In a recent post, we noted that times are a changing in the funeral industry. At Martin Oaks Cemetery and Crematory in Lewisville, Texas, just down the road from Richardson, Texas, we are really at ground zero in one of the most sweeping movements to ever come to final disposition — the prodigious growth and acceptance of cremation.
There can be no denying that cremation has grown beyond some of the most far reaching projections, to the point where today it has become the preferred option in many places in the United States. We see this change play out on a daily basis.
Whatever the reasons:
- Personal choice based on individual differences
We have catalogued this list many times — cremation has become ascendant.
We see these kinds of sea changes in many aspects of our society. Years ago, we covered professional baseball: have you seen a game lately? The basics remain the same, but the philosophy of how pitchers approach hitters, how hitters no longer fear strikeouts, the use of the bullpen — many respected principles of the past are long gone. It’s the same game, but a far different game. That doesn’t mean it is inferior to the game Mickey Mantle or Sandy Koufax played, it simply mirrors changing belief systems.
So, reject these changes or passively (perhaps with something less than a smile) accept them: they are, nonetheless, here to stay.
What other transformations are we at Martin Oaks are we observing besides the increase in the number of cremations?
The general emphasis on convenience and a firm directness in approach have permeated the way many see the disposition process. Cost matters are frankly discussed; it has become accepted that affordable options are many times more important, from a practical standpoint, than more elaborate final goodbyes. Most frequently, the wishes of the lost loved one are in evidence — the decision to have a direct cremation with little ceremony is more and more what we hear the loved one favored.
Other Customs Are Also Changing
The entire concept of memorial services are in the midst of revision. For example, the need to have a service in close proximity to the passing is definitely being re-thought. Such services now are being scheduled months later, when a family get together is more feasible. These days, considering the societal and financial pressures, it sometimes makes the most sense to gather when everyone can expeditiously do so.
Likewise, the location of a memorial service is also in the process of modification. No longer are these assemblies being held in formal settings – often times, they are conducted in a favorite geographical or non-traditional spot that the loved one held dear. Mountain tops, woods, sea shores, no end to the options here.
The Same Is True With The Choice Of Attire
Our reliance on black, which reportedly goes back to roman times when dark togas were worn, is not de rigueur. Relaxed open collars, informal slacks, colors of various hues are all much more common than previously. Recently we know of a family who held the service in a cowboy restaurant with the participants in jeans and boots.
Music Has Also Stepped Into The New Century
We remember the opening of the movie “The Big Chill” — the cast gathered at a church for a funeral, the organist settled in for what was expected to be a traditional hymn, and instead, played a solemn version of the Rolling Stones song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Humorous in its day, prophetic in its content.
Homilies and eulogies are still, of course, quite respectfully — but perhaps not as staid as previously. None of the funerals of my childhood featured anything close to the humor that is employed today.
Our point here is that with the coming of more cremations, funerals are embracing sometimes subtle and other times, not so subtle, changes that are manifesting themselves throughout our culture.