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Cremation Or Burial? Or...?  
User currently offlinekiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8549 posts, RR: 13
Posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1713 times:
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As result of a question in this thread Do You Believe In God? (by zrs70 Feb 17 2012 in Non Aviation) I looked up some statistics on cremation and was very surprised at what I saw. ( I admit to bias, I will be cremated as will the majority of my fellow Kiwis).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ries_by_cremation_rate#New_Zealand


New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the UK all have cremation rates hovering around 70% ( plus or minus a couple of percent) but in the US cremation seems to be a little over half that rate. Any theories on why there is such a small uptake on cremation in the US? Is it religious? Cultural? A bit of both? or something else entirely?


Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19510 posts, RR: 58
Reply 1, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 1685 times:

DONATE to your local medical school, please.

Thank you.

Signed,

-The doctors who have made it possible for you to live so long


User currently offlinekiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8549 posts, RR: 13
Reply 2, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 1681 times:
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Quoting DocLightning (Reply 1):
DONATE to your local medical school, please.

Now that's a good thought.... I think you may have just changed my mind about cremation... then again, if my organs have been harvested on my death for donation would my corpse actually be any use to a medical school? or would it be like a second text book with pages missing?



Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently offlinearmitageshanks From UK - England, joined Dec 2003, 3619 posts, RR: 15
Reply 3, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 1681 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 1):


-The doctors who have made it possible for you to live so long

Both my parents have looked into this and, at least around here, its extremely difficult to meet the requirements. They live in a medium sized town with a level 1 trauma center and teaching hospital affiliated with the local university's medical school AND we have a VA hospital. I was shocked to know how restrictive it was.

Maybe that's why it is so restrictive... they already have enough bodies?

As for me I'm against being buried in a coffin in the ground or mausoleum. That seems really ghoulish. I couldn't imagine myself going to visit a loved one at an actual grave site or mausoleum. I have two grandparents in mausoleums and I haven't been to "visit" since they were buried... its just so weird. Now, my grandfathers ashes were scattered in the lake he swam in for years, and I think that's cool but I don't really feel any deep meaning knowing that he's "out there."

Once you're dead, you're dead. Anything after that is the family's insecurities and superstitions coming though.

[Edited 2012-02-24 23:52:52]

User currently offlinekiwiinoz From New Zealand, joined Oct 2005, 2165 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 1623 times:

I want to be fired out of a cannon off North Head into the Waitemata Harbour

I have issued this request to my wife, and judging by her response, I am highly doubtful that she is going to follow through with my wishes


User currently offlineSmittyOne From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1600 times:

Quoting kiwiinoz (Reply 4):
I want to be fired out of a cannon off North Head into the Waitemata Harbour

I have issued this request to my wife, and judging by her response, I am highly doubtful that she is going to follow through with my wishes

LOL this has really inspired me to think up something better than my current plan!

Every burial at sea I have done has been kind of a disaster, the wind always seems to find a way to shift around and blow the ashes everywhere! The dignity of the thing goes way down when you have to break out the firehose to finish the job!

Maybe I'll have my ashes mixed into concrete for some worthy project. Or with salt and sand to put on the roads in the winter.


User currently offlinetupolevtu154 From Germany, joined Aug 2004, 2181 posts, RR: 28
Reply 6, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1590 times:

When someone says "scatter ashes" I always think it has to be done properly. Scattered and dispersed in the sense that you can't see any of it after it's done. I wouldn't like to just see them scattered on the ground.

My grandmother died in November and she wants her ashes scattered on some land near her home. I've been thinking it'd be better if I flew overhead and scattered them from an aircraft, not just sprinkle them on the ground. Do I need to get permission to do this from someone or...?

I'd much rather be cremated than buried. As to where I'd like to be scattered, I have no idea.



Atheists - Winning since 33 A.D.
User currently offlinena From Germany, joined Dec 1999, 10679 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1584 times:

The increasing number of cremations has a lot to do that people dont want to pay so much for a burial and do not want their kids to pay for and regularly care for a traditional grave site. I have no kids so I have no wish for a landbased grave.

Now that the Queen Mary 2 offers weddings at sea I thought why not a burial at sea? Thrown overboard from the QM2 would be a stylish way to disappear. Not that I think it´ll ever happen. But a burial at sea from the deck of a (historic) sailing ship is something I could see for myself.

Quoting tupolevtu154 (Reply 6):
I've been thinking it'd be better if I flew overhead and scattered them from an aircraft

Or that.

