Category Archives: Cremation

cremation services offered in Washington Township, MI

The Cremation Process

Cremations are one of the cremation services offered in Washington Township, MI. While cremation is a very popular funeral option, many people don’t really know what happens during the cremation process.

Here is a brief overview of what steps take place during the cremation process.

With cremations becoming a very popular choice among Americans as a final disposition instead of the traditional underground burial, it’s important first to understand why. There are a few reasons.

Many funeral directors have noted a rise in the number of cremations since the Great Recession of 2008, while they have seen the number of underground burials go down, so there is likely an economic component to why cremations are more popular than ever.

In addition, cremations are considered to be more environmentally friendly than underground burials, so many people are choosing cremation as a way to help protect the environment. A third reason is that there are a myriad of things that families can do with their loved one’s cremated remains, and people like the increased flexibility cremation offers.

The practice of cremation has a history almost as long as that of humans themselves. In the ancient Greek and Roman cultures, cremations were grand celebratory fetes that honored brave, famous, or heroic people.

Additionally, militaries that were fighting in far away from home cremated their dead, and then took the cremation remains back home to be buried in elaborate ceremonies.

The majority of people who died were cremated, until Constantine adopted Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine felt strongly that he needed to draw clear distinctions between Christianity and pagan religions.

Because many pagan religions incorporated burning people alive as part of their worship to their gods, Constantine essentially banned cremations and replaced them with underground burials.

Underground burials remained as the traditional final disposition method in the Western world until religions began removing their prohibitions of cremations, enabling Christians to make their own choice as to whether they wanted to be cremated or buried.

There are some interesting things about cremations that you may not be aware of.

Cremation containers don’t contain ashes. The remains of cremations – what is left after the cremation process – are bones. The bones are pulverized to the consistency of sand, giving them the appearance of being ashes, and they are returned to the deceased’s family.

Bodies are cremated one by one. Cremation units, which perform the cremation process, can hold just one casket or cremation container at a time.

Crematories have the responsibility to make sure the family gets the correct cremation remains. All crematories follow the same procedure to ensure that this happens.

Each body to be cremated is tagged with a flame-retardant tag as soon as it arrives at the crematory. The family identifies the body either with a current photo or in person. The tag remains with the body throughout the cremation process and is attached to the container with the cremation remains that is given to the family.

cremation services offered in Washington Township, MICremations generally take between two and three hours because of the intense heat sources applied that allows a body to burn that quickly.

You can have funeral services for someone who is being cremated. Funeral homes routinely arrange funeral services for people who are being cremated. The funeral service can be held with or without the body of the deceased present.

Cremation remains can be buried in cemeteries. Approximately 10% of cremation remains are buried underground in cemeteries. Many cemeteries are now created landscaped urn gardens for the burial of cremation remains.

For more information about cremation services in Washington Township, MI, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral is here to assist you.

cremation services in Shelby Charter Township, MI

Frequently Asked Questions About Cremations

You have made the decision that you want cremation services in Shelby Charter Township, MI as part of your funeral preplanning (good for you!). But you may not really know a lot about what is involved in cremation or what happens during the cremation process.

You are not alone. There are some questions that almost every person who choses cremation as their final disposition, or as the final disposition of their loved one, has when they are educating themselves about cremations.

One of the most frequently asked questions about cremations is whether the deceased is dressed or not when they are cremated. The answer is yes.

Just as the funeral home works diligently to show honor to and preserve the dignity of every loved one their family has entrusted to them, the deceased person is fully clothed (just as they are in a casket and burial funeral) when they are cremated.

The only restriction on the clothing the deceased will be cremated in is that it contains no metal because metal can cause significant damage to the crematorium. So, don’t include jeans, for example, with metal buttons or belts when you are providing clothing for someone who is being cremated.

Another frequently ask question about cremations is about how the funeral home and crematory keep track of the deceased during the cremation process so that the right cremation remains are returned to the deceased’s family.

