Do I Need a Cemetery?

A Look at Unknown Funeral Options

At the death of a loved one, a family naturally goes into crisis mode, and if adequate preparations have not been made, financial disaster is often the result. When added to the emotional trauma of losing a loved one, spending too much on funeral and burial arrangements can be a tragedy from which a family can require decades to recover.

To help prevent this situation in any family, simply planning ahead can be a great benefit. And, since the cost of a cemetery plot and headstone is one of the most expensive parts of anyone’s final expenses, a good question to ask while making preparations for the inevitable in everyone’s life, one of the best questions that a family can as is “do I really need a cemetery.”

As we will see in the remainder of this article, the answer to that question can often be, “no,” and that can result in a savings of thousands of dollars as well as a sense of relief that can prevail in a family for generations.

Benefits of a Cemetery

Preserving a family legacy is an important consideration when making final arrangements.

Before we dive too deeply into the case for when a cemetery is not needed, it is important to address a few important benefits of a cemetery that are likely well worth the money, if your family is so inclined to make them a priority. It is important to address these benefits well before a decision has to be made so that, if your answer to the question, “do I need a cemetery” happens to be, “yes,” you will have ample time to adequately prepare for that necessity and spare your family the stress and turmoil of having to find thousands of extra dollars while in a state of grief at your loss.

Here are some great questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not you need a cemetery:

Is it important to have a permanent place by which family members can return on special days (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc.) to pay their respects and have a sense of “talking” to a deceased?

In some families, that is not important at all. In others, such trips to a grave side have long been a tradition for generations, and giving up that practice just may not be worth the relatively little amount of money that a cemetery plot and headstone might cost – when divided over the course of, say, half a century or so.

Is having a form of permanent historical record of a person’s life an important consideration in your family?

Even if your answer to this question is, “yes,” that may not be a reason to need a cemetery. There are many other ways to leave a permanent historical record of a person’s life. But a headstone placed in a traditional cemetery, where records are kept very securely for the benefit of future generations of historians, is a very safe and secure way of assuring that person’s legacy is recorded properly for posterity. So, if your answer is, “yes,” it is very likely that a cemetery is an important need for your family, and great care should be taken if the decision is made to forgo a cemetery.

And, finally, the importance of a family’s legacy should be considered. Any close-knit, maybe even powerful, group of relatives who share a common, prestigious history will likely find it important to see that that legacy lives on through the ages. And the best way to see to that is through a large scale plot – or group of plots – purchased, and elaborately marked in a cemetery serving the town where the family is well known. Being part of the family traditions that make a family’s legacy so important is a big consideration in many an individual’s own ideas for preserving his or own legacy. So, if preserving a family’s legacy is an important emotional issue, then a cemetery is definitely an important need that should not be sacrificed when it comes time to decide how to dispose of a deceased relatives remains.

When a Cemetery Is Not Needed

Cremation can be a wonderful alternative to traditional burial.

And now, finally, we come to the important discussion of when a family or individual does not need a cemetery. Basically, the answer to that question is this: if any of the questions above are not important to you, then you do not necessarily need a cemetery. If having a special place by which a family can gather to remember and celebrate its members several times a year is not important, then paying for a cemetery plot is probably not a wise decision. Likewise with the consideration of an individual or a family’s legacy. In many cases, a family’s legacy can be carried on in other ways – such as through the dedication of a special building or maybe even through written work. So, even if the idea of carrying out a legacy is important, a cemetery may not always be a necessary ingredient in that.

The fact is many family’s and individuals are turning today to cremation and cremation urns as a means of disposal of a deceased loved one’s remains. While cemeteries do provide burial services for cremation urns (and in fact, it can be economical because urns do not take up the same amount of space as a full body does), not all cremations require a cemetery. Urns can be displayed quite beautifully in just about any family member’s home, and many families have taken well to the tradition of spreading a loved one’s ashes over the a special place or interring the remains (both forms of disposition are usually done with a biodegradable urn for ashes). The ashes can be spread over a body of water or in a piece of family land that is important to a family or maybe a particularly scenic spot that played an important role in a loved one’s life.

Exercising one of these common and popular options for disposal of a loved one’s remains can be an important part of the healing process for anyone grieving over the loss of a loved one. And, maybe even more importantly, the options can help a family avoid the expense of buying a cemetery plot and paying for a grave marker. Many beautifully crafted cremation urns can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of what it might cost to buy a casket, a headstone, and a cemetery plot. So, if such a decision will be of benefit to the emotional needs of a family, it makes perfect sense to take that step and avoid the sticker shock that often comes when working with a cemetery.