What are the options?

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Options available.

As you will see, there is a lot to think about and decide following a death in the family. In this section, we introduce you to some of the major strategic decisions that will have to be made, most of them quite soon after the death - just at the time when we are least likely to be in executive mode. The good news is that there will be plenty of people around to help, most obviously the person who will take the funeral and the undertaker.

You have four broad choices:

a traditional funeral, followed by the interment;

a traditional funeral, followed by a cremation;

a woodland burial;

cremation (with a short service at the Crematorium.)

Within each of these four, there are further choices to be made.

In consultation with the clergy person who will take the funeral, you can choose readings and hymns: and you may be invited to choose someone to speak about the deceased. You may have a choice about where in the cemetery or churchyard you would like the grave to be (local conditions vary a good deal on this) and you will certainly, perhaps later, have a choice about what appears on the headstone. (You will need to clear the text with the local clergy person: there have been a few cases recently where some difficulties have been raised about what have been held to be inappropriate phrases.)

There will be choices about the arrangements at the crematorium ( nos 2 and 4 above). The Undertaker will consult you about these. The most important, which you may wish to discuss with other close relatives, is what to do with the ashes, a small sample of which will be delivered to you a day or two after the ceremony. Scattering the ashes is officially frowned upon but is widely practised, Some churchyards offer dedicated spaces for the burial of the casket containing the ashes, but this is not universal. If a life-partner has been buried in a regular grave, it is usually possible to secure permission for the casket of the just-deceased partner to be buried in the same spot.

There are many choices of detail in a woodland burial. These are discussed in our entry on Woodland Burials on this site. Please refer to that.

A very few people express the wish to be buried at sea. This is illegal; it only happens in the event of shipwreck or loss at sea - that is when the burial at sea is involuntary.