Questions We are Often Asked by the Families we Serve
How is a cremation service different from a traditional funeral service?
It isn’t. At least it doesn’t have to be different. The extent and the content of a cremation service is entirely subject to the wishes of the family. They may choose as much formality or as little as they feel they want to have and they also have more options when cremation is chosen. Quite often a memorial service is held after cremation has occurred or perhaps the family will want to gather at a convenient time for the final committal of the cremated remains.
Is a casket required?
Most crematories require that the body at least be enclosed and in an acceptably rigid container. This container or casket must be strong enough to assure the protection of the health and safety of the operator. It should provide a proper covering for the body and meet reasonable standards of respect and dignity. Some crematories will accept metal caskets but most require that the casket or container be fashioned of a combustible material. The body is cremated in the same enclosure in which it arrives at the crematory.
How is cremation accomplished?
The enclosed body is placed in the cremation chamber where through heat and evaporation the body is reduced to its basic elements, which are referred to as cremated remains. It may surprise many to learn that ashes are not the final result since cremated remains have neither the appearance nor the chemical properties of ashes – they are, in fact, bone fragments. After preparation, these elements are either placed in a permanent urn or in a temporary container that is suitable for transport. Depending upon the size of the body, there are normally three to nine pounds of fragments resulting. Some crematories process the cremated remains, thereby reducing the space they require. Others do not alter their condition after they are removed from the chamber.
Isn't cremation an end in itself?
Some people may regard it as such, but most families feel that the cremated remains of someone they love should be afforded a resting place that can be identified by the name and dates. This is memorialization. Most families find that a memorial, regardless of its size, serves a basic human need to remember and to be remembered.
What choices of memorialization are available?
A final resting place for cremated remains can be provided by various means. The family may choose from a full selection of urns for permanent containment of the cremated remains. The urns may be placed in a columbarium, which is a building or structure where single niche space or family units may be selected. Niches are recessed compartments enclosed by either glass protecting the engraved urn or ornamental fronts upon which the name and dates are featured. Of course, family lots may be used and cemeteries often permit the interment of more than one person in an adult space if cremation has occurred. In many cemeteries there are also specially designed areas for this purpose, which are called urn gardens.
Is a funeral director necessary?
Some governmental jurisdictions require a licensed person to transport a body and to obtain the necessary permits. Funeral directors are licensed and are the only ones permitted to do so in some jurisdictions. Normally, the funeral director performs the same professional functions regarding cremations as in any other service.
Are more people choosing cremation today?
Yes. The subject should certainly be resolved among family members since that determination will have to be made at the time of death. The family should visit the crematory to learn what is offered in the way of services. The family should consult together ahead of time to decide what is best for all. Arrangements for memorialization also should be made at this time. This way one of life’s most difficult decisions need not be made alone at a time of grief and confusion.
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