is generally less expensive than burying a loved one, and it is a more environmentally friendly option. It is also a more personal option, as the remains can be stored in an urn or scattered in a place that is meaningful to the deceased or their family. Meanwhile, burying a loved one is more traditional, and some people find it comforting to know that their loved one is buried in a specific place.

Tom Parsons is a contributing writer for Urban Tulsa. He graduated from NYU with a journalism degree, and he currently resides in Tulsa.
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