Insights From: Ronette Leal McCarthy, Legal Counsel at Elements, The Cremation Company

Customs, traditions and arrangements in the funeral industry seldom go unchanged. Families often follow in the footsteps of the family members who’ve gone before, follow how those around us move through the grieving process, or initiate celebrations or gatherings as they were done in the past. While we find comfort and normalcy in these past traditions and occasions, this past year made families rethink how to mourn the loss of a loved one. It made individuals wrap themselves in new traditions, different comfort or allowed them to explore options they did not know existed before 2020.

Why this change? Well, probably most obvious, the ability to gather with those we love after the death of a loved one was changed for us or, for periods of time, even eliminated. By the wayside went “open door” visitations where anyone, and everyone, who wished to pay their respects to the family was welcome. Gone were church services, mass or memorial gatherings. Eliminated was the comfort found in gathering around a table of Mom’s favorites at her favorite restaurant at a memorial or funeral luncheon. These forced changes made families, and those guiding them, think and move in new directions. It forced the cremation and funeral industry to change in ways it may never had should this past year not occurred.

As gathering limitations were upon families, many looked to their cremation or funeral director to guide them, to provide new ways to connect, to help them grieve as they should by still feeling comfort in stories, words and closeness of loved ones while physical distance may exist. This, in itself, has provided the cremation and funeral industry the ability to lead families in new ways. Creatively sharing memories in ways they are a gift to the family, friends, and all who knew them. All this done without requiring space to grieve, a place to gather, or the familiarity of a spiritual space. It has opened up thinking to incorporate one’s own space, one’s own home, the residence of the loved one or space that may only exist by technology. It has allowed families the ability to create their own story of their one departed, to guide their own grief, to truly explore how to mourn their loved one as they wish without the need to necessarily do what was done before. This time has provided families what they often need most, time to breathe.

With this past year we have also seen an increase in families selecting cremation and selecting cremation from a cremation service provider versus a traditional funeral home. While all cremation and funeral locations employ funeral directors and both can support families when selecting cremation for their loved one, families are found to be highlighting one distinct characteristic between the businesses, cost. These past months have impacted many families in economical ways they did not think possible, thus leading to additional conversations about memorializing their loved ones in a meaningful way, but eliminating an economic burden to the family. All of which is possible. 

Cremation, and funeral services, do not need to be costly to be meaningful. They do not need to impact families in economic ways that are a detriment to them. This past year has highlighted this for loved ones. It has put this conversation at the forefront, when oftentimes in the past the monetary costs may have been thought of as a necessity, or even, an obligation. Creativity, personalization, and customizing services, whether in person, at a respectful distance, or digitally, can fit into any budget. The meaning is in the ability to share in grieving the loved one with those around you, regardless of physical space or distance.  At Elements, the cremation company, we have been helping families in this manner for years. Elements, the cremation company, was formed with one philosophy in mind, “Celebrate the Life, Do Not Mourn the Loss.” Should you have any questions about cremation, or funeral services in general, please reach us at 855.550.5151 or by email at .  We are always happy to answer all of your questions.