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Cremation, like electric cars and cell phones is here to stay. For some people cremation is part of their religious practice. For other people, cremation just feels right for them. The big question is who should help you with your cremation, a society or a funeral director?
Cremation Societies specialize in what is called a direct cremation. Direct cremation means the society will remove the deceased from the place of death and take the body directly to their crematory where the cremation process will take place. Following cremation, the ashes are returned to the family in a bag or box. It’s all pretty quick. The cost is quite low for direct cremation.
But something is missing.
How do we feel when a family member dies? What helps? Death is a loss. It is hard to describe how loss feels, but it is something like a void, a vacuum, or an energy shift. You see something close when you watch victims of the California wild fires or a tornado on television. You see that dazed and stunned look on their faces. That is loss. There they stand looking at a pile of rubble that was their home … and now it is gone. That look is about loss of a building. Loss of a person, someone you love, is so much more. It hurts your heart.
Funeral directors are trained and specialize in taking care of the deceased AND in taking care of the family of the deceased. They know people need more. They are going to encourage you to slow down a little and give the family a little time for the reality of the loss to sink in. Give a little time for the family to consider what they need to do to begin to heal.
Funeral directors specialize in helping families put together a gathering to honor the one who died. They know that being with those you love and who love you helps. They know words, as a part of a religious, spiritual, or life celebration ceremony help. Funerals are the funeral director’s specialty. They have done this many times with many families. Funeral directors are the experts.
Of course, the funeral home will help you with a direct cremation if that is what your family prefers. To be fair, cremation societies will also add on some service options at the family’s request. As you add services the cost increases. It is important to look for value.
The funeral home is staffed by licensed trained funeral directors and serves families from a clean, company ready facility with plenty of parking and is a good value. Do your homework. Where will cremation take place? If your family wants service where will the service take place? If you add service and products what is the difference in price? How important is cost over expertise? Share your budget with the funeral director at your funeral home. Don’t assume you need to sacrifice ceremony for savings.
On June 6, 2019 the world will mark the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion during World War II. The invasion by the Allied Forces established a foothold on the shores of France; and was the start of the Allied advance into the interior which eventually lead to victory in Europe and liberty for the millions of people living under the tyranny of Adolf Hitler. The costly battle was the most important allied victory in the second world war.
The campaign began on June 6 and ended on June 30. During that period 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded, or went missing. Many are buried in the 27 war cemeteries, ranging in size from 30 graves to 20,000, in Normandy.
The Normandy American Cemetery is the resting place for 9,387 Americans, most of whom gave their lives during the landing operations and in the establishment of the beachhead. The headstones are of white Italian marble adorned with a Star of David for those of Jewish faith and a Latin Cross for all others. The permanent cemetery is located on land France granted to the United States in perpetuity.
For those fortunate enough to visit the burial grounds, the experience is singular. Approaching alone or with a group the mood changes. Breathing slows, the chatter quiets, tones are hushed. The feeling is somber. It draws you in.
And then, there it is, pristine lush green lawn dotted by thousands of white markers in perfect formation overlooking the very beaches where those buried here fought and died.
Visitors are, at first, overwhelmed by the sheer number of markers. But as you get closer and begin to read the engravings, the reality of the cost of war begins to sink in. So many died, they were so very young, and all lost in such a short span of time.
All those lives ended before they ever really began. So many who would never find their true love, hold a new born child of their own, or buy a home. So many who never got to experience all the post war changes the rest of us take for granted. Those buried here did not live to see air travel become commonplace, a man land on the moon or watch a color television.
They were heroic and their sacrifice was great. We must never forget.
The anniversary is an opportunity to honor those lost. It is also an opportunity celebrate peace and reconciliation. In our mindfulness we become aware of the fragility of peace and the pain of war. It is that mindfulness that makes us better people.
In the words of the late John Lennon…
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one