If you'd like for your remains to be cremated after you pass away, you're certainly not alone. More and more people are choosing this option each year, resulting in a cremation rate of just over 43 percent in the United States in 2012. Despite these numbers, your loved ones may be surprised by your decision. A death--or even talking about it--can bring out a variety of emotions, and some people may not have given cremation a lot of advance thought. Discussing your wishes with your family can help you and your loved ones address any wishes and concerns in a thoughtful, loving manner.
These are some common questions your loved ones may have:
Do you want your ashes scattered? Where would you like this done?
Your family may be uncomfortable with the idea of scattering your ashes. If this is what you'd like to be done, take the time to discuss it in advance. Is there a special place where you'd like your ashes to be scattered? Talk to your family members about why this is important to you and see what their comfort level is.
Cremation can offer different options to multiple family members. For example, you could have some of your ashes made into jewelry for several loved ones. If they live in different parts of the country, they could each have an urn with some of your cremated remains. Or you could opt for a combination of scattering and a burial.
Can you be buried in the cemetery where other relatives are?
Your family may have an existing burial site that your loved ones visit and take comfort from. If so, it can help your family members to know that you can still be buried and have a marker if you're cremated.
For example, if your husband has passed away before you and has been buried, your children may assume that you'll be buried there, too, so they can visit both graves. This is possible even with cremation. Depending on the cemetery's policies, you may be able to have your cremated remains buried on top of your deceased spouse's casket or in an adjacent spot. If both spouses want to be cremated, the remains can often be buried in one plot.
Will you still be able to have a funeral?
Families may think that if you're cremated, they'll just be handed an urn with your remains, and they won't have any of the closure that a funeral service can provide. But if you and they would prefer, a funeral service can be held prior to cremation. A viewing may or may not be included, depending on your preference. Or you may want to have a memorial service after cremation, perhaps with an urn containing your ashes. The decision is really up to your and your family in terms of what will fulfill your wishes and also provide them with closure and solace.
As with other aspects of burial, it's important to be sensitive to your loved ones' concerns. Take the time to talk with them in advance about your wishes. If your desire to use cremation surprises them, this will give them time to adjust to the idea and to talk to you about any concerns they may have.
For more information about cremation services, talk to a funeral home like Boone & Cooke Inc. Funeral Home & Crematory.