When planning a funeral or memorial service, you will need to select the form of final bodily disposition for your loved one.
When choosing between holding a burial or a cremation service, most people are guided by their personal, religious or cultural beliefs. Many people will have expressed a preference to family members, or in a legal document, before their death.
If your loved one did not express a preference, or if you are trying to offer your support to someone during this decision-making process, we offer this summary of services for your consideration.
Pros and cons of Burial
Often religious or family traditions will determine the decision to choose a burial service.
- Gathering place
Having a place to gather and revisit can provide comfort to the bereaved, particularly those who were not able to attend the funeral.
- Permanent Memorial
Holding a burial provides loved ones with a place to establish a permanent memorial to which they can return on dates of significance.
The costs associated with purchasing a burial plot or vault, the headstone or plaque and any on-going fees required to maintain the site, can accumulate over time.
- On-going maintenance
The commitment to maintain a gravesite can become a burden, particularly for the elderly. The cost of employing others to maintain the site requires consideration.
- Family interstate or overseas
Different generations of the same family often live large distances from one another. This can contribute to difficulties with on-going maintenance of the site.
While it is true that a burial can become more expensive, it is important to remember that Cemeteries have different areas and pricing and funeral directors can provide various service options to suit all budgets. No one should feel that their wish to have a burial is unattainable, for further information regarding burial services please contact Bethel Funerals.
Pros and cons of Cremation
- Preserves land space
This is particularly relevant in urban areas where land space is limited and therefore expensive. People with strong views on the environment sometimes prefer that land space is preserved for parks and recreation.
Using urns or placing ashes in a Columbarium are both good examples of how this can be achieved.
- Less Expense
The costs involved in holding a cremation service can be less than those required for a burial service.
The remains can be scattered in a place that held special meaning for the deceased, or kept in an urn for remembrance or until the family feel ready to scatter their ashes. Flexibility can also be important for family members who were not able to attend the funeral.
- No place to gather (post-funeral)
One of the disadvantages of choosing a cremation might be that sometimes mourners could feel as though there is no tangible place they can gather to mourn and remember the deceased.
- Environmental costs
Each cremation requires an enormous amount of energy and therefore creates significant greenhouse gas emissions, which are responsible for pollution and harm to the environment.
- Where will the ashes be kept?
A family might choose to keep the ashes in an urn or incorporate them into wearable jewellery or glass ornaments. The decision of where and how to store the ashes needs to be made in consultation with many family members.
The decision to hold a cremation or a burial is best made by the individual. If you are considering the choices for funerals and you would like further information about cremation and burial, please refer to our Funeral Planning Guide, and the Arrange a Funeral pages of our website. In Australia today, cremation funerals outnumber traditional burial services. For further advice, and to explore our extensive range of urns, please refer to our gallery.