Times have changed, and
Today's families are developing new rituals and traditions more in keeping with their beliefs, relationships and busy lifestyles than the Victorian-inspired formula offered by most of the professionals.
The funeral industry and bereavement experts would agree that a healthy grieving process should include time to reflect on your loss and an opportunity to gather with others to share memories, there is also enormous power and comfort in personal remembrance rituals such as memorial visits to a final resting place.
Catherine Powell, Director of Pure Cremation, argues that "Done well, and with the right support for the bereaved, direct cremation can offer a better, more personal outcome, and at a lower cost."
Traditional undertakers will try to tell you this option short-changes the deceased and the people they leave behind; that their tried and tested formula is the only way to achieve a satisfying goodbye. We live in an age where less than 25% of the population
The greatest innovations in the funeral industry in the last century have been the introduction of the motor hearse and the growing use of civil celebrants rather than clergy – and all this time the funeral sector has enjoyed a rare luxury: uninformed consumers who don't shop around and beg to be told what to do.
That's why almost all creative change has come from the consumer…
It's time to look again at how to deliver the essential elements of a satisfying
A funeral is made up of two parts – the respectful disposal of the body and a gathering to say goodbye. Historically this meant a full church service followed by burial in the churchyard. Then came the industrial revolution and a lack of urban cemetery space forced the separation of the funeral service from the physical committal, reaching its zenith in the Victorian era with a dedicated train service taking coffins out of London to Brookwood cemetery.
The introduction of cremation merely offered an alternative disposal mechanism, in the warm and dry. Bryan Powell, Managing Director of Pure Cremation, recalls his early days where "Committals at the
Funeral Directors' lives quickly became much simpler, because unless you have a strong connection with a particular church it makes sense, logistically and economically, to hold the entire service at the committal venue. The faster turnaround also helps them carry out more funerals in each working day.
So what does the typical funeral look like these days? More than 75% of families now choose cremation, and, on average, pay £675 for just 30 minutes of ceremony time, between
Does this formula really do a unique life justice? And where is the spiritual support that opponents of direct cremation claim
We all know that the best bit is the wake. A chance to share stories in a comfortable setting, over a cup of
That's just one of the benefits offered by direct cremation.
Direct cremation separates the physical disposal from the ceremonial and liberates families, allowing them to gather together where and when they want, just without the coffin.
The bereaved can take all the time they need to plan a truly personal farewell with everyone present and choose how long they want the event to last, freed from the busy crematorium production line.
With dedicated professionals like Pure Cremation taking care of the practical aspect, at a sensible price, families also have a new power – the ability to decide exactly how they spend their money.
More and more are choosing to hold an uplifting celebration of life in a venue that has personal significance or happy family associations, a place that can be revisited time and time again. It's much more family-friendly, and the kind of event that the grandchildren could share too.
All of this is positive news for the bereaved, but for those professionals who've taken them for granted….it's a nightmare.
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