A couple of procedures are in place to correctly identify the body before cremation and after cremation. One of these is that the family must verify the identity of the deceased either visually or with a photo prior to cremation.

A second procedure is that the crematory places a non-combustible tag on the deceased before they are placed in the crematorium. That tag stays with the deceased all the way through the cremation process, ensuring that the right cremation remains are returned to their family.

People often wonder how much time it takes to do a cremation. Cremation is a fairly quick process that usually takes two to three hours. However, by law, cremation cannot be done until at least 24-48 hours after death. This gives the funeral home time to get all cremation paperwork (permits, etc.) in order before the cremation.

Another frequently asked question about cremations is whether a casket is required. The answer is no. If you don’t want a casket, the deceased will placed in a very sturdy fully-combustible container (usually made out of cardboard) prior to cremation.

Some people want to bury the cremation remains of their loved one and wonder if this is an option. It is. When you meet with the funeral director to make funeral arrangements, you will need to let them know that you want the cremation remains to be buried (let them know which cemetery so they can make arrangements with the cemetery for burial).

The funeral home has urns that are specifically designed for burial, and they have a wide selection to choose from. Almost all cemeteries require vaults for burials, whether the burial is in a casket or an urn, so you will also need to purchase an urn vault.

Another frequently asked question about cremations is whether a funeral service can be held instead of a memorial service. Many people like the traditional format of funeral services and its familiarity can give great solace and comfort to a grieving family.

cremation services in Shelby Charter Township, MI

You can hold a traditional funeral service for someone who is being cremated. It can be held before the cremation or after the cremation.

For more information about cremation services in Shelby Charter Township, MI, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral is here to assist you.

cremation services offered in Chesterfield Township, MI

Working Nights Linked to Early Deaths

Cremations are one of the cremation services offered in Chesterfield Township, MI after someone dies, but some people have lifestyle factors that put them at a greater risk of dying at a younger age than their peers. One of those lifestyle factors is having a career that requires you to work at night instead of during the day.

Are you aware that people aren’t biologically designed to work at night? The body has its own timeclock. Each of us operates on a similar timeclock, which is known as our circadian rhythm. Our natural circadian rhythm corresponds to light and hormones.

At about the same time that the sun rises in the lower 48 states of America, our bodies produce a hormone that wakes us up and makes us alert. Similarly, about the time the sun begins to set in the lower 48 states, our bodies produce a hormone that starts winding us down and making a sleepy by the time it is fully dark outside.

Before the Industrial Revolution, which began in the late 19th century, just about everybody worked in conjunction with the natural circadian rhythm. In a society that was centered around agriculture, people got up when the sun came out and they went to bed when the moon came out.

With the Industrial Revolution, American society move away from agriculture and toward manufacturing. Large companies replaced home-centered farms and cottage industries, and with large investments funding manufacturing operations, American business became focused on profits.

With the development of incandescent lighting, the titans of the Industrial Revolution realized that they were not limited to just working during daylight hours. This meant that companies their profits because their employees could work 24 hours a day.

It was at this point that the idea of a first, second, and third shift was developed. The first and second shifts, which were eight-hour shifts, fell within the body’s natural circadian rhythms (although, after 9 pm, an increase in accidents was more evident).

However, the third shift, also known as the graveyard shift, fell outside of the body’s normal wake/sleep pattern. Therefore, workers on this shift consistently had more accidents on the job, more serious and fatal accidents at work, and more serious and fatal accidents on their way home after their shift.

Today, more professionals, such as medical personnel and information technology specialists, also find themselves working a night shift (usually 12 hours instead of eight hours), and, like their manufacturing counterparts, are having a higher rate of accidents, serious injuries, and fatalities both on the job and in traveling home from the job.

The higher rate of accidents is directly attributable to sleep. People who work the night shift have to try to sleep during the day when the body naturally wants to be awake. Likewise, they have to stay awake at night, when the body naturally wants to go to sleep. Sleep deprivation is common, and it not only causes accidents, but it can also be damaging to health.

