Niche, Grave, Columbarium, Mausoleum, Burial versus Cremation, Oh My!
When considering burial options, people have numerous choices to make. First and foremost would be, do I prefer traditional burial of the body (traditional burial) or cremation? Now, if cremation is your choice, the option to have a family member keep your cremated remains exists. I personally do not consider this to be a long term solution. I have encountered many families who have come to me with the ashes of a dear relative and have said something like, I would like to bury [insert name], I have had their ashes for some time and I am tired of dusting them, or maybe it was, she deserves better than being stored in the closet. I think you see my point. Even though I earnestly believe that a recorded burial in some fashion is the greatest respect that can be paid to any deceased human being. it is a personal decision that you have to make. Your decision here is what determines whether you are weighing the option of burial versus cremation or traditional burial versus cremation burial. As I plan to discuss cremation options more in depth in a future post, “that’s all I have to say about that”.
Choosing between traditional burial and cremation burial is the first step, after that many of your options are very similar. You could choose ground burial in which a grave is dug and your casket or urn is buried in the ground. This may or may not require the use of a burial vault or outer burial container, depending on the local laws and regulations. Often times with traditional burial there is the option to be buried at double depth. Another traditional burial option is above ground or mausoleum entombment in a crypt.
With cremation, your options are very similar. Cremation burial in the ground may be on your own lot or grave, or it may be possible to have your ashes buried in the same grave as another family member. When choosing an above ground option for cremation, your ashes can be entombed in a niche located in a mausoleum or columbarium.
While the burial options mentioned above are the most common, there are variations of each. There are glass front niches, as the name implies the niches are constructed of glass on at least one side. This enables visitors to actually see the cremation urn as well as any photos or mementos of the deceased. There are cremation memorials which can be made of granite and resemble that of any other memorial or even a bench. These memorials will have a hollow cavity inside of them in which the cremated remains may be placed. Alternatively, there are bronze memorials that have a special urn that is actually placed under the person’s name plate, and into a space created by the foundation of the bronze memorial.
And finally there is green burial or natural burial. While relatively new as modern burial practices go, green burial is really just returning to a simpler method of burial, one that was the norm years ago.
Burial today is certainly not a “choice free necessity” as it once was, and you should know your options.