Monday, September 29, 2014

It all began when two people fell in love

This article originally appeared in Catholic Cemetery magazine.

As the fourth generation of a family in funeral service, I started thinking about my final wishes at an earlier age than most people. As my fiancé and I get ready to be married this summer, I especially appreciate the need to make these plans as a couple. When you find that special someone to spend your life with, it is magical. You do everything together, from getting married and buying a house to having children and traveling the world. You experience the important things together and you make the important decisions together.

As cremation trends rise, so do the number of married couples who choose cremation. When they come to you asking questions, do you have the answers? Unless you educate the couples you serve about their memorialization options, many may choose lower-end products that don’t provide lasting value and won’t help their families begin to heal. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding companion cremation memorialization – and strategies for responding.

I want a traditional burial and my wife wants to be cremated. To be together, do we have to choose the same thing?
Many married couples have different desires for their final disposition, but they still want to be interred near their spouse. Most cemeteries can accommodate this request by placing the cremated remains in an urn vault. Be sure to double check with your state laws and acquire the proper documentation to place their cremated remains in a grave with another individual. Educate couples about the options in their cemetery of choice, and make sure to provide urn vault options with dimensions that will fit in the space available. 

Do we have to put our remains in a cemetery?
A memorial marks a place for family and friends to share memories and honor the life of their loved one. Where that memorial is placed is the family’s choice. You can explain to a couple that when you memorialize your loved one in a cemetery, you mark a public place for people to come and visit. It also helps record your loved one’s history for years to come. However, if you’d also like a private place to share memories and keep a portion of the cremated remains, many companies have created cremation alternatives that can be placed in a garden or in a beautifully landscaped yard, including memorial rocks, memorial benches or bird baths.

If we don’t want to be buried, our family needs to take the urn home or scatter our remains, right?
Scattering seems like a simple solution, but what is a beautiful field now could easily become a supermarket or gas station tomorrow. Many couples simply don’t know their options beyond scattering.

Maybe they have never seen a memorial bench or memorial rock. Take them on a tour of their cemetery of choice to see their options in person. It’s one thing to look at a picture of a memorial rock in a booklet, but another thing to touch and feel one nestled under a tree in a beautifully landscaped cemetery.

All of the bronze memorials I have seen are brown and generic. Do you have anything more personal?
As technology has evolved, the options for bronze memorial personalization have skyrocketed. Many companies are still using the traditional bronze casting to create traditional memorials, but there are an increasing number of more detailed options, including direct-to-metal technology. With this technology, memorial craftsmen can create exact replicas of images in solid bronze, capturing every important detail.

And to add another dimension, families can add color to their bronze memorials. Companies are using state-of-the-art color imaging equipment capable of capturing the exact color of their loved one’s hair or their perfect shade of lipstick.

If we both choose to be cremated, will our remains be together or separate?
Do you explain to couples about comingling remains? Some companion memorialization products include separate chambers for each person, while others have a single chamber. This can be an important distinction for a couple.

Much like a book, a memorial can tell a story of someone’s life. When it is shared with someone you love, it makes it even more special. I encourage you to be a resource for families looking into cremation. Educate yourself about the newest companion cremation options. Go to conventions, read industry publications and ask your suppliers for more ideas. And the next time you’re with a couple interested in cremation, be bold enough to tell them what they need to know.

Ethan Darby is the Director of Business Development for Trigard Memorials and is a member of the Darby family’s fourth generation. His family owns Trigard, Trigard Memorials, a memorial park and seven funeral homes across Illinois, Indiana and Arizona.

No comments:

Post a Comment