If you or your parents are considering buying a direct cremation - you might just want to read this first…here are 5 factors to consider when buying a direct cremation
There is a growing trend for people buying Direct Cremation in recent years. There are internet companies springing up all over the place selling this option.
Direct Cremations are advertised as “the alternative to all the fuss of a traditional funeral” and talk about relieving families of the burden of organising a funeral - all emotionally laden language.
Here are 5 factors to consider when considering buying a direct cremation
1. Your family might have other ideas..
Talk with your family and loved ones about this as they will be the ones left to process your death and perhaps would like the opportunity to say goodbye in the form of a funeral.
When my friend was dying, we talked about his funeral wishes and he said he wanted his body just taken away, ie direct cremation as he believed that his body was just “an empty shell”. “What about us, your family and friends?” came my immediate response. He hadn’t considered that we’d want to have a funeral service for him. Thinking back to when my parents died (7 years apart) if they had chosen to have a direct cremation, I would have felt robbed, to be honest.
For me, a funeral is a chance to say goodbye, have a ceremony, and mark the end of their physical life. Having the physical presence of their coffins there really brought that home to me the reality of their deaths, after being in a state of shock and dazed after they died.
The time between their deaths and the funeral was like being in limbo and life didn’t feel like it could move on until the funeral, which marked the end of the life and death cycle.
I really encourage you to talk to your family and loved ones about this before buying a direct cremation.
Read my experiences of how it was when my dad died unexpectedly
2. No ceremony or service when buying a direct cremation
When buying a direct cremation there is no attendance or ceremony before they are cremated. If you buy a direct cremation from a company, when your loved one dies, after the body is collected, you will not see them again.
You will not get the chance to visit them in a chapel of rest, choose the clothes that they will wear, or get together with other family members and friends at their funeral to grieve together and celebrate their life. When buying a direct cremation from a funeral director, you will have these options but at an extra cost.
I have heard funeral directors say that even up until the day of the direct cremation, families believe they can still come to the crematorium to say goodbye to their loved ones, when in fact they can’t.
Even when they are told it at the time of choosing this option, it doesn’t always sink in, as people are in shock after the death of a loved one, so it’s good to know this before buying a direct cremation.
Read my experiences of my friend’s direct cremation funeral
3. Are the company local?
With the many internet-based companies offering direct cremation at a low price, this means that they might be a national company, so when your loved one dies,
their bodies might be taken 100s of miles away for the direct cremation itself (along with hundreds of others) and you don’t know who is caring for and preparing your loved one for the cremation.
4. Hidden costs-
As with any service, there are usually hidden and extra costs. Regarding direct cremation, the place, time, and location of death will alter the costs.
For example, my friend spent his final weeks of life in a Residential Care Home and died on a Sunday evening. Even though we had bought a direct cremation, we had to pay extra costs for the funeral directors to come out and collect him as it was on a weekend, and plus it was in the evening.
If he had died at home, we would have been able to keep him at home and be with him until the morning before calling the funeral director. My advice would be to always read the small print and ask questions.
5. Direct Cremation is NOT actually direct!
Up until I organised a direct cremation for my friend who died, I always believed that a direct cremation meant that when the person died their body would be taken away and cremated. Wrong!
When a person dies, the death needs to be certified by a doctor and the death needs to be registered. In England and Wales this is up to 5 working days after the person dies, and 7 days in Scotland. This means that the person will need to be kept somewhere and cared for during this time.( incurring extra costs)
Then the date of the direct cremation needs to be arranged. When my friend died, it was a period of 11 days until the direct cremation took place.
The more accurate term for direct cremation is Unattended Funeral.
So as you can see, when buying a direct cremation, there is a lot to consider. I highly recommend talking to your loved ones and researching the companies that are offering direct cremation. And always read the small print.
If you would like to find out more about direct cremations or get clear on your funeral wishes, then please get in touch and book a free 15-minute chat with me.
Thank you for reading,