A recent 22-year study of almost 75,000 nurses showed dramatic health effects for nurses who worked rotating shifts (the worst kind of work schedule for the body) for long periods of time.

Nurses who worked on rotating shifts for more than five years, for example, had an 11% higher early death rate than nurses who had never worked on the shifts. Nurses with more than 15 years on rotating shifts or 38% more likely to die from heart disease than nurses who worked day only shifts.

cremation services offered in Chesterfield Township, MI

For information about cremation services in Chesterfield Township, MI, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral is here to assist you.

cremation services offered in Clinton Township, MI

Do I Need Grief Support?

Access to grief resources is among the cremation services offered in Clinton Township, MI.

However, some grieving family members may need more grief support so that they are able to process their grief and achieve a state where all-encompassing grief doesn’t overshadow everything else in their lives.

While all of us have the knowledge that, at some point in our lives, we will experience the loss of someone we love, what we can’t know is how the grief of that loss will affect us. Even if we already lost loved ones before, we will never be able to predict how we will respond to subsequent losses of loved ones.

The circumstances of death can make grief more challenging to deal with. Those circumstances can include the loss of a parent, the loss of a spouse, or the loss of a child. The death of our loved one may be sudden or violent, or it could be the result of a long illness.

On top of this, there may be other personal factors that shape and define the kind of grief we experience. These factors can include our religious beliefs, our cultures, our temperaments, our ages, and our lives’ experiences.

Because of this, it’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to grieve, and that the intensity and length of acute grief differs from person to person.

However, no matter how differently each of us processes grief, our grief shares some similarities.

After the initial shock and the acute, intense emotional pain that comes when a loved one dies, at some point (from a few weeks to a few years) the grief, though still always present, will eventually become more manageable.

And even though we will never not miss our loved one, we find a way to accept that this loss has happened. At that point, we can start to move forward with a much greater appreciation of the time and experiences we had with our loved one.

Getting through the grieving process is often a product of the support we receive along the way. This support can come from the grief resources provided by the funeral home, or our families, or our social network. And with these sources of support, many of us discover that, in time, we can process our loss and get through the roughest patches in the grieving process.

However, for some people, these sources of grief support may not be enough. For these people, grief is consuming and overwhelming to the point that they are debilitated by it and can barely function, much less see any kind of path forward in life.

Psychologists call this type of grief “complicated grief.” Complicated grief is an extremely protracted and all-consuming type of grief that literally stops our life in its tracks. If you believe that you are experiencing complicated grief, you should seek additional support from a professional therapist who is qualified to help you move past this intractable kind of grief.

funeral service

Some of the signs of complicated grief include relentless sadness, profound and unshakeable depression, feelings of hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts. Other signs of complicated grief are withdrawal from social activities, difficulty sleeping, difficulty eating, and obsessive thinking about your loved one who has died.

When you’re experiencing such deep emotional and mental pain, you may believe that it is impossible to relief. However, by seeking professional grief support, you have access to a lifeline that can help you resolve the pain and move forward with your life.

For more information about grief support and other cremation services in Clinton Township, MI, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral is here to assist you.

cremation services offered in Macomb, MI

Guidelines for a Memorial Service

Help with planning a memorial service is one of the cremation services offered in Macomb, MI.

Just as your relationship with your deceased loved one is unique and special, your memorial service for them can be unique and special as well. But even though the memorial service will be a deeply personal tribute to your loved one, you will also want to make sure that the memorial service is an event that can be fully shared by everyone who is there.

These are the main things about a memorial service that you will decide.

First, identify all family members and friends who will be actively helping you plan the memorial service. It’s important to remember, however, that this list of people may change or grow as you get into the details of planning the memorial service. You may also find that some family members and friends might want to be involved later, while some who are already involved may decide that the process is too stressful or that their grief makes it difficult for them to be involved.

