Cremation Service Options for Grieving Families


I believe when most people hear the word “cremation,” their next thought is likely what I call “direct cremation,” meaning with no services. Many families are horrified to think about sending their loved one away without having the chance to say goodbye or remember their lives. They want their loved one laid to rest properly.

That is why it is important for people who are thinking about cremation to know that they have service options connected with their decision to cremate. You can say goodbye to your loved one in a fitting way, even if you choose to cremate them.

A viewing may be held before the cremation.

Many families find great comfort in being able to see and say goodbye to their deceased loved one. For some people, it is an important step in finding closure and dealing with their grief. That is why many of the families we serve opt to have a viewing of the loved one: They want the loved one’s family and friends to have this chance to see and say goodbye to them one last time.

It is important for families to realize that cremation does not take this opportunity away from them. You can still have a viewing, even if you choose cremation. Just like the viewing is held before the body is placed in the ground with a traditional burial, so the viewing can be held before the cremation takes place.

Usually, the viewing is accompanied by a service. However, you can choose to hold a private viewing right before the cremation. This allows your family the comfort of saying goodbye without a service, if a service does not suit your needs, or if you want to hold a service after the cremation.

A service may also be held before the cremation.

In some ways, the viewing is kind of separate from the service for a loved one. Of course, the most traditional route is to have the viewing and then the service together. However, the viewing may not be accompanied by a service, or the service may take place after the cremation, or the service may take place without a viewing. It all depends on what the family thinks is most fitting and appropriate in their situation.

Regardless of what you decide about a viewing, you can always hold a service for your loved one before their cremation. The beautiful thing about this service is that it can be exactly the same as a funeral service before a traditional burial. You have just as many options, from location (funeral home, or church), to the details of the service (religious or secular). You can even have the body present in its casket if you wish.

Really, what I try to remind families of is that the only difference between this service and a funeral service for a traditional burial is what happens to the body afterward—It is cremated instead of being placed in the cemetery. You can still have a beautiful service that honors your loved one’s life regardless of whether they are cremated or buried afterward.

I think understanding that can bring some comfort and confidence to families who really want to choose cremation but who don’t want to lose the opportunity to say goodbye to someone who was such an important part of their lives.

A service may also be held after the cremation.

Sometimes, families do not want a service before the cremation. Family can’t make it in to town right away, or they want to have the service with the ashes instead of the body present, or some other circumstance makes a pre-cremation service just not practical or desirable for them.

Again, I always try to remind the families we serve that this takes nothing away from their ability to remember their loved one. Memorial services happen with traditional burials too. It always comes down to honoring your loved one in the way that is most fitting for your family and your circumstances.

Services following cremation are quite common and can be quite beautiful. These services can take many forms, depending on what works best for your family. For example, some families choose to have the urn with the ashes present and follow the service with burial in a graveyard, or placement in a columbarium.

Others choose to hold a memorial service at a church, private residence, or funeral home without the ashes present. Instead, a memorial table filled with pictures, candles, and mementos of the loved one serves as a way to visually memorialize the deceased. Services can be religious or secular, include candle lightings, music, speeches, sermons, videos, and whatever else you feel will serve as a fitting goodbye to your loved one.

Many families also choose to scatter their loved one’s ashes, and to have a service accompanying that act. In this situation, the family gathers at a special location, which can be anywhere that had meaning for you or your loved one. The service is held there, and followed by scattering the ashes in that special place.

Sometimes, you can have more than one service. For example, you can have a larger service before the cremation, or memorial service after the cremation, and then have a smaller, private service when you scatter your loved one’s ashes. Or, you can choose a private viewing with just immediate family before the cremation and hold a memorial service for all of the loved one’s friends and family after the cremation.

Whatever service option you choose, the important thing is that it act as a fitting goodbye to your loved one. I encourage families to do whatever they need to in order to feel some closure and some peace about bidding their loved one farewell.

Here at Cox Funeral Home, we love the families of Jasonville and the surrounding area, and we want to serve you from our hearts. If you are considering cremation, we would be happy to help you sort through your options and facilitate whatever service needs you have so you can say a meaningful goodbye to your loved one.