Trident Society Articles
When you are thinking of honoring your loved one's remains, it's hard to choose between cremation and burial. Here are some subjects you can discuss with your loved one and family members to guide you during your time of mourning.
The Wishes of Your Loved One
When deciding what your final wishes will be, it is important to have a conversation about end of life issues with your loved ones. This is the time to ask about family burial plots, requests regarding a funeral or alternative arrangements, and religious and family traditions. At the end of the conversation, it is a good idea to get your loved one's wishes in writing, with the signature and date. You can even make prearrangements for burial or cremations.
If your loved one has passed and you have not had such a conversation, consult his or her will or any other documents that might demonstrate his or her intent. These include handwritten notes about preferences and printouts of different options with price comparisons. If no such documents exist, it is best to make the decision with other family members. A group meeting may reveal that your loved one did express his or her wishes to one of the people present. Another positive result may be that after the meeting, all or most of the family members may be in agreement about which option is best.
Religious and Family Traditions
Your loved one's religion and family traditions will likely dictate the ultimate decision. First, determine whether your loved one saw religious or family traditions as more important. If these traditions are unclear, do some research. One factor may be the geography of the loved one's birthplace, which will indicate how the majority of people in his or her community were treated. After you have found out more about your loved one, talk about the results with the people who will make the decision.
The views of three major religious traditions, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, and branches of the Eastern Orthodox Church, are discussed briefly here. Here is a broader discussion of the views of religions prevalent in the United States. Jehovah's Witnesses, Buddhists, and Hindus have no prohibitions regarding cremation. Atheists do not have a set view on how to honor human remains. Islam and some fundamentalist Protestant groups do not allow cremation.
For most traditional religious Jews, burial is the only option. Jewish religious law, also known as halacha, forbids cremation. Jewish law mandates that a deceased person not be embalmed and be buried as soon after death as possible. Some Reform rabbis will officiate at a funeral involving cremation.
Many secular and agnostic Jews, as well as Jews who consider themselves nonreligious in other ways, are interested in being cremated rather than buried. Typically, after a loved one has passed, a family member immediately calls a rabbi to assist with honoring human remains.
Roman Catholic Traditions
The Roman Catholic Church now allows cremation, but burial is still the preferred option. This is due partially to the fact that before May 1963, the Church insisted on burial. Today, the bishops of the United States and Holy See authorize the celebration of a Catholic funeral liturgy with the cremated remains. Typically, the body must have been cremated prior to the funeral.
Determine the date of your loved one's birth and look into the history of end of life matters in his or her family. Then examine the level of your loved one's religious devotion.
Eastern Orthodox Traditions
The Eastern Orthodox Church does not allow cremation. There are a few instances where cremation has taken place after the funeral service at which the body of the deceased was present. There must be good cause for the Church to sanction cremation. If you believe there are extreme circumstances in the death of your loved one, speak to a priest before making the decision.
Cremation vs. Burial Cost
Cremation can cost much less than burial. The Trident Society is a good resource for learning more about why cremation is associated with fewer expenses. The two main costs associated with burial and not cremation are embalming and the purchase of a casket. Cremation does not require embalming or a casket to hold the body. In 2014, the median cost of an adult funeral with viewing and cremation was approximately $6,000. The median cost of an adult funeral with viewing and burial was approximately $7,000.
The seemingly high cost of cremation is related to the funeral services that many people wish to have. For example, when the body is viewed, those surviving a loved one typically rent a casket for the ceremony. In addition, even when a person has been cremated, those surviving a loved one may choose to rent a hearse to place the cremated remains in a graveyard. Prices for cremation and burial vary considerably by region and provider, and depending on the services provided.
We hope that clarity and strength guide you through your loss. Feel free to contact the Trident Society to ask questions or seek advice.
How a person wants to be memorialized is a matter of personal taste. If your loved one has pre-planned cremation, then this is something that may have already been decided. However, some people don’t specify many of the important details regarding memorialization after cremation. Some of these details might include how the ashes will be scattered, whether or not the ashes will be placed in a columbarium, or if there will be a traditional memorial service.
While some opt for "normal" ways to memorialize loved ones, others come up with more unique ways. Whichever method you prefer, Trident Society offers some insights to help you decide.
Land scattering involves picking a location that is in compliance with California land scattering laws. You may memorialize your loved one by scattering ashes in a scattering ground next to a chapel, a park, or a land structure that was important to your loved one. However, you may need to secure a permit if the scattering will take place on federal land. There is no need for a written permit, however, if you are memorializing your loved one in your own property.
The scattering of the ashes while on an aircraft is another unique way to memorialize your loved one. Some people choose a location such as a mountain top because it may have held sentimental value to their loved one. California offers beautiful locations for aerial scattering: the San Jacinto Mountain in Palm Springs/Palm Desert and the Castle Rock-Mount Diablo formations in Walnut Creek are a few examples.
Water scattering involves taking your loved one's ashes to a permitted body of water, such as several miles from the shore or close to a memorial reef. Memorial reefs are now becoming more popular due to their symbolic nature and their ecological benefits. A wonderful example of memorial reef options is the Lost City in Key Biscayne (Miami, Florida). We suggest choosing a biodegradable urn when you are doing a water scattering. Alternatively, you may choose to have your loved one’s remains deployed to the reef.