Quoting kiwiinoz (Reply 4):
I want to be fired out of a cannon off North Head into the Waitemata Harbour

Too messy  What if your body kills some fish while hitting the water.


User currently offlineflyingturtle From Switzerland, joined Oct 2011, 2371 posts, RR: 13
Reply 8, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1578 times:

A German funeral director has a blog, http://www.bestatterweblog.de. There, he has for several times explained the pros and cons of cremation and burial.

Concerning myself: My body should be left where and how it was found. Gives the least hassle. And is environmentally friendy. 

For practical reasons, I want to be buried for the lowest possible cost. But my name, date of birth & death have to be engraved somewhere. Another consideration is how far away my surviving relatives live and if they need a memorial place - especially if it is up to a family member to care for my burial site.

My father's parents have chosen an alcove for their urns. My mother's parents decided for a common burial - a patch of grass, with a central stone with the names of the dead engraved.

Cremation can be more expensive than a burial, but it is usually cheaper. It always depends on what kind of funeral service is chosen, what kind of tombstone, if the burial place is rented (usual in Europe) or bought, what kind of cask – very, very much is up for choice.


David



Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
User currently offlinejamincan From Canada, joined Aug 2006, 775 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1566 times:

I want to be cremated and then have my ashes scattered somewhere that was meaningful to me. I like the idea of being returned to the earth. Burial doesn't really seem like the same thing.

I now that when my Grandfather died, one of the members of his church was quite angry that we didn't have an open casket at the visitation (we only had a picture), I can't imagine her reaction if she knew that he was cremated. Anticipating some of this sort of inappropriateness, we held the burial before the memorial service.

I'm not really sure why some people have such strong feeling regarding burial. I can understand some cultures and religions have prescribed ways of treating the deceased, but Christianity (the dominant religion in N. America) doesn't really say a whole lot about it.


User currently offlinebjorn14 From Norway, joined Feb 2010, 3412 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 1545 times:

Quoting tupolevtu154 (Reply 6):
Do I need to get permission to do this from someone or...?

In Norway, you need permission and they tell you where and when. Then you fill out a form telling the city that it was done (even include GPS cooridinates) We spread my M-I-L ashes on the Oslo fjord (since she lived in a house that over looked it) and we will do the same for my F-I-L.

As for the OP's question. At the turn of the 20th Century about 1% of people were cremated in the U.S. and like he said is now up to 35%. I think earlier there was a great taboo against it in a largely Christian society but as the U.S. became less Christian along with rising burial costs people's attitudes changed. As a Christian, I am open to it as it says in Genesis 3:19 "from dust you came and to dust you will return"

Actually, I was kind of hoping for an old fashion Viking burial where you are put in a little boat that is pushed out sea and set on fire.



"I want to know the voice of God the rest is just details" --A. Einstein
User currently offlineflyingturtle From Switzerland, joined Oct 2011, 2371 posts, RR: 13
Reply 11, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 1504 times:

Quoting tupolevtu154 (Reply 6):
Do I need to get permission to do this from someone or...?

It depends. In Switzerland, it's legal to scatter your ashes anywhere - as long it is in a dignified manner. In Germany for example, the remains have to be buried on an official cemetery. And thus what do the people do...?

They send their ashes to the Netherlands, for example. For "burial". There, it is outside of the Germany's legal reach, and the remains have escaped the "chain" spanning from the funeral director to the crematorium to the cemetery. And now it can be sent back to Germany as a parcel. What the receiver do with the ashes is up to them.

If you get caught, the fine will be small...



Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 12, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 1489 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 1):
DONATE to your local medical school, please.

Have you read Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers it was on the NY Times Bestseller list for a long time. I thought it was a great read. It goes into all the ways people dispose of their bodies when they die, including the history of medical donation. You doctors had some pretty sketchy ways of getting dissection subjects back in the day my friend.

I'm not really sure I care where or how my body is disposed of. The book above discusses some interesting options though. Some people are frozen with liquid nitrogen then shattered and tilled into the earth. Others are dissolved in acid. When I was doing some climbing in British Columbia a ranger told me a story how they found the body of a climber in a glacier who died over 50 years earlier nearly perfectly preserved. That might be a nice way to be sent off.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlineblrsea From India, joined May 2005, 1421 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1469 times:

Recently, I was reading an article (in NYTimes?) that said the with the rising cost of burials, many are opting for cremation. It appears that cremation costs are 1/3 the cost of traditional burial.

