DEAR ABBY: I recently had an interesting conversation with a friend after a funeral. It was about cremation versus burial, and I'd be interested in your thoughts and those of your readers.
We noted that cremation has become more common, and guessed that one of the main reasons might be funeral and plot costs. After thinking about it, we thought there might be other considerations propelling people toward the practice of cremation.
In modern society, individuals and families seem less tied to one area, and also, larger communities make it more difficult to make trips to cemeteries. Any insight on this trend? -- PLOTTING AND PLANNING IN ARIZONA
DEAR PLOTTING AND PLANNING: Cremation is nothing new. It has been practiced since ancient times -- 5,000 years ago and possibly even longer than that. The early Romans did it, but with the rise of Christianity it fell out of favor. (It is accepted by the Christian religion today.) Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs commonly cremate their deceased. However, it is opposed by traditional Jewish culture, which believes our bodies belong to God and we are not supposed to actively destroy God's property, and by the Muslim religion.
You and your friend have covered the major considerations that make people choose cremation instead of burial. I would only add that in the past, I have heard from readers who could not bear to part with the remains of their loved one, and who have kept the ashes in their home. Others would like to have their own ashes co-mingled with their loved one's at the appropriate time and placed in a columbarium. However, if readers have anything they would like to add, I'll share some of their input with you.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 75 and my daughter just turned 50. We both have nice figures and are stylish. On a number of occasions over the years, when my daughter and I are together, people have commented that we look like sisters. I usually smile and say thanks, and my daughter just smiles.
Recently, she asked me, "Does that mean I look old?" Turning 50 may have made her a little more age-conscious. She looks great for any age, and I would like your suggestion for a good reply that will boost her self-confidence. -- GEORGIA IN TEXAS
DEAR GEORGIA: Tell your daughter that people may say you look like sisters because you strongly resemble each other. Many mothers and daughters do. They may also be trying to pay you a compliment, implying that you look much younger than your years. I'm sure it's not meant to imply that your daughter looks old.
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