Funerals and Cremation
Choosing cremation does not mean choosing not to have a funeral service. Quite contrary, those who chose to hold calling hours and a funeral prior to cremation are usually grateful they did because it gave them time to adjust to the death of their loved one.
Awareness of another choice
Cremation is an irreversible process for disposition of the human body. The body is placed into a casket or approved combustible container and then placed in a special furnace, commonly called a retort. Under intense heat and flame the body is reduced to bone fragments, known as cremated human remains.
What funeral service options are available?
As with traditional earth burial, the type of cremation service is the personal choice of the family. Such services might include visitation (calling hours), public or private funeral service with the casketed body present, or a memorial service (without the body present) which may be held prior to or following the cremation process.
Is embalming necessary?
Embalming is not necessary for the cremation process. However, embalming may be appropriate for aesthetic purposes and time constraints, especially if there is an open casket visitation.
Is a casket required?
A casket is not required for cremation. However, most crematories do require an acceptable rigid, leak-proof combustible container. Some funeral homes may furnish a rental casket if viewing is desired.
What is an urn?
An urn is a permanent container into which cremated remains are placed. Urns are typically constructed of bronze, copper, marble, hardwoods or ceramic. They can vary in design and cost and are available from your local funeral home.
What can be done with cremated remains?
The family may elect to keep them in a permanent container, such as an urn, within their own home. They may choose to place them in a family burial plot, in a niche at a mausoleum or in a columbarium providing a permanent area for future memorialization. Survivors may choose to scatter the cremated remains over ground, water, or at a site of special interest. This option may be subject to local regulation.
What about cost?
The exact cost of cremation depends on several factors and the type of cremation service chosen. Therefore, there is no standard cost of a cremation. An accurate cost can be determined by consulting with your local funeral director.
Making the personal choice of cremation involves many decisions. Consult with your funeral director regarding the legal documents necessary for cremation and the pre-planning services available. It is wise to consider all the options and ask questions before making final decisions about such an important event.
Dealing with family and cremation
Cremation is a very personal choice to make, and only you can determine if it is right for you and your family. Whether you select earth burial, entombment or cremation, it is wise to consider the emotional needs of the survivors. By including your family and loved ones in your decisions, you may be able to avoid some of the stresses that so often accompany this emotional and difficult time.
Cremation - Cremation is the process of reducing the dead body by heat and evaporation into bone fragments.
Cremated remains - are often compared to fire ash but are actually much coarser material because of the presence of bone fragments.
Crematory - A licensed facility where bodies are cremated.
Funeral - A funeral is a service designed to honor one's life where family and friends come to share memories about the one who died and to say good-bye. The body of the deceased is present for the service.
Full Service Cremation - Visitation and/or viewing when family and friends gather, the funeral service is conducted with the body of the deceased present. Cremation then takes place after the services have concluded.
Memorial Service - This is a formal or informal ceremony for family and friends without the body of the deceased present. This may take place anywhere, anytime and/or in conjunction with any other service options.
Direct Cremation - is limited to the cremation process without any preparation of the body, services or memorialization.
An important consideration is memorialization. Many families have found it helpful to select a permanent area for memorialization of the cremated remains. This area can provide a special place for the survivors to visit with their loved one.