About Cremation Options

by Geoffrey Weed

Cremation is one of several funerary options that are common in modern times. Within the category of cremation itself, however, there are further options. In fact, the cremation process can offer just as many options and as much customization as the burial process does.

Type

There are several major types of cremation options. The most basic is in determining when the body should be cremated. There is also whether they should be cremated in a wooden casket or in a simple box. Another is the choice whether to hold a traditional funerary service before or after the cremation, and whether to bury the ashes and spread them somewhere or keep them in an urn.

Significance

The significance of the different cremation options can be immense. One of the most significant choices to be made is what should be done with the remains. Many families choose to keep their loved one's remains in an urn and keep it at home or pass it down from generation to generation. Others choose to bury the remains in a more traditional funeral service. Still others elect to spread the ashes in a particular place. All of these methods have different facets that merit a family's consideration.

Effects

The ultimate effect of the cremation options has two categories: psychological effects and physical effects. The psychological effects consist of the lasting mental impact that the cremation process has on those who are left behind. The physical effects consist of how much the cremation process costs. While cremation is often much more affordable than traditional funerary services, the options can affect that cost greatly. For instance, if the family decides to have their loved one cremated in a casket, the ashes placed in an expensive urn and to hold a traditional funeral service, the cremation process will probably cost just about as much as a burial service would have.

Misconceptions

One of the most common misconceptions about cremation is that the remains are all "ashes." The technical trade name for remains from a cremation is "cremains." A large portion of the remains is not actually ash but crushed bone fragments. The bone fragments are crushed in a machine for psychological effects on the family and visual qualities. It is also incorrectly believed that a family can spread the ashes anywhere they want to. In many jurisdictions, there are laws that govern where, how and when remains from a cremation can be spread.

Geography

The options for a family considering cremation depend largely on their physical location. In certain countries, for example, it is still widely acceptable to cremate a deceased individual on a large, open-air pyre, in a sort of public spectacle. In most Western countries, cremations are required to take place at indoor, regulated crematoriums.

About the Author

A legal clerk and law school student at The Thomas M. Cooley School of Law who lives in southeastern Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree in English from Western Michigan University. Geoffrey has over a decade of experience working as a freelance writer and has completed hundreds of articles during that time.

Photo Credits

  • Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons