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End-Life Options
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In this age, when the list of end-of-life documents has grown by leaps and bounds, how to dispose of your body after death is just one more maudlin decision.

Of course, you could let your children and loved ones argue about what your real wishes were, or you could be kind and preplan. They will thank you, I promise. My mother passed at the age of 89 with everything in order, even prepaying for her cremation. Instead of shirking away from discussions about death, my mother and I had comforting talks about the inevitable and I loved her for that.

Cremation has been around since about 3000 BC in various parts of Europe and the United Kingdom. One reason for its popularity was that it was used as a means of stopping infectious diseases from spreading. Earth burials became vogue by 400 AD through Constantine’s influence and authority. Cremation is still practiced and it’s estimated that 30% of all U.S. deaths end in cremation.


As you may have guessed, I’m a proponent of cremation. Here are some reasons why:

Cost: In 2009, a conventional burial cost an average of $6,560, a cremation with service and viewing started at $1,280. Reasons for the lower cost include no need for a casket. Burial plots, if chosen, are less expensive due to small space requirements. Lower costs have the biggest impact on people when making a decision. Companies such as the Neptune Society allow for prepayment of cremation services, which locks in the price. You can even add a service that would fly your body back from wherever you may breathe your last breath.

Environmental issues: Cremation is generally regarded as environmentally friendly because it prevents cemeteries from expanding into natural resources. Unfortunately the act of burning bodies raises some concern with regard to emissions.

Memorial vs. Funerals: If families live a distance apart, they may agree to wait until a later date to memorialize their loved ones.

In this instance cremation is a much more practical option than having the remains stored in a funeral home until a later date.

Even if you disagree with me and choose burial, write down your wishes. Don’t leave this decision in the hands of your survivors.

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By Dee Litten Reed. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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