For something that is steadily growing in acceptance and popularity, what do we really know about cremation? Sure, the basic mechanics are understood: the body of the deceased is placed into a cremation chamber, (or retort), where it is subjected to extremely high heat, reducing the human form down to its basic chemical compounds of gas and mineral. But there is an entire process that someone considering cremation should likely consider first.
Let’s begin by talking about the regional acceptance of cremation. Due to the sheer size of its population, China is the nation with the most annual cremations. Estimated at 4.5M cremations a year, that figure actually only represents a cremation rate of just south of 50 percent. Japan, on the other hand, is the global leader for cremation with a full 99.85 percent of their population electing for the process.
Cremation in the United States, like many other English speaking nations the world over, has seen a slow and steady increase in the embrace of cremation for one’s end-of-life plan. Estimates show that the US should top the 50 percent mark in the coming decade. Citizens in some states, however, have clearly expressed their favor for cremation, with Nevada, Washington, Hawaii, and Oregon each exceeding the 65 percent mark when it comes to choosing cremation over traditional burial.
Cremation does not have to occur before a funeral or memorial service, but many do opt to have their body cremated first. Your friends and family will be able to commemorate your life regardless of whether or not you select an open casket service or choose to have your cremated remains on display in a decorative urn. A trusted cremation provider will be able to walk you through the many options that cremation offers.
Cremation, like so many other aspects of our lives, is not immune to the persistent march of technology. One such advancement, alkaline hydrolysis, is redefining what cremation is while also making it even more ecologically responsible than it already was. Alkaline hydrolysis, sometimes referred to as aquamation, uses a high temperature, high pressure water-based liquid solution that gently dissolves the human body to its base form. The remaining liquid contains a combination of amino acids, peptides, salts, and sugars and can be safely disposed of in one’s own garden or greenspace. The remaining bone, softened by the process is able to be easily pulverized into the same cremated remains as is resultant from traditional cremation.
Once your body has been returned to its most natural state, your loved ones will be able to select from any number of final disposition options. Of course if you preplan your cremation service, you will have already selected the final disposition that most suits your needs, budget, and personality. Some choose a tastefully decorated urn.
Others, taking advantage of yet another technological advance, have a custom urn created for them thanks to the 3-D printing phenomenon. There are scattering services, too. From the reserved to the celestial, with scattering services, not even the sky is the limit. If you’ve always enjoyed being the flashy center of attention, perhaps having your cremated remains incorporated into an awe-inspiring fireworks display is more your style. For a nominal fee, there are outfits who will strap your remains inside a rocket that slips the surly bonds of Earth and delivers you to the moon, or beyond.
Understanding the freedom provided by a cremation is quite likely the key to its ever-growing popularity. Regardless of where you find yourself on the issue of cremation, one simply cannot deny that the sheer number of options available to those who select cremation far exceeds what a traditional burial can provide.