Monday, May 3, 2021

Cremation Pros and Cons

Cremation is definitely in the mainstream these days as a method of body disposal. People are finding interesting ways to dispose ashes or cremains of loved ones. Traditionally, cremains are often stored by families who keep them in urns and other containers that vary in their uniqueness. These may include vases with pedestals or even personalized teddy bears with hidden pouches. Teddy bears can be sewn from the deceased person’s clothes. Among other uses, cremains are being used in jewelry, shotgun shells, and fireworks. In terms of destinations, cremains can be stored in cemetery plots, mausoleum, or scattered in a garden or body of water. They can even be sent aloft into outer space into luna orbit.

But love for cremations is not embraced by everyone. Even though they are cheaper than traditional burials and better in terms of ecology, some view cremations as morally inadequate. They believe cremations include "the destruction of community memory, and, by extension, community and individual identity. Cremations deprive the living of these benefits, while also treating the dead in a way which goes against common intuitions about personhood, anthropology and respect for the will of the deceased.” They believe death and the corpse are too important to be marginalized by cremation, depriving individuals and communities in terms of social ethics.

Like many other death-related practices, people should make plans in advance regarding disposal of their bodies in a manner they approve and want. If cremation is selected, they should also plan for disposal of the cremains. This includes making sure they are following the law regarding where they do the disposal. Disposal at Disney World and Disneyland, a popular trend for some, has become a nuisance for others.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.