Funeral Plans -Choosing Cremation

Casket

Photo Courtesy of Worshipbackground
Photo Courtesy of Worshipbackground

Plan for Your Demise

While sitting in the doctor’s office with my husband for 4 hours the other day I started writing this hub. I mean 4 hours is ridiculous but that is another story. My husband and I were sitting around several months ago talking about how we would like to handle our deaths. I know this is not a cheery little topic, but it is important to make some decisions. That way your  children aren’t suddenly faced with making a multitude of decisions, while also trying to close out your affairs. Chances are we won’t both die at the same time, but there are no guarantees. Anyway, we have been to a few funerals lately and I had already decided I wanted to be cremated and my husband felt the same way.  I want a Christian funeral that is a celebration of life.

I am not trying to influence anyone as to their personal decisions or sell any service in this hub. Every individual has to make their own decisions of course.

A Bit of Humor

How We Made Our Decision

We have attended many open casket funerals for our families and friends, and I find them so emotionally difficult. I have also attended several memorial services where the person was cremated and they treat the funeral more as a celebration of their life. They usually have some nice flowers, great pictures of the individual throughout their life, and I have seen nice presentations on power point.

It is still sad to go to the service but it is more a celebration of the individual’s life which appeals to me. I think of Larry the Cable Guy with his country humor, standing over the casket saying, “Don’t Mama look good?” Of course, that was funny on TV, but I couldn't care less about how I look once I’m dead. I don’t like the idea of someone fixing my hair in some fashion I probably never wore, putting makeup on me to make me look more alive??? Yes, it is a dignified event and many people prefer that, which is fine but not for me.

The second reason is the cremation cost. I would rather leave money to my children and grandchildren, rather then spend $10 grand on a funeral. We spent $8,000 on my mother-in-laws funeral about 12 years ago, which was done exactly as she wanted. We were happy to fulfill her wishes and it was the way the family had always handled funerals, but we are ready to break the tradition.

So, we started checking on cremation programs and found that you need to do a little research, as they don’t all offer the same things, nor are they all the same price. Some of the ones offered in our area by funeral homes sounded like nice services but should you have the misfortune to die more than 25 miles from home it costs a fortune per mile to get you back home. We finally settled on a program from the Neptune Society which will bring you home from Timbuktu with no extra charge and there several other extras that were appealing to us. There will be minimal expense for our children or for one of us, as we have paid for this program.

Neptune Society Book for Organization

One of the nice things that came with the material was a notebook, and it is divided into several sections. There is a section for veterans telling of things like the burial flag, headstones and markers and so forth. Then they list all the government and other assistance you might need information on, such as social security, Medicare, hospice, etc.

The next section is estate planning, and you could get a notebook to do this on your own. It involves discussing your wishes with your family, talk to them about probate, living trusts, and so forth. The sixth section has you list all your financial information such as banking, a safe deposit box, insurance policies, credit cards and other debts, any legal action that might be pending and your medical history, so the family has a record for the family. Often children might not know where you bank, if you have a safe deposit box, etc., so this is important information.

In the very last section there is an area where you can list significant events in your life, make a comment about people that influenced you, mention any honors or awards you received, or write special memories or messages to particular people. I thought this book was a great idea as it keeps your entire affair in one spot which will come in handy when you are grieving over the loss of a loved one.

Eternity -Ashes out to Sea

source Flickr
source Flickr

What to do with Your Ashes?

Of course, there is one more decision and that is what to do with the ashes. It is not my desire to have my ashes in an urn on some relative’s mantle or maybe in their closet. As my husband and I talked, he shared that he has always wanted his ashes strewn in the ocean. Many people have their ashes scattered at sea, and I also found out that human ashes actually help rebuild coral which cinched the decision. You can make a ceremony out of the scattering or just a group of loved ones can fulfill your wishes. At this time the EPA requires the ashes to be strewn 3 miles out, and they can be left in a biodegradable urn if you wish.

Making Choices

As a veteran, my husband could have chosen a military burial. Ashes can still be put in a cemetery so you will have a marker. Since I study genealogy, this is a little appealing to me as I have tromped through many an old graveyard looked for long lost family members.

There are many state laws often prohibiting scattering human ashes, but, come on, there are no “scattering ashes police.” This linked website states it is a good idea to ask a person if you want to scatter the ashes on their property. That sounds like common sense to me. As for public land, I believe in the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” rule.”