If you start and continue the memorial service planning process with clear and open communication, it will take shape more smoothly and will result in a beautiful service that honors the memory of your loved one.

Be patient with yourself and with the people helping you plan the memorial service. The shock and grief of losing a loved one is difficult emotionally, and that may make you and everyone else more sensitive and reactive when things go awry (and they will, but they can be righted easily and quickly).

So, from the beginning of the memorial service planning process, commit to keeping everyone who is helping you in the loop so that you all are working with the same current information. This will keep a lot of frustration and confusion from bogging down the process.

The easiest way to communicate with everyone involved in planning a memorial service is to make a to-do list of what needs to be done. This list will include items like:

  • Selecting a date and location for the memorial service
  • Deciding on a format for the memorial service
  • Writing the obituary
  • Creating a memorial service program or memorial cards
  • Collecting memorabilia to display at the memorial service
  • identifying readings for the memorial service
  • Selecting music for the memorial service
  • Hosting a reception after the memorial service

Once you’ve identified the to-do items for the memorial service for your loved one, then you and those who are helping you plan the service can divide the tasks so that everyone is involved and everyone is able to contribute with their own unique gifts and abilities as a tribute to your loved one.

Don’t be afraid to delegate. You have people around you who want to help you make the memorial for your loved one special. Let them carry some of the weight, so that you’re not overwhelmed with both grief and all the details of planning the memorial service.grief support

The funeral home director will be an invaluable resource as you plan the memorial service for your loved one. They will be able to help you with what options are available, and most importantly, they can facilitate and organize any vendors, location, flowers, music, and catering that you may want to have.

If you have special requests for things like military honors (for military veterans), the funeral home director will make all the arrangements for this to be a part of the memorial service for your loved one.

For more information about cremation services in Macomb, MI, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral is here to assist you.

cremation services in Sterling Heights, MI

What Does Mourning Accomplish?

Before cremations as part of the cremation services offered in Sterling Heights, MI, the mourning process for someone who has died begins. Mourning the loss of a loved one serves a purpose for the living, and the process should eventually accomplish four very important tasks.

Mourning does not have a finite time limit. Everyone mourns for whatever time it takes them to complete the process. There is no right or wrong way to mourn. Just because your mourning doesn’t look like someone else’s mourning (or theirs doesn’t look like yours) doesn’t mean either of you are doing something wrong.

The five stages of grief made famous by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross don’t always happen in a specific order and they don’t always happen the same way to each person.

Mourning is a unique process for each individual, but the tasks that need to be accomplished by mourning the death of a loved one are the same.

The first task of mourning is the acceptance of the reality of the loss when a loved one has died. This acceptance doesn’t mean that all the realities that accompany death are understood or accepted, but it does mean that those who are mourning have recognized that they’ve experienced a permanent loss in this life.

The next task of mourning is to work through the pain of grief. How people do accomplish this task and how long it takes them to accomplish it is different from person to person.

No one enjoys having to deal with emotional pain, but for some people it is so difficult that they either ignore the pain, they suppress the pain, or they numb the pain. None of these approaches to emotional pain is healthy.

Ignoring emotional pain doesn’t make it go away. Suppressing emotional pain doesn’t lessen its effect. And numbing emotional pain is not only emotionally unhealthy, but can also be physically unhealthy as well.

Eventually, the pain of grief surfaces and it has to be addressed and dealt with, because it can’t be ignored, suppressed, or numbed forever.

It’s important to recognize that working through the pain of grief takes some people much longer than it does others. So just because somebody else is working through the pain of grief more slowly than others doesn’t mean they are not working through it. Be careful not to tell somebody that they need to move on and get over it, because you really don’t know how they’re working through this task.

The third task of mourning is adapted to a new environment where a loved one is absent. This can be extremely difficult, especially for spouses of and for children who were primary caregivers for the deceased loved one.

