Burial Vs. Cremation – Which Is The Better Option?
Whether you’re pondering the question for yourself or a close friend or family member, deciding what should be done after a person passes is very important – potentially the most important decision, in fact. As such, while there are several different options one can choose, the most popular are either gravesite burial or cremation. Both options have their respective pros as well as their cons, and while the individual preferences of the intended party should hold the most weight when making this decision, there are some objective factors worth taking into account when making this incredibly serious decision.
#1. Costs (Cremation)
Starting with burials, it’s no secret that the costs of burying a person can vary greatly. That said, while you could always dig up a plot of land in your backyard for practically nothing, if you plan to have a standard burial service, you’re probably going to shell out anywhere between $5,000 and $25,000 (or more)!
Just some of these different costs include:
- Basic Service Fee
- Body Preparation Fee
- Body Transportation Fee
- Embalming Fee
- Grave Plot Fee
- Casket Costs
- Headstone Costs
- and more
Generally, if there is a life insurance policy taken out on the person, much of these costs will come out of the policy. Still, from a financial standpoint burials can be prohibitively expensive.
More often than not, people think funeral cremations are less expensive than burials. While this is generally true, there can be several additional costs factored in that raise the price to be relatively comparable to a basic burial service.
In most cases, you’ll find yourself renting out a casket as well as paying for the urn and cremation process, which can cost between $700 and $2,000 total. You can also opt for a much cheaper (though with less emotional closure) method which is to have the body burned immediately after death and have the remains placed in a cardboard container without any type of memorial service.
You can also deal directly with the crematoriums themselves rather than a funeral service, where you can handle all of the death certificate information yourself. This can be another cost-effective method depending on the location you go to. For example, Aaron’s Cremation, a San Bernardino cremation crematorium, is well-known for offering low-price cremation services for those in the area.
#2. Psychological Relief (Tie)
From a psychological standpoint, both burials and cremation services are tied to how they can positively affect the person’s family and loved ones. In the case of burials, having a real, physical body to say your goodbyes to can be tremendous in terms of finding closure. This is particularly true for an actual funeral service, where you can often see the person with your own eyes and even touch them directly.
Similarly, having a gravesite and knowing that their body is buried underneath can also have serious implications for those that appreciate the physical sense that that person existed. These are things you cannot get when going through the cremation process.
Cremation does not give you the physical mass that is offered by a funeral and burial service, however, it does offer a closer and potentially more present connection with a deceased person and their loved ones. Because cremations do not take a lot of space, with the ashes either being held in an urn or turned into a diamond, you can quite literally have your loved ones near you at all times. This offers its own sense of security and well-being, as you are able to constantly speak to and interact with the ashes of your loved ones on a more frequent and regular basis.
In addition, ash cremations can be more readily displaced as per the deceased person’s wishes. For example, they can be used as fertilizer for plants, thrown out to sea, or an assortment of other methods that simply can’t be duplicated with a physical body.
#3. Religious Implications (Burials)
While this won’t be significant to everyone, religious reservations can play a significant role in whether one can even find cremation acceptable as an act. For example, from a biblical standpoint, while Greeks and Romans found cremations reasonably acceptable, Hebrews and Christian followers were staunchly against it, strongly in support of burial services. Other religions, like Catholicism, Islam, and Mormonism all oppose cremation to varying degrees in favor of burial services.
Cremation, from a religious perspective, is highly contentious, with very few religions outright accepting or supporting it. In most cases, religions may tolerate a person being cremated but only after observing several standard funeral rites. Some exceptions to this include Hinduism and Buddhism, which both view cremation as the ideal option over burials.
There is also a question on whether cremation interferes with reincarnation. While the logistics vary between religious faiths, Buddhists and Hindus both regard cremation as the preferable method of burial for those seeking reincarnation, whereas most other religions do not overtly express anything against cremation in terms of affecting the spirit.
Verdict – A Tie
There are pros and cons that go with either burials or cremations. Ultimately, however, it will go to your particular situation and what you hold as important. If you are someone that is highly religious, you’ll ideally want to invest your time and money in a burial service. Rarely does this money come out of your pocket, with it most often coming from your life insurance policy.
On the other hand, if you aren’t particularly religious, and would prefer to save that money, cremation is the ideal option. Cremation is also ideal for those that want to put their body to use, either feeding it to plant life or performing some symbolic gestures with their ashes.
All in all, deciding what to do with your body after death or the body of your loved ones isn’t an easy task. Still, only by understanding the objective reasons for one option over the other can you come to a reasonable conclusion on which is worth seriously considering.