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What Happens to your Body After You Die

Death has always been shrouded in mystery. Every culture has its own rituals and traditions that mark a person’s passing from this life. The ways that the body is prepared for interment or cremation, the ceremonies, funerals, memorials, have many similarities and differences from culture to culture across the globe.

In this great melting pot that is the United States, there are so many cultures, each with its own customs – and we have so many options available to us for our end-of-life experience. Some prefer the old ways of their culture, which for many means embalming the body, having a wake at the funeral parlor, and then a burial. The trends are changing, though, and what happens to your body after you die could look very different for you than it did for your grandparents, or even your parents.

As the Greatest Generation (1910 to 1924) and the Silent Generation (1925 to 1945) enter their 70s, 80, and 90s, they are the largest segment of the population that is dying right now. Many experts believe that they will also be the last generation to follow those old rituals of embalming, a wake, and burial. In fact, there are trends that show a growing number of individuals, such as the Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials are seeking other avenues for their funeral and cremation services. They are gravitating to ways that are simpler and more earth friendly.

This trend is best demonstrated in a 2016 report by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) that revealed the cremation rate has surpassed the burial rate in the U.S. for the first time. In New Hampshire alone, the cremation rate is more than 70%. By 2030, according to the report, that percentage of cremations is expected to be consistent across the country.

There are many different religions practiced across these United States. Each has its own set of customs surrounding death. We have worked with a wide range of religious ceremonies, from Catholic and Jewish, to Hindu and Muslim.

We want your experience to be personal and that drives us to go above and beyond to ensure your service is exactly what you want. You know your loved one better than we do. You know how your mom wore her hair just so or how dad never went anywhere without his hat. We want you to have the freedom to make the experience personal, to make it yours. This will serve you best in processing grief over their loss.

In a way, this brings us almost full circle to a time when the family or members of the community prepared the body. They did not have strangers come in and dictate how it should be carried out; the people who knew and loved the deceased were the ones who lovingly prepared that person for burial.

We believe families should be given more options for commemorating the lives of the people they love. That is what we work so hard to do. People need time and space to grieve in their own way, to say goodbye in a way that is meaningful to them. All people are different; it only seems natural to us that end of life choices should be just as vast and varied. It’s that human element that too often gets lost, and that is so unnecessary.

The bottom line here (to borrow from the video on our website home page) is that celebrations of life should be as unique as your loved one. At Phaneuf, we sincerely want to make sure that your loved one’s end-of-life experience is as personal, meaningful, and unique as they were.

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