This new environment includes a permanent void that no one and nothing can fill. It’s an environment that also has practical barriers that may include finances, property, and companionship, among other things.

cremation services

Most grief experts strongly recommend that any big decisions (especially regarding finances and property), be put on hold for at least a year after a loved one has died. This isn’t a promise that everything will be fine in a year, but there will be more objective clarity in decision-making.

The last task of mourning is to find an enduring connection with the deceased loved one while beginning a new life without them. This connection may include adding rituals that honor their loved one, such as laying flowers at their grave each year on their birthday and being comfortable regularly thinking about and sharing memories of them.

For information about cremation services in Sterling Heights, MI, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home is here to assist you.

cremation services offered in Clinton Township, MI

Letting Go or Holding On with Terminal Illnesses

Before cremations as part of the cremation services offered in Clinton Township, MI, advanced age or terminal illnesses are often what ends up causing a loved one to die. Our society puts a premium value on living and it suggests that we do everything in our power to avoid and delay – even though it eventually comes – death.

Dylan Thomas’ famous poem, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, is a good example of this mindset. In the poem, the narrator urges his aging father to “rage against the dying of the light.” However, this mindset can ultimately end in a life that may have quantity, but that has little or no quality. It can also lead to unnecessary pain and suffering for the person who is dying.

We seem to have an instinctive desire to continue to live. We experience this desire as wanting to eat, to do things, to learn, to grow, and to look forward to the future. We have very strong emotional attachments to other living things, including our families, friends, and pets, and we don’t want to leave them. While we aren’t able to decide to continue to live, our actions can make living automatic.

When age and terminal illnesses reach an advanced stage, our thoughts are not of ourselves, but of others. We want to be with our loved ones and we may even feel a responsibility to not fail them or cause them pain and grief by dying and leaving them.

We may have unfinished business in the form of making amends or reconciling relationships. We may fear losing control of our lives, being dependent on others, what will happen as we die, and what will happen after we die.

All of these things may bother us so much that we find them difficult to think about. It is not uncommon for feelings or resentment, guilt, sadness, and anger, when the time comes that we have to face them, to arise with both the person who is terminally ill and their caregiver(s) because nobody wants to end up this way or see anybody else end up this way.

Even as death approaches, however, usually a sense of hope remains. But what that hope looks like changes as death nears. While it once may have been hope for the illness to be cured or for a little more time, hope is now transformed into present and immediate terms: a good night, one more visit with friends or loved ones, or, perhaps, an easy death.

Eventually, in the days and weeks before death, many people don’t have a desire to live anymore. They are not suicidal nor are they depressed. Instead, they have an innate sense that it’s time to let go.

This may manifest itself as a profound tiredness that doesn’t go away with rest. Often people reach a point where they’ve hit the limit of how much effort they can put into prolonging life. While refusing to let go may prolong life a little, death is still inevitable. Prolonging death may translate into a time when more suffering than living actually happens.

cremation service

Some family members and friends also reach a point where they understand that letting go is best for them and their loved one. They’ve seen their loved one fight, struggle, and suffer, and they don’t want them to experience any more of that. Other family members and friends, however, may not be able to accept that dying is the next best step for their loved one and they may refuse to believe that is what’s happening.

Letting go does not mean our loved one wants to die. Instead, it is an expression of their acceptance that death is the next step in their journey.

For information about cremation services in Clinton Township, MI, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home is here to assist you.

cremation services offered in Macomb, MI

Death Anniversaries

Grief resources are among the cremation services offered in Macomb, MI. After a loved one dies, you and other family members will start process of grieving and healing as you adapt to the a new normal – and a different life – without your loved one.

While you and your family will make great strides toward adjusting, adapting, and moving forward after your loved one’s death, death anniversaries will, especially in the early years, be very hard to face and deal with.

