How to Choose Cremation Services

The cremation rate is dramatically increasing, but families considering cremation may find they have more questions than answers. Some want to know if cremation is a more environmentally sensitive choice, while others are curious about services, prices, and options.

Perhaps the best reason to consider cremation is the many choices available for services and final wishes. Many families are surprised to learn that cremation offers more options than traditional burial. For example, a traditional burial typically occurs within a week to ten days following death. With cremation, a gathering or memorial service can be scheduled at any time. It is becoming more common for a family to schedule multiple memorial services – one taking place where their loved one was currently living, and another in the community where they were born or perhaps raised their family. Probably the biggest misconception about cremation is that there can be no funeral. For a family looking to plan a meaningful farewell, the options for services are many and varied.

Funeral service followed by cremation:

Many people choosing cremation have a traditional funeral service with a viewing and perhaps a reception followed by the cremation. The funeral service may be conducted in a funeral home, church, or any other appropriate setting. Clergy may conduct the service, but this is not required. Some prefer the less formal format of family and friends sharing memories and feelings. The funeral service can be personalized so it tells the story of the person who has died. The gathering may include eulogies, readings, music, and feature photos, videos, and personal collections. This gives the people who cared about your loved one an opportunity to remember him or her in a special way, and to say goodbye.

Cremation followed by a memorial service:

Many families have a viewing before the cremation – it can be private or public –  with an open or closed casket After the viewing, the body is cremated, and a service or gathering is held at a place of the family’s choosing to commemorate the life of the person who died. This memorial service can be personalized in the same way as any traditional service.

Regardless of the type of gathering you plan, the more personalized you can make it, the better. You’re writing the story of your loved one’s life, creating memories that will last for decades and building your family’s legacy. An experienced funeral director can help you do this. They will know the right questions to ask and ideas to offer. The plan may consist of simple, brief notes or a detailed set of directions.

Often, families who choose cremation without having a service come to regret the decision. Participating in arrangements, the viewing, and meeting in a formal or informal setting with supportive friends and family are meaningful parts of a ritual. Just like baptisms and weddings, ceremonies help us mark an important life event. A funeral can help us understand and cope with loss.

There are also many ways to memorialize with cremation. Cremated remains may be placed in a columbarium niche, buried next to another family member, scattered at a location significant to the individual, or retained in the home in a beautiful urn.

With more and more people choosing cremation, there has been an increase in the number of unethical cremation businesses. Though the funeral profession is regulated by the state of Ohio and funeral directors must be licensed, some cremation businesses advertise extremely low costs while conducting services in an unprofessional or even unlawful manner. So, if you’re considering cremation for your own arrangements or for a loved one, it is critically important to discuss your preferences with a licensed, professional funeral home staff who have experience in state laws and options. After all, with cremation, you don’t get a second chance.