One Way to Treat Remains

source funeralsource
source funeralsource

Numerous Choices for Ashes

have since learned that there are number of other things you can do with human ashes.

Urns have been the most popular way to keep ashes up until recently, and there is huge variety of urns to choose from. I put a link to one store at the bottom.

The US government has granted blanket approval to spread ashes in national forests and similar rules are becoming popular in state parks.

You can have a diamond made or use the ashes to make some jewelry, which can also be done for your pet’s ashes. So, one might say. “Who are you wearing this evening?” Obviously I find this a little distasteful but each to his own.

There are many men that want their ashes scattered on a golf course.

Some women want their ashes in a rose garden

In the Bay area they are scattering cremated remains using fire works done by a San Diego company called Celebrate Life. That’s really going out with a bang! Apparently CA laws have been changed this year, as they had been the most stringent in the nation.

Go Out With a Bang!

source Flickr
source Flickr

Other Unique Ways to Dispose of Ashes

There is a lady who is co-owner of Creative Remains (located in San Francisco). She has a collection of more than a dozen wood, ceramic, and stone frogs and states her mother is in each one of them. They can adapt most anything to hold ashes using knickknacks to sporting equipment. The other co-owner is adapting a fishing rod to hold his ashes and plans to leave it to the best fisherman he knows so he can fish eternally,

There is a company in Seattle that places ashes in glass-blown paper weights.

There is a lady named Mona who uses the ashes in her paintings. Check the link below.

Use Your Imagination!

Photo Courtesy of Mona
Photo Courtesy of Mona

And Even More Ways

The UK Master Distributor for Celestis offers 4 spaceflight memorial options. You can have your ashes sent into space or into orbit for a modest $2495 fee. They advertise their service as suited for astronomers. Their interesting web page is listed at the bottom of the hub.

There is also a service that will send your ashes up in a balloon.

Last but not least, you can have your ashes with some keepsakes, but into a time capsule and placed on the ocean floor. I don’t see the purpose in that as you would probably have a new breed of deep sea grave robbers.

Outer Space for You

Photo Courtesy of Eternal Ascent
Photo Courtesy of Eternal Ascent

To Conclude:

I believe it is a good idea to have some type of plan for your death for the sake of the loved ones you leave behind. Making some arrangements ahead of time whether burial or cremation is a good idea as costs are rising continually. Having you business affairs arranged in some way also makes it easier for those left behind. I wish you all a very long life.

Comments 49 comments

RevLady profile image

RevLady 6 years ago from Lantana, Florida

Good informaton Pam. Statistics was showing that more and more people were opting for cremations even before the failure of the economy. Some people still hold on to antiquated religious ideas, but for the most part, in many religious and Christian denominations, it is much more accepting than in previous history.

Thanks for sharing.

Forever His,


partisan patriot 6 years ago

Pamela

If Obama and his Regime isn’t enough to cheer me up each and every day now you come out with this.

Sorry if I don’t spend much time opining here but there’s a lot of Hating Democrats left in me before I expire or at least I hope so. Having said all that I’ll go for now and perhaps write a hub of my own explaining why Gibbs is an Idiot or possibly how many hours at the end of the day Biden spends pulling his foot out of his mouth or possibly how to use million man math made easy in order to figure out how many new jobs this Regime has created or finally why allowing the Bush Tax Cuts to expire won’t result in the largest tax hike in the history of this country.

So bye for now…


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

I'm ALL for Cremation. My friends Dad had a necklace fashioned from his pressurized ashes which resemble a diamond as you mention, it's beautiful and she treasures it, she just had to promise him she would not be upset if she ever lost or misplaced it as he said... I feel cremation is a way of the future, I in no way want a monument of myself taking up space on this planet for others to care for, save the earth for the living to enjoy and do with my ashes as you will, ashes to ashes I say! Peace and thanks for covering this, I've wanted to myself as I feel it is an important topic and now I don't have to. Thanks and Peace!


2besure profile image

2besure 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Cute! Pop goes the weasel! I have been thinking more and more about cremation as apposed to burial. It is simpler, and cheaper. Also my family is all over the US. It is not like anyone would visit or keep up my site.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

Pamela,

I decicided when I was a little boy I didn't want any funeral. It seemed like such a waste of money. My body will be donated to a medical school!!!!

Good hub.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Rev Lady, I my church the funerals are about half and half I'd guess. They do not take a stand except to say you are in a much better place and I say Amen to that. Thank you for your comments.