User currently offline57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2550 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 1454 times:

Years ago, a friend who was with the Arizona Air National Guard scattered the cremains of a fellow pilot as part of the deceased's final request. The crew placed the cremains in the F-4's speed brake fairings so that when the brake was activated, out they would go. He was dropped over the family farm.

As a railroader, cremation goes back well into the early 20th century. Some railroad men had favorite spots on line that they found so beautiful that they wished to remain there for eternity. Since railroad companies generally prohibit trackside graves, cremation is preferred. In some cases, cremains would be scattered from the rear of a scheduled train and in others, a special train would be run. When a special is run, tradition holds that the crew consists of the closest friends of the deceased. I have selected cremation for myself and specified the mile post at which I will be scattered. It is a beautiful location on the line and the final resting place of a close friend.



"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
User currently offlineairportugal310 From Palau, joined Apr 2004, 3609 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 1448 times:

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 8):
Cremation can be more expensive than a burial, but it is usually cheaper.

Perhaps in Europe...here in the US it is most certainly cheaper. My g/f's mother was cremated...only cost $400 + the price of the urn which wasn't a heck of a lot...got a custom made one for +/- $200

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 12):
Have you read Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers it was on the NY Times Bestseller list for a long time. I thought it was a great read. It goes into all the ways people dispose of their bodies when they die, including the history of medical donation. You doctors had some pretty sketchy ways of getting dissection subjects back in the day my friend.

Great read...it's actually on my bookshelf. Insightful, mixed in with some comedy (have to make the best of it, I suppose!)

Forgot to add: At this time, should I pass, I would like to be cremated and have my urn put underwater in a lobster cave in some reef. Hang out with some crustacean company for the rest of my second-life!  Smile

[Edited 2012-02-25 10:22:07]


I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 16, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 1440 times:

Quoting kiwiandrew (Thread starter):
Any theories on why there is such a small uptake on cremation in the US? Is it religious? Cultural? A bit of both?

I see two sides of this process.

In the US we are still a very young nation compared to Europe, and knowing our ancestry is something more and more people in the US are interested in discovering.

Graveyards are a primary source of information because we really haven't become a society of good record keeping until the last half century. A couple years ago, while visiting my father in rural Arkansas, I took my two oldest grandchildren around to four country graveyards - showed them the tombstones of my uncles, aunts, grandparents, great uncles, great aunts, cousins, great grandparents, etc.

It helped to make the family tree I keep and old photographs come alive to them. I also showed them the plot where I will be buried and explained my desires for my final service - to be a celebration of my life and enjoyment of the times we had together.

Raised in a rural area, death and burial were something I was acquainted with early in life. It is a part of the process of life, not something strange or mysterious. Just the end of this stage of our lives. My children and grandchildren were raised in more urban areas, and missed something in not being so acquainted with the end of life.

In rural areas, cemeteries are traditional, and old folks like tradition. Even though most hate the expense of traditional funerals, they are still what people want for their own end.

In urban areas, more and more folks are without close family nearby, and the expense of a traditional burial plot is a real waste of money. One of my father's brothers dies in early June 1970 in Houston. I think I'm the only one who visits his grave about once a year, even though one of my brothers and two of my uncle's children live in the area.

I see more people, especially younger people, choosing cremation, and scattering of ashes. Simply because they have not ties to the land, the city, no family associations to remember.

I have also seen, been to three funerals of people my age who died far from 'home'. All three were cremated and their ashes brought home for burial in the local cemetery. For one thing, it saves a ton of money that would be necessary to transport a casket. But they come home.

I guess it comes down to that - do you have a home where you wish to be remembered?


User currently offlineusflyer msp From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2124 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1431 times:

In my family and culture... we generally do not do cremation. Historically, there was some religious reason for this (something about denying the resurrection) but know it is just personal taste. I think I know of one person that was cremated and that was only because she was poor and died suddenly and the family could not come up with the cash or credit quick enough for a proper burial (usually the dead person is expected to write their own obituary and funeral program and have put funds aside to pay for their funeral). They are (barring some horrible injury) open-casket and at least four hours long including the funeral service, another grave side service, and a community meal afterwards.

User currently offlinekiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8549 posts, RR: 13
Reply 18, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1431 times:
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Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 16):
I see two sides of this process.

In the US we are still a very young nation compared to Europe, and knowing our ancestry is something more and more people in the US are interested in discovering.

Thanks your answer... I hadn't thought of that and it is very interesting. On the other hand NZ, Australia and Canada are very young nations too, so there must still be some other factors in play.

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 16):
I see more people, especially younger people, choosing cremation, and scattering of ashes. Simply because they have not ties to the land, the city, no family associations to remember.

