Sunday, March 25, 2012

Burial or Cremation?

Do you want a traditional burial, in a casket, or do you want a cremation?  I bet you know the answer to this question already? 

In certain parts of the country, the cremation rate is almost 75% of all deaths.  Here in Dallas, it depends on where you live.  In West Plano, for example, our cremation rate is about 65%.  At Sparkman Hillcrest, it is about 25%. 

We will explore the dynamics of cremation and traditional burial here in Dallas and the Metroplex in later postings.  But for now, what do you want?  Do you want a Dallas funeral or a Plano cremation?  There really is no wrong answer; it depends upon your values, your decisions regarding your final life event and how you want your body treated once you are gone.

But in this case, the larger question is this: Does your family know what you want?  I have been in conferences with grown adult children who, when faced with the very real question of burial or cremation, turn to each other and say, "Do you know what mom wanted?"  They don't have a clue!  And so, whatever they decide, they feel guilty about it.  If they bury mom, they feel guilty that they spent money on something that mom might not have wanted.  And if they cremate, God forbid that would have gone against mom's deepest values.  Either way, they have to live with their decision for the rest of their lives.

Of course, this is when I can help them record their own decisions in a Planning Guide so that their children know what they want.  But for mom, it's too late.  Her secret has gone to the grave - or to the crematory - with her. 

And it did not have to be this way.  A brief conversation.  A note written in a planning guide.  A call to a caring and professional Family Service Director, that is all that was needed in order to avert chaos at the time of death.  Certainly this is a hard question to ask mom but let me ask you: is not the reality of an uncertain decision even harder to bear, knowing that it will bring pangs of guilt for the rest of your life?

So take an hour and meet with a Family Service Director.  He or she will work with you to record this, and other important decisions.  Then, together, you can inform your family of your desires so that they can walk out of that conference on the worst day of their lives confident that they have made the right decision, for they will have carried out your wishes, a final act of love.

Remember: Always walk on the bright side of life.

Jordan Parr
Sparkman Hillcrest Funeral Home
Dallas, TX

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