When word spread that John Travolta and Kelly Preston’s son, Jett Travolta, had died in the Bahamas, I immediately wondered how they’d handle his funeral arrangements.  Would they bring his body back to Ocala, Florida (their current home) for a burial or would they opt for cremation with viewing?

I was mildly surprised to learn that they had him cremated in the Bahamas and brought his cremains home for a private memorial service.

I was saddened to learn that my friends and family didn’t see any problem with this.

My immediate reaction was “how will his friends and family members get closure without his body present?”

Truth is, most Americans are becoming quite comfortable with “no-body” funerals and even more comfortable with the idea that funeral homes just handle the disposition.

And once again, they see a high-profile case where the family (regardless of their wealth) choose to handle services at home or away from a traditional funeral establishment.

This seems to be an important topic, as I’ve covered it on the blog many, many times in the last 2.5 years, so why don’t we spend whole conferences dealing with this issue?

If you own or run a funeral home, how are you planning to deal with the increasing number of people who don’t choose you, but instead opt for direct cremation and private services?

Are you stubbornly sticking with “what you’ve always done” and resenting the choices today’s consumers make?


If we are ready to confront this shift in society, how do we tell consumers that there’s another way (traditional cremation, perhaps?) or that funeral homes are about more than just body disposal?

And if we can’t change the direction, where do we fit into this new reality?

Teach Them: Cremation is a Disposition Option, not a Service Option
Turn News Stories About Cremation into Positive PR
Surprised, She Asked “You can have a viewing with a cremation?”
A Future Without Funeral Homes?
Could You Survive Without Disposition?