Several options are available for those who prefer cremation. A few of these options include a complete funeral service with cremation replacing burial; immediate cremation with a memorial service of remembrance; and finally, immediate cremation with no services. While these only cover the general types of cremation services, your choices are not required to fit exactly into any particular category. There are literally options within options available to provide a meaningful service of remembrance.
Cremation Offers An Alternative
Choosing cremation still permits arrangements for a traditional funeral or a memorial service. Family and friends can support survivors during visitation and attend a funeral ceremony at the funeral home or church. The cost of cremation depends on the services chosen.
Cremation With Services
The participation in services with the body present prior to cremation can:
- Lengthen the time before final separation
- Help confront the reality of death
- Express the fact that a life has been lived
- Acknowledge the survivors’ needs for community support
- Help avoid a ”Here today gone tomorrow“ circumstance
What is Cremation?
Cremation is the process by which a body is exposed to extreme heat. Through this process the body is reduced to its basic elements, which are referred to as the ”cremated body“ or ”cremated remains“. Cremation occurs at a crematorium in a special kind of furnace called a cremation chamber or retort. 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. These fragments are further reduced in size through a mechanical process. After preparation, these elements are placed in a temporary container that is suitable for transport, carefully identified. Depending upon the size of the body, there are normally three to nine pounds of fragments resulting.
Cremation does not preclude funeral or memorial services. It is an alternative method of preparation for memorialization and final disposition.
Cremation allows more options than traditional burial and thus is more complex, more decisions are required.
When cremation is complete, the cremated remains as well as any non-consumed metal items are swept from the cremation chamber into a cooling receptacle. Bone fragments are further reduced to granulated particles by a special machine. Although cremated remains do not have the appearance or properties of ashes, many people refer to them in this way. Survivors may purchase an urn, a special container, in which to keep the cremains in their possession; or the cremains may be buried in the family plot or in a special section of the cemetery. Markers may be purchased to designate the burial place. Survivors may choose to scatter the cremains over ground, water, or at a site of special interest. This alternative may be subject to local environmental protection laws.
Cremation Service Options
Funeral Service With Cremation
Just like burial, cremation can occur after a funeral where the casket is present at one’s place of worship or a funeral chapel. The only real difference between a funeral followed by burial and one followed by cremation is that the body is taken to the crematory after the service in lieu of a procession to the cemetery. The funeral may be preceded by a period of visitation at the funeral home. During this time and before the service the casket may be open or closed according to the preferences of the survivors. Some may opt to receive friends at a funeral home, church or another location, which is another matter of personal feeling and choice. Following the funeral, the body is cremated in the casket or placed in a special cremation container. Following the cremation, a public or private service may be arranged for the final placement of the cremated remains.
Cremation With A Memorial Service of Remembrance
A memorial service, like a funeral, is a service of remembrance, only without the body present. It may be held at a place of worship, the funeral home or any appropriate location. Regardless of the site, we can assist in planning and organizing the service, and provide the necessary staff to direct the service. The urn may be present for a memorial service, as the casket would be for a funeral. It is usually placed on a special stand or memorial table and attractively arranged with flowers, photographs or memorabilia of the person. The family may hold a visitation or gathering at the funeral home with or without the presence of the body. Frequently, the body will be in the casket during a time for viewing and then cremated before the memorial service.
An immediate, or direct cremation is limited to the cremation of the body following death with no formal funeral or memorial services. We will require a family member or authorized party to at least verify the identity of the deceased before cremation. We will assist you with this type of arrangement, providing personal attention in a professional manner.
While these descriptions cover the general types of cremation services, your choices are not required to fit exactly into any particular category. There are many choices available to provide a meaningful service. Please consult one of our funeral directors for any questions that you may have.
What Do You Authorize the Crematory To Do?
Cremains consist primarily of bone fragments, which are reduced to permit their placement in an urn or other suitable container. The cremains provided to the recipient under this Direction and Authority to Cremate and Dispose of Remains will include such bone fragments and human remains the crematory recovers from the cremation chamber. The cremains provided to the recipient under this Direction and Authority to Cremate and Dispose of Remains may not include non-human residual materials recovered during the cremation process, including, but not limited to, surgical screws, wire pacemaker leads, snaps, die cast metal surgical implants such as joints and large plates, dental material, such as bridgework and gold, and any other residual valuable and non-valuable material. The authorized representative acknowledges and consents that the crematory may retain and dispose of non-human residual materials recovered during the cremation process in any manner as determined by the crematory, and the authorized representative acknowledges and consents that any claim of ownership, right, or possession of non-human residual materials is surrendered to the crematory.
If you have further questions regarding cremation, you may call us at (800) 962-5527 and we will do our best to answer your questions. There is also a brochure that we can mail you from the “National Funeral Directors Association” called Understanding Cremation.