Our religious correspondent, Richard Rawlinson, ponders the importance of a physical signifier of absence.
Whether we choose burial or cremation, should we offer those we leave behind a tombstone or plaque forming a physical destination for paying respects?
I know the reasons for favouring cremation: immediacy over slow decomposition, shortage of burial space, cost and the difficulty of upkeeping graves among families who might live far away.
But how widespread is the trend for throwing cremains to the wind in a natural setting cherished by the deceased rather than burying them in an urn, either on consecrated land or another favoured burial site?
A plaque marking the site of cremains doesn’t require the upkeep or the space of a stone above a body in a coffin. Is it not helpful to the bereaved to know they can visit a specific memorial destination, even if circumstances don’t allow for regular visits? Do they get the same emotional impact from visiting the scene where cremains were scattered, but have since dispersed into, at least physical, nothingness?