Brian Campbell

The Traditional Funeral.

Years ago the choice was simple.  When your loved one passed away, part of the funeral arrangements included picking out an appropriate casket to present your loved one to your family and friends at the funeral service.  Afterwards, the casket containing your loved one’s remains will be taken to the cemetery where it is buried.

Cremation or Burial? Funeral or Memorial Service? So many choices.
These days, things have become much more complicated, with the choice between burial or cremation, open or closed casket service, funeral verses memorial service, and so on. This leaves you with the decision of the importance of buying a casket.

Minimal requirements for cremation.
Cremation requires only a rigid, burnable, container, so metal caskets are not an option. But this does lead to another consideration. If you plan to have a memorial service with no viewing, there is really no need for a casket at all. Funeral homes and crematoriums will provide you with a container suitable for their use.

What value do you place on a casket?
But, even if you plan to have a traditional funeral with a viewing of your loved one’s remains, you do have the option of renting a casket for the funeral, then transferring the body to the minimum required container for the cremation. But this does present an interesting question. What is the value of a box? In the days when burial was common practice, you didn’t think twice about placing the casket containing your loved one’s remains into the ground and burying it. So what makes cremation different?

From Pyramids to caskets.
Your loved one, your most valuable possession, is going into the crematorium, no matter what the container is. There was a time when the casket was chosen out of respect for the loved one, as a show of respect for the lost loved one. Fancy caskets were chosen, marble headstones, in some cases, elaborate tombs. The Egyptians built huge pyramids to show respect for their past kings. How has cremation changed this practice?

The decision of whether or not to buy a casket is yours.
But, of course, that does depend upon your point of view. Maybe the casket is not important to you. Maybe you want to show your respect to your loved one in another way, through a special memorial or tribute. You are the only one who can make this decision, unless your loved one made that decision while they were alive. This is a discussion that you may want to have, both regarding your loved one’s final wishes, and your own.  Think about it.