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Cremation or Burial- What Should I Choose?

When it comes to decisions about your final disposition, one of the most important things you must decide is whether you will be buried or cremated. Like all decisions surrounding a funeral, this choice is a deeply personal one and often involves personal beliefs, faith, and family tradition. This month, we will discuss the basic process for both options to give more insight and help you make an informed decision. Today, we will focus on burial for an in-depth look.

Burial- What is it?

The dictionary defines burial as “the action or practice of interring a dead body; a ceremony at which someone’s body is interred.” While the word burial implies that the person will be buried in the ground, the term is often used to generally mean interment. Interment can occur in ground or above ground in a private or public mausoleum. A mausoleum is an above ground building that provides spaces for interment of full bodies or cremated remains.

The Burial Process

Most traditional funeral services for the burial of a full body includes visitation, a funeral service, whether religious or otherwise, and a committal service at the cemetery. However, today the “traditional funeral” can look different to everyone. Some may choose to forgo visitation and just do graveside services; some may wish to have a visitation and head right to the cemetery. Whatever the preference, there are a few steps you can expect when choosing a full body burial. In New York State, a funeral home must be used to facilitate the burial process. At the time of death, a funeral home must be contacted to transport the decedent into their care. From here, discussion will be had with the next of kin and family about what the wishes are for the decedent. If burial is chosen, each funeral home will have their own policies regarding embalming. If a public or private viewing is desired, there will most likely be a need to embalm. Embalming helps to slow the biological processes that take place after death and allows the family time to finalize and schedule funeral plans. Funerals for full body burial often occur within a few days, but sometimes plans are postponed more than a week.

When you choose burial as your final disposition, there are other elements that must be decided. Will you have a visitation, what type of service will we have, and where will the burial take place? If you already own burial property, this question is easily answered. If not, you may need to visit local cemeteries to see what is available to you. Your funeral director will help you answer and schedule all these elements to give you the funeral that you desire.

What are my options after burial?

When burial is the final disposition, there will be a permanent place to memorialize your loved one. Whether this is a gravesite or a mausoleum, you may have options to create a monument as an everlasting tribute. There are many considerations when choosing a monument, many of which are regulated by the cemetery. For more information on monuments, you can visit our blog series that dives into the many option. Many people who choose burial find solace in having a specific place to visit their loved one and that their loved one is often laid to rest alongside family.

Religious Considerations

As with cremation, there are many who choose burial based on their religious beliefs. The Christian belief of the resurrection of the body is a greatly held belief by many, which may prompt them to choose burial. Members of the Jewish faith often favor burial over cremation, as do members of the Islam. The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints believe that the body is inseparably tied to the soul and therefor tend toward burial. Whatever belief system you subscribe to, it is important to remember that the decision of burial or cremation is yours alone and can consider many factors.

Choices about final disposition and funeral arrangements vary from person to person and often involve many factors. For some, the choice is rooted in religious beliefs or family traditions. Whatever you choose, it is important to educate yourself about the options available and understand the process for those options. Come back in two weeks to take a closer look at cremation options!

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