Top 7 Questions: Preparing the Deceased for Burial or Cremation

To care for a body after death is not an easy task. It can bring up strong emotions especially when a family member is deeply involved in the preparation like washing and dressing the body. Although funeral directors may assist in providing necessary services, it is the responsibility of the family to make sure that the body is well taken care of. There are also decisions that need to be addressed such as the budget and location of the services. You can always determine whether a will or testament was left by the deceased so that you would not have any trouble figuring out what he or she wants. On the other hand, if there were no wills or testaments left behind, we have listed seven questions that you must answer so that you will know what the deceased wants.  

Here are seven questions to guide you in preparing for the deceased:

  • Is there any existing prepaid funeral plans available? – Most people have already availed to prepaid funeral services. Before their death, they have already laid out their plans on how their funerals should go and even paid for it in advance. Ask the spouse or immediate family who might have an idea on any advance funeral plans. This will save you from all the hassle of preparing and planning for the entire funeral service.
  • What are the religious and cultural beliefs to consider? – Religious and cultural beliefs play a significant role in preparing the deceased. It is important to consider this before making the next move in planning for the funeral. For example, embalming is not a practice in Islam. They believed that a person’s dead body should be respected and treated exactly the way when it was still alive because even after death, the person is aware of how his remains are being treated and honored. Christians, in the early centuries, were forbidden to burn a dead body believing that it hinders the person from resurrection. It was even considered a capital crime during those times. Not long after, the ban was lifted and allowed them to cremate dead bodies given that the ashes are buried or kept and not scattered around. Therefore, respect the religious and cultural beliefs of the deceased so they feel honored to even in their final day.
  • What services are available near you? – Once the person is declared dead, the family are left with the decision on what to do with the body. The most popular way of preparing the deceased is either burial or cremation. Burial is the traditional way of laying a corpse on a casket and burying it six feet below the ground. Cremation, on the other hand, involves fire which disposes of the dead body by burning and turning it into ashes. Most of the time, the ashes are scattered on the desired place, while others keep it inside an urn and then brings it home. Try to research first the availability of these services within your locality. Are there nearby funeral homes who offer cremation? Are there enough cemetery or graveyard place where the body will be buried?
  • Which of the services best fits your budget? – Between burial and cremation, the latter is generally more economical. Unlike cremation, in burial, you have to pay for the casket, the transportation from the morgue, the land area where you will be buried, and services like embalming, viewing, and burying. So, look carefully into the desired services and see which one can be afforded by the budget.
  • How will the deceased like to be remembered? – By the time the body is washed and cleaned, the next step is to prepare the body to be dressed. Let the family choose the dress to be worn on the deceased and help them make arrangements with a funeral make-up artist. Remember that death is the culmination of our life. And as we depart from the world of the living, we hope to leave with a beautiful impression.
  • Have you considered the feelings of the family members? – The ones that are left behind are those who will suffer the most for the loss, so we should also consider their opinion regarding this matter. Try asking the family members about their feelings between cremation and burial. Ask them whether they wanted a burial so they can occasionally visit a gravesite and bring funeral flowers from your local florist. This way they can easily keep your memories alive. Or do they prefer cremation because this will help them move on easily?
  • What are the details of the viewing or memorial service? – Once the preparation is finished, and the family wishes to have a funeral service, let the information on the viewing dates be known to relatives and friends. Help the family members make arrangements with a funeral director for the presentation of the deceased, for example, the kind of condolence wreath flowers, prayer services, and transportation of the coffin. This way

To offer guidance and support in preparing the deceased for his/her final resting places is indeed an act of kindness. It is a way of honoring and respecting the person. Surely, you would have wanted that even during your death, your loved ones will take care of you. We understand the difficulties that come with grieving the loss of the loved one. However, life must still go on. Taking care of the deceased is never an easy thing to do but if you look at it on another light, it is also a privilege to be a helping hand at the final resting moments of your loved one.