Having a Private Cremation / Burial
– then a Memorial Service later
A Memorial Service can be anything – a gathering at the pub or Sport’s Club, a Church Service, a Dinner or BBQ…
It is whatever you want it to be and people are discovering it is worth looking at.
Here are some things to consider looking at having a private cremation or burial soon after death and an event later.
Time and Space
Perhaps the greatest benefit is the time and space it gives families. Naturally when someone dies it can be a stressful time. Even if the death is expected, there is still pain and loss. Families are confronted with having many things to organise and deal with.
Usually the funeral service happens a few days later which does take a lot of time and effort. There are often many questions that need quick answers.
It is known that Funeral Homes do use this to talk families into spending more when they didn’t intend to. Families could easily end up having a much different funeral than they initially intended.
When a memorial service happens later this gives families time and space to grieve and recover from the initial shock. Then they are better set to organise a funeral service.
Also, if people need to travel some distance, this gives them time to organise this.
Having a private cremation first allows family and close friends a more intimate and personal time to say goodbye. This time is usually more informal as families share stories, music or just being together. The committal service is the family’s time to farewell the person.
Although the cremation happens a soon after death there is plenty of time for people to prepare for this simple gathering. There is no need to rush.
Perhaps the family wanted to say goodbye without any service with the coffin. But they still wanted the opportunity to remember and celebrate the person’s life later.
The same can happen with a burial happening before the gathering.
Perhaps talking about money isn’t the right attitude when a family wants to remember a loved one. But for many it is a factor they need to consider. There are definitely cost savings..
Having a cremation (or burial) first means that the person doesn’t need to be embalmed. This is an option more people are avoiding. It is an invasive procedure whose main reasons are to disinfect and preserve the body – replacing blood chemical fluids. Embalming does add a lot to the price for often minimal benefit.
There is no need for Funeral Homes (including me) to be involved at a Memorial Service, which can have significant savings. Whenever the Funeral Home is involved it will cost.
There are many ways to have a meaningful Memorial Service without the usual expenses. I would be happy to discuss these options, while you can still have a funeral that is right for your family.
When I led funerals as a minister, the two things people tended to remember the most were:
- the stories told about the person and
- the people they caught up with.
Everything else, like the type of coffin or flowers or service sheets wasn’t nearly as important or memorable.
Taking some time after the death to arrange a funeral service didn’t erase the memory. Rather is enabled people to be much more present remembering and celebrating the life of a person who impacted their lives.
How you remember, how you mourn, how you say goodbye is a decision you and your family should be empowered to make. There are no set rules you need to follow.
Two things remembered most at a funeral:
– the stories told about the person.
– the people they caught up with.