Remember that you can combine a memorial service with the scattering of ashes as you wish. Trident Society helps you decide during this process when you contact one of our locations in California.
A columbarium is a decorative building that houses niches containing urns and memorabilia representing the deceased person's life. California has several, of which the San Francisco Columbarium is the most popular due to its gorgeous architecture and historical value. If you would like a unique way to memorialize your loved one, securing a niche in a columbarium to showcase his/her life passions is an excellent option.
What could be more unique than personalizing a memorial service with items that had special meaning to your loved one? It could be anything from gifts to memorial trees, memorial quilts, even videos or collages that remind you of him/her. If you are the creative type, encourage family members to set up a memorial table with items that pay tribute to your loved one. Some suggestions: scrapbooks, pocket charms, engraved candles, and of course, a uniquely designed urn. You may also hand out memorial seedlings to family and friends as a garden keepsake.
The key to making a memorial celebration that is unique to your loved one is to understand their life's passion. Share your ideas with your Trident Society representative and we will be glad to assist you. Trident Society has served tens of thousands of families in California over the last two decades. Please contact your local Trident Society office for California cremation prices and free information about our California cremation service.
California is rich with natural parks, gardens, beaches, and trails that are ideal locations to scatter the ashes of your loved one. While there is almost no limit to the places you can think of to scatter ashes, we consider the following spots as the most beautiful.
Overview of California Ashes Scattering Laws
In California, certain laws do exist when it comes to scattering ashes. In most national parks, you must secure a permit prior to scattering, and sea scatterings require your vessel to be at least 500 yards from the shore.
It is common to scatter ashes at cemeteries that provide scattering gardens. Generally, if it's a public area or federal land, ashes must be scattered (after written permission is obtained) where they are not distinguishable. More comprehensive information on laws regarding burials and cremation can be found at the Department of Consumer Affairs Cemetery and Funeral Bureau.
The Pacific Coast
Scattering ashes in the water is by far one of the most popular post-cremation ceremonies. And for California residents, there's no better place to do this than going out into the sweeping blue waters of the Pacific. There are many points of departure and services all over California that cater to scattering ashes into the Pacific.
In San Diego, some of the most beautiful places to scatter ashes in the Pacific could be from the Sunset Cliffs, the La Jolla Cove, or if you venture far enough, the Cabrillo State Marine Reserve. Since San Diego is bordered on the west by the Pacific, there are hundreds of departure points for your charter boat/yacht to scatter ashes. If you would like an aerial scattering, the Pacific Coast is truly the perfect spot.
Mt. San Jacinto
The San Jacinto Mountain is a gorgeous place to scatter ashes. There are several ways this could be done: by hiking the trails, riding the tram, or flying a charter plane over the mountaintop. Either manner you choose, you will find a wonderful view of the sunrise in the morning and sunset at dusk. The average temperature is only about 70 degrees. Mt. San Jacinto is located in Palm Springs.
Some of the superb alternatives to Mt. San Jacinto for the scattering of ashes in the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area are the Indian Canyons, Palm Canyon, and Santa Rosa Mountains.
American River Parkway
In Sacramento, cultural and outdoor activities abound, but there is probably nothing more meaningful when it comes to scattering ashes than the American River (which forks to the Sacramento River). The American River is a beautiful place for scattering ashes in Sacramento, as long as it is permitted and in an isolated area with no public traffic. The river is surrounded by natural trails with wildlife such as deer, birds, and fish. For many Sacramento residents, the American River is a jewel of nature that sits unobtrusively within the backdrop of the city.
Municipal Rose Garden
Although many families prefer to keep their loved one's ashes in the sanctuary of their homes, a scattering of the ashes in a garden is not unheard of. The Municipal Rose Garden in San Jose is an exquisite location for those who would like to unite their loved one with nature. The garden is perfectly maintained, clean, and quiet. Built in the 1890s, the rose garden has been a popular place for many types of ceremonies. There are 4,000 varieties of flowers in bloom, green grass, and fountains. The Municipal Rose Garden is a truly relaxing place to say a prayer and calm your spirits in a time of loss.
Other off the beaten path suggestions for a garden scattering in San Jose include the Heritage Rose Garden and the Chateau CharMarron Peony Gardens.
Castle Rock Park
Bordered by a golf course, ranches, scenic hiking trails, and another regional park, Castle Rock Park is a beautiful setting for a scattering ashes in Walnut Creek. It sits along a scenic canyon in Pine Creek, filled with oak woodlands and magnificent sandstone formations for which the park is named. Although there are a variety of activities within the area, park management will assist you as long as you have chosen a location and secured a permit for the scattering.
If you are more open-minded, venture into the Mount Diablo Foothills Regional Park for a more secluded ceremony. Here, you have a view of 1,060 acres of "striking geologic formations, rolling grasslands, and a sweeping panorama of the San Francisco Bay region." A variety of birds, fish, animals and wildflowers also abound.