That is another interesting observation, and I think that may very well be a factor in both Australia and New Zealand both of which (in spite of what advertising images may lead people to think) are very urbanised. It's a shame the figures for cremation in NZ don't include ethnic breakdown... I suspect very strongly that the indigenous Maori probably account for quite a large proportion of those who opt for burial, and thinking back, I have known quite a few Maori whose bodies have gone back to their tribal lands for burial.



Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 19, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1410 times:

I'd add to Field's comment that we also have a considerable amount more land area available for cemeteries than Europe. Where in places like Paris they have underground cities of bones stacked in piles because they need room, that is not much of a problem here in the US, especially in rural areas.


The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlinedanielmyatt From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2011, 160 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1403 times:

I want to be Disinfected both inside then out... then Laminated in a funny pose, so I can really confuse archaeologists10,000 years from now.

User currently offlinekiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8549 posts, RR: 13
Reply 21, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1400 times:
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Quoting danielmyatt (Reply 20):
I want to be Disinfected both inside then out... then Laminated in a funny pose, so I can really confuse archaeologists10,000 years from now.

Brilliant 



Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently offlinesrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1378 times:

To quote Al Czervik from "Caddyshack":

Quote:
Country clubs and cemeteries are the biggest wasters of prime real estate!

It may also be a generational thing as well, as I know my grandparents for many years viewed cremation as if it was some strange practice. Then last year, they changed their stance all of a sudden and decided to sell their burial plots (which turned out to be downright impossible to sell) and be cremated instead (and have their ashes interred at my grandmother's family cemetery. My grandfather died last July after a brief illness and was cremated and his ashes are in a nice box sitting on the dresser in his old bedroom. Most of our family has already told the rest of the family that they want to be cremated, so that decision won't have to be weighed. I wish to be cremated, but I may have my ashes spread somewhere instead of having to have someone take possession of my cremains for more than a brief time.

With the price of a funeral (including burial) getting more and more expensive, more people are opting for cremation over burial. I think that the percentage of Americans opting for cremation will continue to grow.

[Edited 2012-02-25 14:14:45]

User currently offlineaerorobnz From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 7184 posts, RR: 13
Reply 23, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 1324 times:

Several options I have pondered.

Mummification. I have often thought it would be cool to be all dried and crusty and rediscovered by archeologists a long long way in the future. Unfortunately I wouldn't be around to hear their guesses as to who I was and what I did but still..

Taken to the Serengeti and left out for vultures, hyenas and lions.

Stuffed and mounted on the mantlepiece Perhaps in a typical pose.

Stripped down to bones and then coated in metalplate, and every bone engraved with my name, date of birth, date of death

Pickled in a barrel of rum.

Placed in a specimen jar in London's Natural History museum next to Darwin's specimens from the beagle voyage


User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19510 posts, RR: 58
Reply 24, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 1310 times:

Quoting kiwiandrew (Reply 2):
then again, if my organs have been harvested on my death for donation would my corpse actually be any use to a medical school?

The answer is that parts of your body would still be useful. Basically, the will would be something like: "take any usable organs for transplant and donate the remainder to science and education." They can use body parts, certainly. All of the plastinated specimens that we used in our anatomy class came from real people.

One of the creepiest/coolest things I ever saw was an entire plastinated infant with the front half of his torso removed. He had been stillborn, but was anatomically normal, and was donated by his parents. I remember holding him thinking: "Oh my goodness, this is a whole human body."

For those who are curious, when they are done with the bodies, they are disposed of by incineration. If it is possible, the ashes are returned to the family.


25 Post contains images kiwiandrew : Thanks for that Doc I think I need to update my will. I had always assumed that the 'left-overs' after my organs have been harvested would be of no u
26 DocLightning : What matters is that you leave some document that states what you want, probably notarized. You should also make sure that your family knows about you
27 Post contains images zkojq : Once I die, I have asked that my organs be removed and donated to either people in need of new ones (though I have made it clear that someone who smok
28 JJJ : Here it's pretty straightforward. You go to your local medical school and sign up. They'll give you a nice shiny card stating you're a donor, pretty
29 bjorn14 : Or at least make sure that the executor of your will is on board with the idea.
30 Post contains images DocLightning : That's essentially how it worked with my dad. Except for him the closest school happened to be the one where I was a student. That's a problem becaus
31 NorthstarBoy : Over the years i've tossed around a number of ideas on what my final disposition should be: Burial in my car. Burial in a mausoleum Being buried at se
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