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Is Cremation Right for Me?

Child holding lantern up to the sky.

It can feel a little uncomfortable to think about your own death, and especially what you want to happen to your body afterward. But making those choices beforehand can help save your loved ones extra heartache during what is already a difficult time.

One of the first and most critical decisions you can make is whether you want to be buried or cremated. The choice is a very personal one, often involving several factors that are important to the individual and their family. With more Americans choosing cremation over the last few decades, many people feel like it’s the right choice for them. Horan & McConaty has decades of experience helping families with these decisions, and we can provide information to help guide you to make the choice that is best for you. Before we get into some of the factors that can influence your decision, let’s talk about what cremation is.

Cremation is the process of using high temperatures and evaporation to reduce a body to its most basic elements. During cremation, the body is placed in a special container and exposed to high heat and flames, reducing the body to bone fragments. After cooling, the fragments are then processed into a uniform size and consistency that resembles a sand-like substance. The cremated remains, also known as ashes, are then placed in a chosen urn or temporary container and returned to the family. The family then has many options for memorialization and celebration of their loved one.

Here are a few things that we hope can help you decide what’s best for you:

Family. When thinking about cremation, it’s also a good time to bring up your thoughts to your loved ones and ask for their input if you wish. When someone passes and their family doesn’t have clear knowledge of their loved one’s wishes, it can be difficult for them to make important decisions on their own. The family will have to consider any religious desires or personal beliefs, as well as financial considerations.

When a family comes to our funeral home at Horan & McConaty, a funeral director will educate the family about their options and help guide them. It’s ok to take your time with these conversations and remember that you don’t have to make this decision in one sitting.

Placement. Cremation doesn’t necessarily mean keeping an urn in one location. There are many options to properly honor and memorialize a person when they choose cremation. Think about where you want your loved ones to go when they remember you. Maybe it’s close to them in their home, buried or kept in a niche in a cemetery or memorial garden, or maybe scattered at your favorite outdoor location. When speaking with a funeral director about preplanning, this is an important topic they will discuss with you, and can help you choose a location that will help your family honor and remember you.

Price. The cost for direct cremation alone can be less expensive than a burial, but the overall price can vary depending on other factors. These include costs associated with the funeral or memorial service, if you’re buried inground or in a niche, a grave marker, etc. Other considerations include choosing an urn or memorial jewelry to hold your ashes, or looking into eco-friendly burials. Also known as a green burial, eco-friendly burials can include a biodegradable urn to bury or to accompany the planting of a tree, or costs associated with scattering, such as permits or a ceremony. The cost of cremation really just depends on the unique personal touches an individual chooses.

Flexibility. With families living away from each other and travel potentially being an obstacle for some, cremation can help ease the burdens of time and distance constraints during a period of grief and mourning. While traditional burials typically take place a few days after the passing of a loved one, cremation allows for family members and friends to take the time to plan a memorial service while out-of-town loved ones have time to coordinate their schedules and travel arrangements.

Whatever your decision, be it burial or cremation, it’s important to consider both your own wishes and the needs of your loved ones after their loss. Remember, burial or cremation is not the only choice that is important to make when deciding on final arrangements. Many details must be addressed when the time comes, including how to honor and celebrate your life.

The staff at Horan & McConaty is always available to answer any questions you may have about preplanning, and how we provide guidance and support when planning your funeral services ahead of time. As a family-operated business that has served the Denver Metro area for over a century, we understand the needs of our community during loss. For more information about cremation services and preplanning, call us at 303.745.4418. We are available day and night.

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