Choosing cremation does not limit how you honor and celebrate the life lived. In fact... cremation expands what is possible offering new and unique options that are not always available when choosing traditional burial.
What is Cremation?
Part of making funeral arrangements on behalf of a loved one involves choosing between burial of the body, or cremation. Certainly this is a big decision, based on any number of factors: religious or spiritual beliefs, finances, or ecological awareness are just some of the reasons we've heard for choosing cremation. Before you can make the choice, you need to know exactly what it is you're considering. You can learn the basics below, however, if the content here raises additional questions for you, please give us a call. One of our cremation specialists will address any of your inquiries or concerns.
The Cremation Association of North America describes cremation as, "The mechanical and/or thermal or other dissolution process that reduces human remains to bone fragments".
As we said earlier, people choose cremation over burial of casketed remains for any combination of reasons. Sometimes it's the simple fear of burial itself, which may stem directly from the Victorian phobia of being buried alive.
What is Required to Arrange for Cremation?
Once the cremation-over-burial decision has been made, all that's required is authorization. This is provided by the person who is the legally identified or appointed next-of-kin. Once all authorization documents are signed, and service charges are paid; the body can be transported from the place of death to the crematory and the cremation process can take place. However, there are some additional things you may wish to consider, such as:
- Is there a special set of clothes (such as a military uniform or favorite dress) your loved one would appreciate the thought of wearing? This will be a focus of the cremation arrangement conversation, and you will be advised by your funeral director as to your best options regarding jewelry or other valuable personal items.
- Are there any keepsake items you'd like to include in their cremation casket? Perhaps there's a special memento, such as a treasured photograph or letter? We sometimes suggest family members write cards, notes or letters to their deceased loved one, and place them in the casket prior to the cremation.
- Would you or other family members like to be present for–or participate to some degree in–your loved one's cremation? Because we know how healing it can be to take part in an act of "letting go", we welcome the opportunity to bring interested family or friends into the crematory. Please discuss your desire to participate with your funeral director.
- What will you keep the cremated remains or ashes in after the cremation or the service? Many families are simply unaware that they can purchase a cremation urn to be placed in a special place such as the family home. We offer a large selection of urns that will help memorialize your loved one. Ask one of our caring funeral director's to see the wide variety of urns.
Is it Time to Speak with One of Our Cremation Specialists?
We encourage open dialog about all end-of-life issues, and sincerely hope you reach out to us to dig deeper into the topics related to cremation and burial. Call us today to ask a question or to set an appointment (either in your home or our office). We look forward to the conversation.
Why Choose Cremation?
Everyone has their own personal reasons for choosing cremation over traditional casketed burial.
Cremation Costs are Only One Reason
Given the religious, ethnic, and regional diversity among us, there are many other reasons for the dramatic rise in the number of cremations performed each year. According to Tyler Mathisen of NBC, one of those reasons "is the softening of the Catholic church's views of the practice. For centuries—until 1963, in fact—the church outlawed it. The church's laws still express a preference for burial. But the outright ban is a thing of the past."
He goes on to tell readers that the decline in nuclear families is another reason. "As more Americans live far from hometowns and parents, and as family burial plots have waned in popularity and accessibility, millions have turned to cremation as a practical and cost-effective way to care for a loved one's remains."
Cremation also allows a family the flexibility they may need in planning and preparing for a memorial service, celebration-of-life, or a scattering ceremony. While the cremation process can occur almost immediately (once all the proper paperwork is complete), the decisions required in planning a meaningful memorial for a loved one can be made in a relaxed, rational way.
At Bennie Smith Funeral Home, we own and operate own own Crematory - your loved ones remain with us during the decision for cremation & this provides a cost savings to our customers. With our locations throughout Maryland, Delaware and Virginia - we have the ability to service cremation needs for families in the areas we serve.
Learn More about Honoring Your Loved One
You knew your loved one better than anyone else. We’ve got years of experience. Together, we’ll design the perfect memorial or funeral service for your loved one. If you're ready to discuss the options, or simply have questions about our services, please call us at (800) 296-8889, or send us an email inquiry.