You may be surprised at how strongly all the feelings and emotions that you experienced when your loved one died may reemerge when your loved one’s death anniversary comes around. These may be an unexpected onslaught that you and your family don’t know how to handle.

It’s important, however, to understand that this is normal. Your loved one’s death was a traumatic event and a devastating loss. Their absence created a void in your lives that can’t be replaced or filled, even though time will soften its blow.

But you and your family may find that there are some constructive ways to channel those overwhelming emotions and feelings that can also bring you peace and comfort.

One thing you can do is to compose a letter to your deceased loved one. This can be very comforting, because you can pour out your heart about how you feel.

Remind your loved one how much you miss them. Tell your loved one all the things that you miss about them. Remind your loved one of all the special memories you shared together. Share with your loved one the funny stories that you laughed at over and over during your relationship.

Tell your loved one how much you love them. Detail all the things about your loved one that made you love them so much.

Let your loved one know how different things are without them. Bring your loved one up to date on all the things they’ve missed since they’ve been gone. Update them on your life and your family’s lives.

Let your loved one know about the challenges and struggles you all have had and tell them about the successes and failures that have happened since they’ve been gone. You may be surprised at how therapeutic this letter-writing is and you may decide to start a daily journal that you write to your loved one.

Another constructive way to handle death anniversaries is to do something to honor your loved one. Do something that supports something your loved one was passionate about. That may be volunteering for a non-profit organization, planting a flower or vegetable garden, joining a book club, or attending the games of a local sports team.

Another constructive way to cope with death anniversaries is to host a potluck dinner of immediate family and a few close friends. Have everyone bring a food and drinks and, as you eat, share stories and memories of your loved one.

It’s important for you and your family to be kind and gentle with yourselves on the death anniversaries of your loved one. It’s likely everyone will experience these anniversaries in different ways, and it’s important to recognize that and give everyone latitude and space for their own way.

death of a loved one

Remember, as well, to look at all that you and your family have weathered, have overcome, and have accomplished since the death of your loved one. They would have wanted that, and they would be proud of you.

For more information about grief resources and other cremation services in Macomb, MI, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home is here to assist you.

cremation services in Sterling Heights, MI

When Discomfort is Grief

Cremations are among the cremation services offered in Sterling Heights, MI. We have been and are surrounded by the specter of pain, death, and suffering 24 hours a day as this novel coronavirus pandemic rages on throughout the world. We heard the number of new cases, the number of total cases, the number of new deaths, and the number of total deaths.

We are besieged from all sides with disparate numbers about the total projected death toll, not only around the world, but in our own country. We are dealing with death up close and personal every day. Because so little is known about COVID-19, everything we hear is just a stab in the dark, without real science and time behind it to know whether it will play out the way our experts think it might.

Everything is unknown except people are getting sick and are dying. We may get sick and die. We may have already been infected and don’t even know it. If we go out, we have to wear face masks. If we go to pick up essentials at the grocery store or the pharmacy, we have to follow a pattern through the store, stand on marked lines at checkout, and talk to the cashier through a piece of protective plexiglass.

We don’t know if we’re next. We don’t know if a family member is next. We watch families grieving over their loved ones and we share their pain and suffering. We grieve with them.

But there are other sources of discomfort besides the pain and suffering we can’t get away from, the medical unknowns, and the worries for our own health and the health of our families.

Discomfort comes from social distancing from our loved ones. We may have parents who are older and more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 because of underlying health issues. We can’t visit in person with them, or hug them, or hold them.

We may have parents or other family members who are in assisted living facilities or nursing facilities that have been locked down to outside visitors. Maybe we can get lucky enough to see them through a window, but, then again, we may not.

We may have family members who have contracted COVID-19 and they are critically ill. We aren’t allowed to be with them in the hospital and, if they succumb to the virus, we will not be able to be with them when they die.

As if all of this is not discomfort enough, we have other things that are causing discomfort. Our work routines have been disrupted. If we’re among the fortunate, we may be working from home for the first time in our careers, which is a major adjustment, especially in companies where team environments are valued and utilized.