Patriot, I think there are life choices we still have regardless of our miserable political situation.

Katiem, I hadn't thought about the taking up space for others to care for, but I guess that is true. Thanks for your comment.

2besure, I just started thinking about cremation a couple of years ago after attending more funerals lately. I feel good about our decision as now there are no decisions to make and we paid for the policy. Thanks for your comment.

Tom, Not everyone is willing to do that and it is so necessary for the training of doctors. I think that is an admirable stance. Thanks for sharing.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

I like my ashes being put in the forest. For me it is the best place, so peaceful, the birds singing, rabbits and deers running around.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Hello, I think the forest is a great choice. Thanks for your comment.


DiamondRN profile image

DiamondRN 6 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

Thanks, Pamela. You just saved me a lot of researching. Carla and I have been discussing this for a quite a while. Cremation seems to be our answer as well. Your article is informative and well-thought-out -- as usual.


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

My parents chose cremation and my father's body was presented at the memorial before the procedure...cremation sounds like the way to go for me also,if it's less expensive...


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 6 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

Cremation is the way to go, with ashes launched into space. With luck I can get launched into the Sun.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Diamond, I'm glad I answered some of your questions. I appreciate you comments.

Mentallist acer, I have seen funeral handled that way also. Cremation is definitely less expensive. Thanks for your comments.

Jim, Save your money. If you checked out that outer space link it is a bit more expensive but after all its you money and if that is your wish, why not? Thanks for your comment.


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

Great hub! All the facts for one who is considering cremation.It appears that I am the only one commenting who wants a closed casket funeral and burial. My plot is already chosen next to my parents.As Forest Gump says,"...and that's all I gotta say 'bout that."


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

bayoulady, Many people have there burial plots for the whole family and there is nothing wrong with that. Thanks for your comment.


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

It makes perfect sense...

while spending thousands and thousands on funerals and plots just doesn't.

Four hours at the doctors??? They'd need to sedate me.

Great post!!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Chris, That's about where we are at with that crazy doctor. Thanks for your comment.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

GREAT info!! Hubby and I have both decided on cremation. He's going to build a box to hold our ashes together.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Habee, We have keep my father's ashes since 2002 so that they can be mixed with my mothers. I think that is a neat idea. Thanks for the comment.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Though cremation is the cheaper choice, my family still wants the box.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Sandy, Everybody's family is different and there is nothing wrong with that. Thanks for your comment.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA

I know it is good to plan ahead, but I hope this is something I don't have to worry about for a long time. Good article


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

Some folks think it is very morbid to talk about death and what we want done but I think it is vital to making sure you had 'the talk' before it is sprung upon us!

My mother loves her Volvo more than I swear she loves anything else in this WORLD. She has had it forever and she babies it something fierce. Not too long ago, I was laughing and saying that I thought I'd have her buried in it and I don't think I've ever heard her laugh so hard in all my life! I wonder if that is possible!

Good subject that sometimes folks would prefer to avoid - but it is inevitable as they say - just like taxes!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

I want to out with a "bang." I want my ashes put into a July 4th rocket and shot high into the sky and exploded into multiple smaller explosions and drift for miles settling on a farm to be part of a new beginning as a couch potato...


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Coolmon, I hope you won't either. Thanks for your comment.

Audrey, I don't know about the Volvo but I think probably anything is possible. Thanks for your comment.

Dallas, That sounds like an awesome plan. Thanks for your comment.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

When you visit my country, cremation was chosen by the Chinese people. It need a big cost. And the people who live in Bali Island doing the same thing. I heard other culture that the ashes will thrown away in the ocean. So the spirit will gone by the sea water. Another great hub from you. Vote this up. Have a good day!

Prasetio


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Prasetio, Thank your for sharing the customs of your country and I appreciate your comments.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

Excellent article, Pamela and you answered many questions that I have been pondering myself. My wife and I both perfer cremation so we are going to look into the Neptune Society. I have receive material from them in the past but have not been compelled to followup...your information helped me greatly with that decision. Thanks much! WB


Teddletonmr profile image

Teddletonmr 6 years ago from Midwest USA

Pamela99, 4 hours at the doctor sounds like the VA to me. Thanks for all the imformation on how to handle our death. Cremation is a subject my wife and I have talked about.

We have spent alot of time attending furnals of friends, and grandparents here of late. The thing about looking in a casket just to see someone different than you remember them is heart breaking.

