Cremation vs. burials vs. traditional funerals

When it comes to deciding how you want your loved ones to be buried or even if you are choosing for yourself, it can be a difficult decision. There’s more than one option, and you ultimately want to make the best decision.

Of course, it is always best to make these sensitive decisions in advance rather than during the grieving process, if possible. However, if you must make last-minute arrangements, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds.

There are three different options to choose from. There is cremation, the typical burial, and a more traditional process. Each choice comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. You’ll need to make the decision that best suits your needs and the needs of your family. No one wants to leave a financial burden for their family members after they pass, but you also want to make the most economical choice for your future.

The Benefits of Cremation

Cremation is becoming much more widely used and accepted as a means to part with your loved ones when they pass away, but it is nothing new. It has been a ritual used by people for centuries and dates as far back as 8000 B.C. when people in China first practiced it. It was also practiced during the French Revolution and is used as an alternative to burials in as many as 31 different countries.

It was a solution to many problems for our predecessors, such as overcrowding in gravesites when many people died at once due to disease, famine, or war. And while the reasons for utilizing this method may have changed, it’s still a great option for many families, even in these modern times.

And many seem to agree. Cremating a loved one is actually becoming quite popular the world over. Since you don’t need to invest in a casket or a plot of land for the burial site, you can save quite a bit of money by going the cremation route. Some cemeteries even charge a premium for certain areas/plots of land in their cemetery, which is a price you get to sidestep by choosing cremation.

There’s the common misconception that it’s illegal to scatter ashes, but that’s actually not the case — unless you’re on private property, of course. That’s another benefit of cremation — when we cremate a loved one, we can scatter their ashes anywhere in the world. It can also be a more intimate parting, and they can even be kept in an urn until a future date or indefinitely if preferred.

For some, it can be easier to deal with the cremation process versus seeing a loved one in a casket. Some prefer to remember their loved ones in their memories — alive and well. For example, if the deceased has suffered an accident, it is a better option to cremate and will save the family the heartache of being reminded how their loved one died.

It can also be a less overwhelming option as there aren’t quite as many decisions to make, as say a more traditional service. This can be a significant relief for grieving loved ones, especially if the funeral has to be put together last minute. No one wants to make major decisions when they are grieving.

The Benefits of a Traditional Funeral

A traditional funeral is a very common kind of funeral service and is more structured and formal than cremation. For this reason, traditional funeral costs can vary widely.

A traditional service typically includes a viewing ceremony, which is often held prior to the funeral service. It can also be held up to six days after the death of a loved one, which can allow enough time for everyone wanting to attend to make arrangements.

Although there are often many different options as far as eulogies, religious preferences, and other details available to choose from, the traditional funeral can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. This makes it possible to work out something that will fit into your budget. 

The Benefits of a Burial

Burials really aren’t their own separate category from funerals or cremations — you can do a burial after both. That’s why there are many reasons why burial is a flexible, beneficial option

It ensures that you’ll have a place to visit your loved ones. You can choose to have a headstone with a personalized inscription engraved on it or even an elaborate private mausoleum. Having a permanent location can be comforting to some and is a special way to honor those who have passed away.

Additionally, whether you decide to go with cremation or funeral, casket or urn, you can have a burial along with it. Many people opt to have a little bit of everything: a viewing, then cremation, then bury the ashes. It’s both cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

Burials are also a common choice among religious families such as Christians and Jews because they believe in the resurrection of the body after death. Catholics, in particular, traditionally go with an open-casket wake, for example. 

Burial costs will depend on where you choose to have a loved one buried — so, in bigger cities where space is limited or even in areas that are more religious, you might see a higher price tag.

And finally, with a burial, you can opt to have your loved ones buried together in the same area by purchasing multiple plots next to each other, well in advance. 

Considering All the Factors Together

Unless it’s already been pre-planned, your choice should take the budget into account, but also what will give you the most closure. For some, cremating a loved one does not feel as if it honors the person who has passed. Others may feel that it is a way to free them into the next life. Still, many find it a comforting process amidst what feels like a chaotic time.

Whatever you decide, it is important to choose what feels right to you. 

There is nothing that can bring back your loved one, but you can at least say goodbye one last time. Whatever the case, Alabama Funeral Homes & Cremation Centers can help give you peace of mind by providing pre-planning services, funerals, cremations on-site, and your choice in a plot in our historic cemetery.