However, like many other Americans, though, we may have been furloughed (even in the healthcare industry) or laid off. If we worked in the hospitality or airline industries, we don’t know whether those jobs will ever come back, and we don’t know what we’ll do to survive and take care of our families.

Even in industries where jobs will exist in the future, there may not be as many of them as technology replaces people at a seeming (people are truly any company’s most valuable resource because of their knowledge and experience) fraction of the cost.

cremations services

All of this discomfort is actually grief over so many losses. And if you have had a loved one die since the beginning of 2020 or you have a love one die now or in the remainder of the year, it will be a big layer of grief added to existing layers of grief. It may seem overwhelming.

Seek professional help if it is. You are not alone.

For more information about cremation services in Sterling Heights, MI, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home is here to assist you.

cremation services in Macomb, MI

A Brief Tour of Cremation Services History

A brief tour of the history of cremation services, which are offered in Macomb, MI, will reveal some interesting facts about this form of final disposition. You may believe that when you choose to be cremated or to have your loved one cremated that you are doing something that is untraditional.

However, the practice of cremation is almost as early as the history of humans. The reason that Americans think of cremation as untraditional is because until about 50 years ago, the primary form of final disposition in this country was burial underground.

But in the earliest history of humans, cremation was more common than underground burial. The reasons are many.

First, in ancient civilizations, there was little knowledge about how to preserve bodies after death. Decay set in quickly and it was imperative to dispose of human remains quickly. Cremation made sense. The cremation remains were often buried on family land.

Generally, burial was cultural. For instance, in many of the Middle Eastern cultures, burial in tombs with a stone covering the tomb was quite common. The stone was used to prevent passersby from having to endure the stench as the body naturally deteriorated.

In Egypt, burials for elite members of society – rulers and other nobility – were done in pyramids. Ancient Egyptians developed a way to embalm the deceased to preserve the body for quite some time. When the elite were buried in their pyramids, they were surrounded by all the things – including food and drink – that the Egyptians believed they would need for their journey to the next life.

Ancient European cultures, on the other hand, preferred cremation. When soldiers, politicians, and war heroes died, their cremations were done on a funeral pyre (think of a huge bonfire) and their lives and deeds were celebrated by mourners who ate and drank and engaged in other activities around the funeral pyre for several days.

However, as the world shifted toward embracing Christianity about 300 years after the birth of Jesus Christ, almost all of those cultures moved away from cremation and back to burials. The reason was not because the Bible prohibited cremation (an erroneous narrative that permeated Christianity and was propagated throughout most of the history of Christianity), but because cremation was associated with pagan cultures. Burial was a way to distinguish between being a pagan and being a Christian.

By the time the New World was discovered, burial was the primary means of final disposition among the earliest colonists, most of whom were either Catholic or Protestant. Roman Catholicism was the religion that prohibited any cremations for the longest period of time, with relaxation coming only in the 21st century.

During Christianity, however, there were some times when cremation was widely used to dispose of the dead. Most notably, these periods were in the middle of worldwide pandemics such as bubonic plague, where transmission was rapid and death almost as rapid. In an effort to halt the spread of these virulent diseases, the dead were either cremated or buried underground at depths deep enough to ensure that the infection would not spread to the living.

It was not until the late 1800’s that scientific proof that, at that time, cremation was a more sanitary way of disposing of the dead than burying them. Still, the idea and practice of cremation was widely shunned by religions and the public.

The modern popularity of cremations is a result of practicality. Cemeteries and graveyards are running out of room for underground burials. Population mobility makes it very unlikely that most people will die where – or even close to – where they were born and lived growing up.

With the ease of transporting cremation remains and the many ways to use cremation remains, including burial in a columbarium or an urn garden, cremation has become a logical choice for many Americans.

For more information about cremation services in Macomb, MI, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home is here to assist you.