When a death occurs in the winter months, it is quite common that the burial can’t take place until the spring. Our region has long, cold winters and this hinders a cemetery’s ability to conduct burials due to the frozen ground. It is not unusal for many families in our smaller communities thoughout Ontario to have to wait weeks, or even months to bury a loved one. This delay can prolong grief for the family and make it difficult for them to move forward.
Spring Burials for Caskets
We will store the deceased on premise or in cemetery vaults until burials can take place in the spring. This is unavoidable in many places across Ontario and this may be felt as an infringement on the mourning process. There could also be extra costs to families for having to return for the burial to take place in the spring.
Spring Burials for Urns
Cremation lends some flexibility in regards to burials. Urns can be stored by the family at their home instead of at the funeral home or in a cemetery vault. Storing urns at home until the burial takes place does provide comfort to some families.
Why Can’t Cemeteries Dig Graves in the Winter?
The frozen earth is too difficult for cemetery caretakers to work with. Many cemeteries in urban areas have the heavy machinery required to dig graves year round. However, it is too expensive for smaller cemeteries to buy the equipment for digging graves in the winter.
Other Obstacles with Spring Burials
In addition to being difficult for families, it is also a scheduling challenge for funeral homes. Funeral directors and cemetery caretakers must deal with the backlog of spring burials every year. There could be extra costs associated with funeral vehicles and staff to attend to the burial.
Delays Due to Flooding
The disappearence of snow can also lead to other delays. It is unsafe for cemetery caretakers and familiy members to be present when the ground is still soft. Unstable ground can lead to graves caving in and dangerous falls. It is also unsettling for families to see graves filled with water. Many cemeteries in Ontario can’t begin burying well into May or later. A cemtery can’t control nature and these timelines can vary from year to year.
Many of the cemeteries we work with on a regular basis are able to conduct burials throughout the year. Many cemeteries in metropolitan areas have the resources to do so. There are also other types of resting palces to choose from. We welcome you to reach out to our team directly if you have any questions.