The percentage of people who choose cremation over burials is increasing — by 2017, the National Funeral Directors Association estimates that around 56% of the deceased will be cremated. Why? Well, there’s no one answer, but there are a few common reasons that factor into the decision to cremate.
- It’s considerate of the world around us. Each year, there are approximately 2,400,000 funerals in the U.S. While a burial requires an entire plot, ash containers can be kept in one’s own home, and take up much less space. The urn of someone who is 150 pounds, for instance, would only need to hold about 150 cubic inches, perhaps slightly more. The ashes of a loved one can also be scattered, allowing their remains to mix naturally with and return to the Earth.
- It can help bring closure. Different people experience grief in different ways. For some, the transformation of their loved one’s remains that is involved in cremation can help them through this process. While it certainly varies from person to person, some find comfort in knowing that their loved one’s remains can again become part of the natural ecosystem of the Earth. This can be done by scattering the ashes oneself, or by placing ashes in biodegradable cremation urns. However, this is not necessary, and some may also find it comforting simply to keep their loved one’s remains in their own home, rather than in a cemetery.
- It allows us to keep a part of our loved ones with us. As cremation allows people to keep the remains of their loved ones in their own homes, these remains can also be kept in various ways. Memorial keepsakes such as cremation pendants or other cremation ash jewelry provide a way for people to keep a portion of their loved one’s ashes close to them in a way that is both subtle and sentimental. Simple jewelry allows one to keep a loved one’s ashes close without drawing too much attention, while more elaborate or personalized designs function as one-of-a-kind keepsakes.
The decision between cremation and burial is, ultimately, personal and individual. While burial has previously been more popular, cremation is gaining popularity, for several reasons: it allows for remains to be naturally returned to the Earth; the process of cremation can provide closure for some; and small keepsakes, such as cremation pendants, provide a way to keep a loved one’s remains close.