There are often many questions and considerations to attend to when you are arranging a funeral. One of which that comes up frequently is whether or not to embalm before cremation.
In this blog, we will discuss four reasons to consider having a cremation without embalming. If you are unfamiliar with embalming, check out our blog here to learn more. Let's dive in.
Keep the integrity of our loved one's remains has been an essential part of many culture's end of life and funeral customs for eons. Despite not specifically need it for the actual funeral today, many still perform this act out of respect and frankly - because they probably are told that it is essential. There is a lot of misinformation around the necessity of traditional embalming and a lack of information around other, more environmentally sound alternatives to embalming.
Today, with advancements in the funeral industry, there are many options for you regarding embalming, effectively cutting the process, and the extra cost, out. One example of this is cremation without embalming. This concept is gaining ground as more people become aware of its benefits. Cremation before funeral services are known as direct cremations, and effectively cut out the need for embalming.
These alternatives to embalming have their advantages and disadvantages, but as always, the choice is up to you and your loved one's final wishes. Read on to learn about your options!
The advantages of cremation without embalming
This is also known as direct cremation. When you cremate without embalming, there are several advantages a traditional funeral with visitation followed by burial or entombment or cremation.
#1: Direct Cremation is environmentally friendlier.
Despite embalming practices, in general, have become safer and more environmentally friendlier over the years, there are still many environmental risks involved.
Embalming requires the use of harmful chemicals to help preserve the body. These include the flammable, corrosive, and highly toxic chemicals: methanol, glutaraldehyde, phenol, paraformaldehyde, and formaldehyde.
Following the interment of a body, these chemicals can seep into the ground and the surrounding area - including nearby waterways and can pose a risk to humans and nature. The substances used in embalming aren't just a danger to the environment once the body is in the ground, but they are also a great danger to the morticians who work with them daily.
An environmentally friendlier option, Direct cremation, does not require the use of any of these harmful chemicals. It is one of the more eco-friendly or "green" choices available.
How does it do this? Since a direct cremation happens almost immediately following a death, preservation methods such as embalming are unnecessary.
Simply put: regardless of how you choose to memorialize your loved one, from scattering, burying, or keeping their ashes at home, there's ultimately no risk from hazardous embalming chemicals.
#2: It's cost-effective.
For many, choosing direct cremation over traditional burial or other funeral options comes down to the simple issue of cost. In both cases, traditional burial and cremation services in Canada tend to include an embalming cost. These funeral packages come with a hefty price tag of nearly $6,000+.
On the other hand, direct cremation services, such as Eirene's all-inclusive package, costs a flat fee of $2,500. There is a price difference because the process of performing a direct cremation is so straightforward and simple when compared with other services.
There are no embalming tools, chemicals or labour needed. You don't need to spend on a costly casket or any of the typical "upgrades" that traditional funeral homes offer. In the case of direct cremations, you just pay for what is necessary for the actual cremation process.
Options such as these provide increased flexibility in cost and how you want to honour and memorialize your loved ones. It also is a safer option during the COVID-19 pandemic.
#3: Cremation without embalming is less invasive.
Generally, embalming is chosen because it appears to keep a loved one's remains intact after death. Following the process of embalming, it helps people imagine that their loved ones have just been peacefully asleep the whole time. It helps with the grieving process and makes enduring a loved one's end of life more manageable.
Content/trigger warning: the next part of this section contains some depictions of gore and details of what happens to the body during the embalming process.
Unbeknownst to many, the actual embalming process can be just as invasive as surgery. During embalming, your bodily fluids are entirely removed, and both the mouth and eyes are artificially shut.
When you choose direct cremation, there is no actual invasive procedure unless the body has any medical devices (pacemakers, etc.) or implants. Even in that case, the process is minimal at best, and there are little to no surgical tools are necessary to prepare the body for direct cremation.
Once all implants, jewelry, and other materials are extracted, the body is placed directly into a cremation container. It will then enter the cremation chamber, go through the cremation process, and be broken down into ash.
Read more in our blog about what happens to your body during the cremation process.
#4: It's a more simple and straightforward option.
Planning and navigating following the loss of a loved one can be challenging. From filling out paperwork, closing accounts, contacting the right people, to arranging a memorialization of your loved one, there is a lot on your to-do list! There is a myriad of things that you must do, prepare and plan for, all while managing your own bereavement experience.
On top of those tasks, you also have to choose where and how to lay your loved one to rest. And this, more often than not (unless you go with a service such as Eirene), includes having to deal with a funeral home. In many cases, funeral homes have been known to take advantage of the confusion and overwhelm people are experiencing following a loss and take it as an opportunity to upsell unnecessary bells and whistles.
During a time when you need to be taken care of, the system tends to work against you, taking advantage of a bad situation and ultimately can cost you more. We all know how tough it is to make big decisions in a highly emotional state - so why not reduce the amount of guesswork you need to do?
On the other hand, choosing a direct cremation can be a more straightforward and more cost-effective option. Easier to understand and navigate, you can count on providers to list their prices upfront, and some even have a simple, one-fee package available. There is no need to read through pages of the fine print or rely on a funeral home to interpret funeral package templates or brace yourself against any sales pitches and upsells.
Direct cremation packages may also come with some extra details beyond the actual arrangement, including urns and how you receive the cremated remains. But generally, the process is simple and includes the basics:
- Transportation of the body
- Preparation for the cremation
- A simple, dignified private cremation
- The return of your loved one's ashes
Arranging a direct cremation without embalming
If you're looking to preplan or arrange your loved one's direct cremation without embalming, Eirene helps make the process easier. To use our service, you don't need to leave the comfort of your home - simply visit our site to start the process.
It takes less than 15 minutes, and we have a dedicated team of licensed Funeral directors ready to help walk you through the process.
Eirene is here to help you manage this difficult time and ease the burden of funeral planning - without any upsells. Preplan your funeral arrangement with us today.