How to Decide Between a Cremation and a Burial

a hand holding a knife over a bouquet of flowers

For family members who weren’t left with a plan, it can be difficult to decide whether to cremate or bury your loved one. Unfortunately, even in grief, if you are the next of kin, you’ll be asked to make some quick decisions. From choosing between cremation or burial services, family members will be asked to do their best to honor their loved one who has passed on. If you find yourself in this position and don’t know what your deceased family member would have wanted, there are ways to choose between cremation and burial that might help out. If you’re in this situation, read on for some things to think about.

Pros for Cremation


The top two reasons people choose cremation are because cremation is more affordable than a traditional burial, and because if affords more options for what is done with final remains. That is, you can spread your loved one’s ashes in a place they loved, put their ashes in jewelry to wear on you, or take them home to stay close to the person you’ve lost. The truth is that cremation services are less expensive, too.

More popular than ever, cremation locations are sprouting up all over the United States as a viable option for final arrangements for the dead. Many people make the mistake of assuming that choosing to have a loved one cremated means they won’t be able to have a final visitation or wake for their loved one. This isn’t true. Instead, funeral homes can offer a variety of options when it comes to final arrangements for your loved one. Some people have a traditional wake or final visitation for their deceased family member before cremation so that people can say goodbye.

Cremation is also becoming more popular because there are new ways to cremate a body. In the past, cremations were all done by flame. Now, with the new technology of water cremations, people who are environmentally conscious can have that choice, too, in many parts of the United States.

Other pros to cremation include the ease and convenience of transporting remains, the ability to spread ashes in a favorite place, and that cremation options include many choices when it comes to cremation containers. Family members can break ashes up and take their loved ones with them, keep remains in an urn, or plant remains in the ground beneath a favorite tree.

Pros to Burying


In many cultures, religion alone is reason enough to choose burial over cremation. When considering final arrangements for your loved one, don’t forget to take into account their religious beliefs and customs. They may point you in the right direction of whether they’d feel strongly in either direction regarding the choice for or against cremation.

Some people chose a burial because there are more options than ever before. Green cemeteries and green burials are a good example of new trends in the funeral services market. If your loved one was big into the environment and environmental causes, this could be a great way to go.

Maybe your loved one died at a center for cancer care in Staten Island, NY. Perhaps the Staten Island doctors and nurses gave your loved one fantastic care, and you know your family member’s favorite nurse would like the opportunity for closure. Being buried provide time for that final goodbye to anyone who touched your loved one’s life. While viewings can happen with any type of final funeral arrangements, and being buried means a place people can visit long after a funeral service.

Regardless of which final funeral arrangements you choose, the funeral director will be able to help you through every step of the process when it comes to making your final decisions. When meeting with the funeral director, be sure to ask questions. Think about questions related to the whole process, paperwork, how to get a copy of the death certificate, how to write an obituary, and when to make phone calls, and to whom. The funeral director will be able to address your concerns about arrangements in the Covid-19 pandemic, too. Asking questions will help give you peace of mind as you say goodbye to your loved one.

Self Care Before and After the Funeral Service


There are no right answers when it comes to your choices around how to handle your loved one’s final arrangements. During your time of grief, it’s important to take things easy and surround yourself with support. None of these decisions will be easy. Consider getting professional help with grief. Everyone handles grief differently and facing your grief right away will go a long way in helping you heal more quickly. Surround yourself with friends and family who understand what you’re going through. Be patient with yourself during the grief process and give yourself permission to engage in self-care activities to help cope.

Maybe you’re someone who finds relaxation or distraction in a manicure. Don’t feel guilty about getting those gel nails at the spa. You need to do whatever helps you get from one day to the next during these difficult times for the best possible outcome with your healing, and if gel nails are what helps, then go for the gel nails. Some days will be better than others.

In the end, no matter what decision you make with regard to the final disposition of your loved one, it’s important to remind yourself that whether a person is buried or cremated, it doesn’t change the ways their spirit will live on. Regardless of your religious beliefs, customs or philosophies, as long as you remember your loved one and treasure their memory, they’ll live on through that legacy. Remember that your loved one would want you to take care of yourself. After you’ve made your decisions around their final arrangements, don’t forget to look out for yourself, too.