Trident Society offers cremation services in various locations in California. If you need information on where to scatter ashes in Palm Desert/Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, and Walnut Creek, please contact us today. We can also answer your questions regarding cremation pre-planning, veterans’ cremation and immediate need services. A free Answer Book on Cremation is just a click away.
Pre-planning cremation as a couple has many advantages. If you haven’t experienced the loss of a loved one, you may not understand how overwhelming it can be during the time of need. From securing documents, allocating funds, deciding on whether to have a funeral or memorial service, to spending time with family during the grieving process – all of these can take a toll on you. Thankfully, deciding about your future doesn't have to be made by you or your spouse/partner alone. Trident Society is here to help you understand the benefits of pre-planning cremation as a couple.
1. You are better prepared emotionally and financially for the future by putting funds aside together. Just as you save money together in joint bank accounts, paying car loans and mortgages together and raising children together, things are better done when two people are involved in the decision making. As a couple, you both know how much you are contributing to the equation.
2. You can discuss your needs and do your research together. Cremation is not a complicated process. In fact, with the help of Trident Society, this process is much more simplified. However, there are still items on the list that you need to decide on for you and your family. With a spouse/partner on your side, the burden involved is split in half. Exchanging ideas on subjects such as where and how to scatter the ashes, to have a funeral service or not, to have a burial or not, or even where the ashes should reside is something your loved ones will not have to worry about at the time of need.
3. You can customize the details of your cremation according to how you both want it. With a spouse/partner next to you, along with Trident Society's expert professionals, you will know what to expect when the time of passing comes. If you need information on veteran's cremation, you have an idea of what documents to obtain, how the process works and which government offices to go to. If you both decide to scatter the ashes in a particular place, Trident Society can provide suggestions in beautiful locations such as a memorial reef, a columbarium, or a scattering garden. In the end, it pays to outline your decisions early.
Even if you are not married or do not have a partner involved in the decision making, pre-planning cremation with Trident Society has benefits that are simply hard to ignore. You can give your family members time to grieve, rather than worry about financial matters and difficult decisions. Also, if you pre-plan, you are locking in the prices on cremation services today. If rates increase in the future, your funds will remain intact.
Trident Society is a California-based cremation society, providing dignified and professional cremation services from five California locations, and through partners nationwide. Trident Society has served tens of thousands of families with affordable cremation over the last two decades. Please call your local Trident Society office for California cremation information or visit this page if you would like to request free information and learn more about our California cremation service.
Special thanks to Tamela Mease, Service Manager of Trident Society Rancho Mirage for her support and contributions to this post.
Cremation Costs vs. Burial and Funeral Costs
Discussing whether you want to be cremated or buried will help you plan your final wishes without placing a financial burden on yourself or your loved ones in the future. Unexpected deaths can place a financial burden on families who may need a respectful yet cost effective option for laying their loved one to rest. Considering finances while dealing with the emotional turmoil that death creates can add additional anxiety to an already stressful situation.
Cost for Preparation
While a funeral is an option for both burials and cremations, preparing a body for burial does come with some additional costs:
· The funeral director may need to disinfect, embalm and store the body
· Open caskets require stylists who prep the body for viewing, including specialized techniques and cosmetics
Storing the body, collecting burial certificates, and preparing the deceased for burial costs an average of $1,600. Because cremation does not require embalming the remains, those who choose cremation without a viewing can avoid these costs entirely.
If you would still like to hold some kind of ceremony consider a memorial service with a photo of the deceased, a spray of flowers, and the cremation urn displayed. Cost will depend upon where you choose to hold this service, but you can save money by doing a simple ceremony in your home.
Cost of Caskets and Containers
The cost variation between burial caskets can vary from as little as $500 for a basic wood or metal model to as tens of thousands of dollars depending on materials and construction. Crematories are required to supply some form of cremation container, which will generally be a sturdy cardboard box. Families who want to purchase a different cremation container may do so inexpensively.
Additional Costs Associated With Burial
In addition to preparation, there are many additional costs associated with a burial, including:
· Buying a plot
· Transporting the body to the cemetery
· Having the grave opened
· Having the remains placed inside
· Closing the grave
· Engraving and placing a headstone
· Basic fees and surcharges
· Flowers (optional)
· Memorial cards, fliers or booklets (optional)
Perpetual care is a common practice of maintaining a gravesite that can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on the region and how elaborate the arrangements will be.
The only necessary costs associated with cremation are the cremation itself and whatever fees your funeral home may charge for the service. This is typically called a direct cremation.
You may store or scatter ashes in this container, or you may purchase an urn or container of your choice.
The average cost for a burial and funeral in 2014 was $12,198 while the average cost for a cremation in that same year was $6,355. As costs continue to rise, people are searching for less expensive alternatives. The cremation rate was just 9.7 percent in the 1980s. It’s four times that today. Experts believe cost and mobility are the two most important factors in this increase.
Preplanning your cremation now will give you control over your final wishes and give you the opportunity to compare your options and find the lowest price. To find out more, contact us today. If your need is immediate, please call us at 1-888-987-4336.