After the loss of a loved one, one of the hardest decisions you may face is how to commemorate them. From a casket burial versus cremation to if you want to remember them with a classic urn or an ash cremation pendant, the choices can feel daunting. Tradition, religion or the wishes of your loved one may dictate the path you choose to take, but what follows are some considerations you may not have taken into account regarding the options available to you.
3 Considerations Before Choosing How to Commemorate Your Lost Loved One:
- Burial can be eco-friendly:
Across the United States, an estimated 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid are buried every year. Embalming fluid contains formaldehyde, a Group 1 carcinogenic compound, meaning it is carcinogenic to humans, and has been linked to myeloid leukemia and lung cancer. The formaldehyde from embalming can leak out of caskets and into the surrounding earth. Formaldehyde had been detected in streams and other water sources near cemeteries.
Similarly, look for biodegradable coffins to reduce the impact of a burial on the environment. Over 1 million tons of steel caskets are buried in America each year. The Natural Death Centre reports that by using a biodegradable coffin, carbon emissions can be reduced by 50%. Opting for a green burial doesn’t have to cost more, either. Traditional funerals cost on average $10,000; green burials, however, are reported at only $2,500.
Before committing to a burial process for your loved one, look into a green burial to ensure their legacy is a environmentally-friendly one. Today, there are over 300 approved eco-friendly burial service providers in the U.S. alone, according to the Green Burial Council.
- The increasing popularity of cremation:
Six years ago, the Cremation Association of North America (CANA), reported that the cremation was the chosen method of commemoration for 37% of all deaths. In the past decade, there has been a 20% increase in the rate of cremations across the nation, CANA says. And these numbers are only expected to grow. Cremation has become a popular option for its cost-effectiveness by forgoing the need for embalming and the purchase of a burial lot. Cremation typically costs a third of what a traditional burial will incur. If you choose to have a viewing of the body as well as cremation, the National Funeral Directors Association found the national average expense for a memorial and cremation to be $3,100.
Cremation doesn’t mean you’ll be unable to have a place to go to remember your loved one, either. Since the Roman Empire, cremation has been widely practiced. From 27 B.C. to 395 A.D., cremated remains were frequently stored in cremation urns for ashes. Today there are a number of affordable cremation urns available, and even biodegradable cremation urns. You can purchase a single burial urn for your loved one’s ashes or divide them among several so friends and family can each have memorial keepsakes to take with them.
- Ash cremation pendants offer an alternative to traditional urns:
If cremation is an option, you may want to go one step further than multiple urns and have some of your loved one’s ashes used in an ash pendant. Most often associated with the Victorian Era, mourning jewelry has been in use since the 16th century. Today, family and friends who have suffered a loss may choose to create an ash cremation pendant to commemorate their loved ones. From lockets to hold ashes to cremation necklaces or pendants, there are countless ways to keep your loved ones close. Cremation keepsakes can also make unique sympathy gifts for fellow mourners, particularly if friends and family live far apart and can’t all come together for a memorial service.
Choosing how best to commemorate your lost love is an incredibly personal decision. While the wishes of your loved one should come first, if you choose to have a burial service, you may want to look into an eco-friendly burial process to reduce the negative impacts on the environment. If cremation is an option, keepsakes for ashes don’t have to be urns alone; consider an ash cremation pendant for yourself and your fellow mourners as a way to keep your lost loved one close.