When people learn about direct cremation one of the few concerns they have is the idea that there’s no memorial service beforehand. But the fact is, more people are choosing cremation today and many of those people are choosing to skip the traditional funeral and memorial services.
For some it’s a matter of cost, and for others it’s about the logistics. Trying to plan a burial or cremation, handle estate affairs and get death certificates while in the grieving process is hard enough on families without adding in a memorial service and everything that comes with it.
At the same time a study from the Funeral and Memorial Information Council (FAMIC) found that the majority of people believe funerals and memorials are an important part of the healing process.
Fortunately, there’s a way to combine both direct cremation and a memorial service. Funeral directors who participated in the FAMIC study noted that memorials are not the same as they used to be 20-30 years ago. One way that memorials are changing is when they occur. It’s becoming increasingly more common for families that choose cremation to wait until after the process is complete to have a memorial service.
So instead of having a funeral or memorial prior to cremation with the deceased present, families host a memorial with the cremated remains present. Often families choose to approach the event as a celebration of life rather than a remembrance after death.
Why Post-Cremation Celebration of Life Ceremonies Are Becoming More Common
Anytime something goes against tradition, many people question why people would choose to do it. We’ve gone into detail about why some families choose a post-cremation memorial, but here’s a quick rundown of the top reasons.
Families have a lot more time to plan a celebration of life ceremony if it’s held after the cremation. They are also less pressured to have the memorial somewhere convenient and impersonal, such as the funeral home.
Services that are held before a burial or cremation have to happen within days of a person passing. During that period family and friends may be experiencing heightened emotions. And while it’s beneficial to be around loved ones while you’re grieving, that doesn’t mean you want to host an event with dozens of people.
When you have more time to plan, it usually means you ultimately spend less. Plus, the simple fact that there are a lot more options outside of the funeral home translates into savings.
Being able to take your time and really contemplate what you want to do means that the service is most likely to be more personal.
For some people, a post-cremation celebration of life simply seems more positive and uplifting than a memorial service within days of a person’s death.
Celebration of Life Suggestions
A celebration of life after the cremation means that you have endless options for honoring your loved one. You can even wait until a special date, like their birthday. Here are a few ideas to help jumpstart the planning process.
- Plant a tree or bush in a memorable spot.
- Start a garden on a family property.
- Establish a community garden in their honor.
- Create a group mural.
- Release a water wreath into the ocean, a river or a lake.
- Organize a charitable event in the name of your loved one.
- Plan a get together at your loved one’s favorite restaurant or park.
No matter what celebration of life you choose, what’s most important is that it’s meaningful to you and the life your loved one lived.