Frequently Asked Questions about Cremation

Many questions arise as families contemplate cremation. We have compiled some of the most popular questions and answers, which we hope will help you in your decision.

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact our funeral homes.

1. Is a cremation service different from a traditional funeral service?
2. Do you require a cremation casket?
3. Is embalming necessary?
4. Could you explain the cremation process?
5. Isn't cremation an end in itself?
6. What choices of memorialization are available?
7. What about scattering cremated remains?
8. How does the cost of cremation compare with burial or entombment?

Question #1Is a cremation service different from a traditional funeral service?
Answer: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 want. Quite often a memorial service is held after cremation or a family will want to gather at a convenient time for the final committal of the cremated remains.

Question #2Do you require a cremation casket?
Answer:Yes, our crematory requires that the body 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 we 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.

Question #3Is embalming necessary?
Answer:No, but the factors of time, health and possible legal regulations and religious beliefs might make embalming prior to cremation either appropriate or necessary.

Question #4Could you explain the cremation process?
Answer:The enclosed body is placed in the cremation chamber where through heat and evaporation the body is reduced to its basic elements. 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. 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.

Question #5Isn't cremation an end in itself?
Answer: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.

Question #6What choices of memorialization are available?
Answer:There are various options for a final resting place. The family may choose from a variety of different urns for permanent containment of the cremated remains. The urns can 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.) Family lots may also 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 called urn gardens.

Question #7What about scattering cremated remains?
Answer:This may be legally done in most areas. Some crematories provide scattering gardens within their dedicated property, often with the option of personal memorials. The use of dedicated property assures the site chosen will not be developed for other use at some future time.

Question #8How does the cost of cremation compare with burial or entombment?
Answer:The basic charge for just cremation is somewhat less than traditional burial.

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