The cremation rate in our community, as like the rest of the country and world, has risen significantly in the last 30 years. What at first in the 1970s seemed like a “fad,” is now the most commonplace form of disposition in the country.
In Eaton County, our cremation rate is slightly higher than 50%, meaning that about half of the families we serve opt for cremation over burial. Of these cremation services, many times the deceased is embalmed (thus present) for visitation and funeral services and cremated afterwards. In other cases, the cremation takes place right away, and an urn is used in place of a casketed decedent during the memorial service. Typically, the terminology “Funeral” implies a body-present service, and “Memorial” implies that cremation has already taken place prior to the gathering. More important, however, than whether we transport the deceased to the crematory or the cemetery, is what happens in the hearts of the bereaved family.
Funerals and memorials weren’t invented by funeral service. They evolved over the centuries to help humanity grasp support and meaning in the face of death. The healing process begins with gathering to say “goodbye.” This “goodbye” can look very different from one to the next. Regardless of preferences for burial or cremation, there is no option to “skip” the funeral/memorial and still make a healthy start through the difficulties of grief. It can’t be done alone.