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direct cremation blees or not

Direct Cremation: a blessing or a curse for the funeral industry?

Direct Cremation… most people thought

It…

  • is the latest craze
  • will disappear when Covid ends
  • is effectively a ‘pauper’s funeral’ and only the poor will want it
  • It will destroy the funeral industry

The thing is I’m not sure that any of these statements bandied in the press are true.

It turns out that cost isn’t the sole factor for choosing direct cremation. Here are some of the reasons customers tell us are influencing their decisions:

  • it’s easier, quicker and there’s no fuss
  • the 40 minute service at the crematorium is pointless
  • they don’t feel the need for a ‘traditional’ funeral
  • want to move the emphasis of the memorial to the ashes ceremony
  • more venues offering better memorial packages for the gatherings

The term Direct Cremation is slightly different depending on who you speak to. It can be simply the ‘Hospital Morgue-Crematorium-Ashes back to family’ interpretation. However, people interrupt it differently  either: having a handful of attendees; a viewing then an unattended cremation; or, a committal at an alternative location. Basically customers want more choice.

It does not mean the death knoll of the traditional funeral. There is so much space for all types of service from horse drawn carriages to the private ambulance and no family contact. People don’t want to be shoehorned into a ‘one-size fits all’ option, those attempting that will start to see there business whither.

The bigger problem for me is the lack of communication within families about what is the best way to go. Often the parents want to save on funeral costs so that more money goes to the kids and the grandchildren. Those left behind want to honour and respect the dead in a way that feels meaningful and memorable. And they’re still not talking about it or making provision for it in their wills.

Like most genies, direct cremation isn’t going back into it’s bottle. The funeral will need to adapt to this and those that do will survive and flourish, those that don’t may not be around forever as my mum always says: it is an ill wind that blows nobody any good. And whist it took me years to understand what it meant now I do it seems very apt here…

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