As Katie pointed out, taking up space in a cemetary that someone else has to care for is a lot of expense. Not having somewhere to go and pay our respects on those special days however, is painful for many of us.

My self, what to do with my ashes is a question I must admit is a bit vexing. The forest sounds nice, scatered at sea also sounds cool, being set on a shelf somewhere, for me would not be cool. You have given me much to thing about, thanks for the information, hub up and useful...


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Wayne, I'm glad you enjoyed the article and I appreciate your comments.

Teddletonmr, What to do with our ashes becomes a big question once you've made the decision for cremation. Thanks so much for your comment.


Amber Allen profile image

Amber Allen 6 years ago

Hi Pamela

A very thought provoking hub. All my family have in recent years chosen cremation while my husband's have all chosen burial. I expect we will opt for a double burial plot but let's hope it isn't a decision I need to make for a good few years yet.

Amber


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Amber, it's not a decision anyone really wants to make and I hope it will be a long time for your also. Thanks for your comment.


Support Med. profile image

Support Med. 6 years ago from Michigan

Some decisions have to be made whether we like them or not. This is a good guide. Voted-up/rated.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Support Med, You're right. We wouldn't think of making this decision if we had a choice about dying. Thanks for your comments.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

Rating this up and useful. Everyone should make their plans prior to actual need. My husband and I have chosen cremation as you have done and would rather have any money left being shared with some extended family members and charities.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Peggy, I think planning ahead makes life easier for those left behind also. Thanks for sharing.


samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee

voted up & useful! very well written, informative and concise. My wife and I have discussed this and want cremation if we are not present for the rapture...


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Samsons, I appreciate your comments.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Most definitely the way to go. Rather than the great expense of wooden coffins, funeral arrangements, a mortician cutting me up and draining my blood, yucks.

I just want my carcass put into a cardboard coffin type and slid into a nice cozy hot oven for cremation. Then the ashes can be put in another cardboard box and put out to sea. A nice clean burial for sure and like you said good for the coral.

I prefer less expense after all we are still burdened with death tax, so why spend another $12,000.00 on a funeral.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

saddlerider, Obviously you have made your decision and kept it simple. Thanks so much for your comment.


John B Badd profile image

John B Badd 6 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

This is a great hub. I linked to it from my hub on cremation and urns.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

John, Thank you for the linking and the comments. I'll so the same.


nancy_30 profile image

nancy_30 6 years ago from Georgia

This is a very sad subject but one we all must face. My husband and I have discussed this. My husband wants to be buried in a very remote cemetary, but we're not sure if they still bury people there. So if for some reason he can't be buried with his ancestors then he wants to be cremated and his ashes strewn over the cemetary.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Nancy, It wasn't an easy topic but the facts are we are getting older and both have health problems. We didn't want to leave it to our children to figure out. I hope your plans work out. Thanks for your comments.


Barry Silver profile image

Barry Silver 5 years ago from Rockford to Chicago and back.

Hi Pamela,

I'm recent to HubPages and just came across this Hub. I have a bit of a different perspective since I am a licensed funeral director. I may see things a bit differently, but this is for comments. I liked the way you treated more traditional service in that you didn't dismiss them, rather listed a traditional service as an appropriate option for those with whom it resonates. I don't find an issue with the sadness you feel at an open casket visitation. Funerals are sad and it's part of the healing process. Memorial services (no body present) can e equally as sad, it's a matter of how the service is driven.

If I can add 2 thoughts:

Making arrangements for yourself in advance is truly a great gift to your survivors.

It's OK to let your family know your preferences. DON'T tell them not to make a big deal, small deal, not sad, etc. They may need a big deal (or small deal) or a lot of crying. Give your family permission to get what they need from your funeral. That allows your loved ones to set the "deal" and mood. I do love the hub.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Barry, I very much appreciate your suggestions. As you are a funeral director you are certainly more knowledgeable than I about families reactions. Thank you so much for your comments.


Mary 5 years ago

I can't say it enough - please plan ahead! I know it's something no one likes to think about but it makes it so much easier for those left behind.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Mary, That is exactly my view. Thank you for your comments.


Gail Smith Hemby 4 years ago

Well I'm so glad I found this hub! I have been thinking the same way you do. The old traditional funeral is WAAAAAY overrated. What a rip-off business too. I signed up for whole body donation about 5 years ago and I'm so relieved that none of my family will have to deal with all of it!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Gail, I think that is also a smart thing to do. I appreciate your comments.

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