Departing without ceremony – is it for you?

Departing without ceremony

Departing without ceremony – is it for you?

Traditionally, when someone dies, we expect to see the usual steps: funeral parlour, coffin, hearse, burial or cremation, headstone, flowers, favours, guestbook, a ceremony, etc

But some people do not want this and may choose to depart this world with less ceremony involved.

Leaving your body to science

Some may want to donate their body to science, which can be done in Spain and with the help of Golden Leaves. It is of huge benefit to society because it allows for medical research and helps to train future doctors. People of any age can donate their body to science, unless an autopsy needs to be carried out to determine the cause of death. Bodies can also be rejected if organs have been removed for transplant, limbs have been amputated, extensive surgery has been carried out, extreme obesity or emaciation or the person had high risk infectious/contagious diseases.

Be aware that at the moment there are a high number of applicants and that in many places, due to COVID-19, some faculties are not accepting bodies.

How is it done?

To donate the body to science, you need to contact the Anatomy Department at the Medical Faculty nearest to your home and make an appointment to go there and fill in the required documents before witnesses. Many will give you a card to identify you as a body donor.

When the person dies, it is important that it be registered as soon as possible and the certificate, as well as the person’s medical history, will be given to the Anatomy Department.

They will then be responsible for the preservation of the remains until they cease of be of use. At this time, the remains would usually be incinerated by the Faculty of Medicine, but if the family wants wishes, the remains can be returned to them to be buried or cremated privately.

Of course, even if a body is donated to science, the family can still hold a memorial service to mark the passing of their loved one.

Direct cremation

Donating your body to science may not be for everyone, and cremation has become popular for many reasons, including the fact that it is less expensive than burial.

In the UK, USA, Australia and Canada, many funeral directors offer what is known as direct cremation.

This no-fuss, low-cost option means that there is no funeral as it is traditionally understood and is on the rise since in 2016, David Bowie’s family members were given his ashes after a direct cremation with no service or mourners.

This doesn’t mean that the passing of the loved one is not marked, but it can be done in the way and at the time decided by the family.

It is a service which can be easily arranged and means that the body will be taken straight from the place of death to the crematorium and when the cremation is complete, the family will receive the ashes… no flowers, no funeral procession, no funeral parlour, no viewing of the deceased and just a very simple coffin, in short, no ceremony.

Simplicity and flexibility

In Spain it is not offered as such, mainly for cultural reasons, but it can be requested by the client, and should include criteria such as advice on registering the death, the documents and certificates required, collection of the body, basic coffin, cremation fees, a basic urn and preparation of the ashes for collection by relatives, or for delivery.

As different types of events to mark the passing of a loved one are becoming popular, this means that the deceased can be remembered without their body being present.

Some supporters of direct cremation also say that it helps with the mourning process because they are not forced to focus on preparing a ceremony in a short space of time and instead, they can arrange a more fitting event based on the tastes and beliefs of the deceased and their relatives.

If you and your relatives are interested in direct cremation, talk to you funeral planners about this option to learn what they can do for you.

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Written by

David Arias