Cremation is a viable way to deal with your loved one's remains for less than the cost of a traditional burial and without the use of embalming fluids, which may not be great for the environment. Although cremation has become quite common in the US, there are still people who are skeptical of it or would never choose it for a loved one. Everyone deserves to honor the deceased in their own way, but it's important that this type of decision is made based on truth and facts rather than on myths and concerns. Here are a few common myths and concerns about cremation.
1. With cremation, you can't have a funeral.
If your idea of a funeral is a service during which the body is openly displayed in front of the gathered guests, then no—you cannot have that exact type of ceremony if your loved one is cremated. However, you can have a very similar service without the body being directly present. Some people even prefer this, as they may feel uncomfortable looking at a body, but comfortable looking at an urn that contains cremated remains. Plus, with cremation, you have more flexibility as to when you hold the funeral. You can put it off for a few weeks, if needed, so that out-of-town family members are able to attend.
2. Cremation is disrespectful.
Everyone has their own ideas of respect, and some may find handling the body in any way other than burying it disrespectful. That's okay. But do realize that those who are trained to cremate bodies do so with the utmost reverence towards the deceased. The body is handled carefully, just as it would be if you were to opt for an embalming and funeral. If desired, you can even watch the cremation process in some crematoriums. This way, you'll be reassured that the body is being treated the way you prefer.
3. Cremation is bad for the planet.
Does the idea of spreading ashes outside have you wondering about pollution? Keep in mind that the ashes produced during cremation are a natural, organic product. If returned to the earth, they will break down just like wood or sawdust would. By comparison, embalming fluid contains a lot of chemicals, like formaldehyde and methanol, and caskets are treated with various stains and sealants that can seep into the ground and pollute nearby water supplies. The smoke generated during cremation may be slightly polluting, but it has a smaller impact on the planet than burying an embalmed body in a casket.
4. You may get someone else's remains if your loved one is cremated.
You may have heard the myth that crematoriums just mix all of the ashes together and give each customer a scoop of anonymous ashes. However, this approach is highly illegal and forbidden by the agencies that regulate funeral and cremation practices. Crematoriums are required to keep remains closely identified so that the correct ashes are returned to the correct families. There are harsh fines for disobeying such regulations.
5. Scattering ashes is not legal.
If you are not a law-breaker, you may be avoiding cremation because you've heard it's illegal to scatter ashes—and that you'll have to keep them in a vessel at home. It's true that there are places where the scattering of ashes is forbidden. This is true of many private businesses and grounds. However, scattering ashes is not explicitly illegal, and it is allowed in most areas since ashes are a natural item and will deteriorate.
If you have any lingering concerns about cremation, reach out to a company that offers cremation services in your area.