I Believe in Cremation. Do You?

cremation_affords_the_luxury_of_time

When you see the word “cremation”, what thoughts come to mind?

For most funeral directors I know, those thoughts are probably negative ones.

But why is that? Why is it that after all of these years, “cremation” is frowned upon like a swear word, leaving an uncomfortable silence in any conversation it comes up in?

Cremation is obviously here to stay. In fact, it’s safe to say that it’s the future. So why the harsh feelings?

I’m tired of cremation being a bad word, so I’m going to go against the grain a little here and say something.

I believe in cremation.

I believe in cremation because it affords the luxury of time.

Not following me? Then let me explain…

A funny little story about time

Just the other day, I was talking with a friend who was getting married. These two were perfectionists to say the least, which meant there was not one single element of their wedding that wouldn’t be hired out to the “best of the best.”

When it came time to choose a videographer for their wedding, of course my friend and his wife wanted to choose the best in their area. But unfortunately, the videographer told them that he wasn’t available until six months after their wedding date.

So do you want to know what they did?

They re-booked their wedding for 6 months later ( if you’ve been married you know how big of a hassle this would be), just to book that videographer.

It sounds crazy, but this is how the families of our future will be when it comes to their funerals.

The families of the future want their funeral to be their crowning performance. After all, they only have one chance to get it right. They want their funeral to say “This is who I was, what my beliefs were, and why I mattered, so please pass it on and keep my dream alive!”

And now back to my point…

If you’ve been in this business for even a day, you know that time is of the essence when a death occurs. There is always pressure to plan and conduct a funeral in a timely manner, especially when it comes to traditional burials. After all, nobody wants to be keeping bodies around just to wait for a convenient date.

But now that traditions are changing and cremation is here to stay, we have time.  This does not just mean more time to pick a convenient date for the funeral service – it means more time to offer your families a funeral that is the best of the best (just like that couple).

So what should we do with that time?

More time means more time to plan a meaningful and memorable memorial event that truly celebrates life. More time means more time to impress.

So you get the point… the extra time gained from cremation services should be embraced, but how?

Here are some of my suggestions:

Spend more time with the family. Help them select readings or poetry that truly mean something to them, rather than just offer them the typical pieces that everyone has.
Interview families. Ask them some key questions that will help you create a truly one-of-a-kind eulogy. The more the family is involved, the more meaningful it will be.
Set your selection room up in a way that sparks ideas relevant to the funeral ceremony, not just the products. Try using graphics and video that will stimulate creativity by showing examples of what can be done.
Create a “memory table” in the selection room so you can easily start the conversation as to what kinds of objects would represent the life of your loved one. Explain how objects can also be placed on the table by family members as part of the actual ceremony.
Talk about the value of music and how it can help make the memorial even more special. Assign eager family members the task of selecting the perfect selection of music that will express the taste and life being celebrated.
Invest in personalization. Look into tribute video and custom print material software that allows you to easily create keepsakes that mean something to the family.
Create a guide on having a reception that will follow the funeral / memorial services. Include ideas for locations, caterers, themes, and continued tribute to the deceased.
Visit the family at their home. This will help you get a gauge of who the loved one was, what was important to them, and how they would want to be remembered.
Try something new. With more time, you have more time to experiment with new services or products that you think will add value to your services or to your families’ lives.

While these may sound like little things to spend more time on, all of these little things matter. These little things are what will impress your funeral guests and help you secure a future call when they say “Wow, that’s what I want!”

Cremation afforded me the luxury of time, and I used it wisely. I put my funeral home on the map when it comes to funeral personalization and  I learned how to use my funeral services as my one chance to shine and make an impression on future families.

That’s why I believe in cremation. So tell me… how will you use your extra time?

 

DSCN1954ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Staab is a funeral director in southern Vermont. A certified Life Cycle Celebrant. He owns and operates http://www.cremationsolutions.com/ and is a cremation memorial and ash scattering specialist. When he’ not dreaming up the next cool cremation product he enjoys adventure in the mountains and on the sea, cooking for friends, social responsibility and green living. He can be reached at jeff@cremationsolutions.com. Follow Jeff on Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, or subscribe to his blog here.

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  1. kimstacey

    Hey, Jeff, what a fun, yet insightful read! Thank you so much for sharing your wit and wisdom. I especially loved the last suggestion: “Try something new”.

    It’s so easy to do things “the same old, tried-and-true way”, and that’s such a disservice. To families, yes; but also to ourselves. We funeral folks are passionate about “good-byes” – and when we tap into the creativity within that passion – WOW! Magic can happen. We feel more fulfilled by the experience…that fulfillment nourishes our creativity for the next service…and on it goes…if you “try something new”!

  2. Joseph Ernest Pray

    Right on the money. I agree that it afford s more time to plan. However we are also in the business of making great celebrations come together in a short time frame.

  3. Beth Wigley

    I hope everything you say comes true: that people will slow down and understand that creating these types of services can be the ultimate celebration of their loved one.

  4. Michael West

    Your article was wonderful…and we believe in cremation and unique cremation solutions.

    read about us

    Unique & Affordable Cremation Memorial Solutions

    Losing a family member is never easy, and deciding what to do for a lasting memorial can be equally challenging. With cremation services becoming the popular alternative to traditional burial, you now have some choices. You can do what’s always been done and keep your loved ones cremains in a decorative container, or choose something more personal.

    Introducing; Remains to be Seen, an affordable and unique way to use cremation ashes (or other remains) to memorialize your family, friends or beloved pets! We have developed a process whereby a small amount of cremation ash (or other remains) is gently mixed with pigments to become part of a commissioned memorial painting. Each stroke of each color is layered one after another to become a soulful tribute that will have a special place in your home and become a family heirloom for generations to come.

    Our Story

    The idea came to me when I saw an old bumper sticker that read, “This bumper sticker was printed with ink that was mixed with the ashes of Mount St. Helens.” Pondering the bumper sticker and knowing my wish was to be cremated when I die, I thought, I could have my cremation ashes mixed with paint and have a memorial painting commissioned. I could then leave this painting for the loved ones that I left behind, and it might eventually become a family heirloom.

    When I told my friends and family, some thought it was a bit odd, but they also realized what an incredibly unique idea it was for a proper and beautiful memorial. Well the idea was just that, an idea, and it stayed locked in the back of my head for years. However, recently I was laid off and I decided I did not want to go back to another corporate cubicle for another decade, so I presented the idea to a beloved artist friend and Remains to be Seen LLC. was born.

    We believe that having cremation ashes in an urn or keeping other remains is a good way to remind yourself that your loved one has left this realm, but when you choose to use them in artwork, it’s a vibrant and unique way to transform those remains and remember that they lived.

    ORDERS

    Phone: 410.299.4645

    Email: theartafterlife@gmail.com

    tags: “cremation solution” “cremation art” “cremation memorial” “cremation painting” “pet memorials” “cremation artwork”

  5. Mikhail Bershchanski

    Hi Jeff

    I completely agree with you. You have highlighted few great points.I think it is affordable solution. Besides there are few of people giving their suggestion on alternative for cremation.But in my opinion there is no alternate for cremation.

  6. watts worth

    Your article is good and also useful, I absolutely agree with you. We are also providing cremation service in USA.

  7. Jake White

    My mother has told our family that she wants to be cremated when she passes away. This has been an area of concern for several members of our family who think that it would just be better to have a regular funeral. I found this article to be very helpful in realizing that cremation can give families more time to plan a memorable funeral service. I hope to share this with other members of my family, so thank you for sharing!