What is Cremation?
The modern practice of cremation dates back to the middle of the 19th century. Cremation is the process of reducing the body to bone fragments through the application of intense heat. This usually takes two to three hours and occurs in a special type of furnace known as a cremation chamber or retort. The remaining fragments are processed into a finer substance and placed in a temporary container.
Many people believe that at the time of death only two basic choices exist: immediate cremation or what might be thought of as a "traditional" funeral that includes viewing and burial. Actually several options are available in between. Cremation is simply one form of disposition (method of caring for the body). There are several opportunities to create meaningful experiences that include cremation.
The Funeral Service and Cremation
Just like burial, cremation can occur after a funeral where the casket is present. The funeral may be preceded by a public visitation or reception at a location chosen by the family. During this time, the casket may be open or closed. Some families may choose to have a private gathering. Following the funeral ceremony, the body is cremated in the casket or placed in a special cremation container. After cremation, a public or private service may be arranged for the final placement of the cremated remains.
The Memorial Service and Cremation
A memorial service, like a funeral, is a service of remembrance, only without the body present. Regardless of where the service is held, we can assist you in planning and organizing it. An urn may be present, as a casket would be for a funeral. Sometimes, photographs and /or other memorabilia are displayed. As with a funeral service, the family may wish to hold a visitation or reception prior to the memorial service.
Depending on where the death occurred, state or provincial laws may require a "waiting period" to occur before cremation can take place. We can advise you as to the regulations in our area and assist you accordingly.
Other Service Options
These descriptions are simply general types of cremation alternatives. There are literally options within options in creating a service that will be as unique as the person being remembered. Your choices are not required to fit into any particular category. Tell us your thoughts, and we can offer our suggestions on planning a service that will have a special meaning
The Cost of Cremation
In general the cost of cremation as a mode of disposition is less than that of burial or entombment.
However, cremation charges vary in different locations. And, the total cost will vary depending on what additional services are selected. We will provide a current General Price List with a complete listing of charges, so you can evaluate costs in light of your situation.
Crematories generally require that a body be enclosed in a rigid container, providing for the health and safety of the operator and the dignity of the deceased. A range of caskets are available which are suited for formal services followed by cremation, or we can review other alternatives as well. An urn serves the same purpose after cremation that a casket does for burial: it holds the remains and becomes part of the memorial site. There are many styles and types of urns available
Embalming is often a matter of practical consideration for a service with the body present. For immediate cremation, embalming is not required. We can review with you any legal and health regulations for our area regarding embalming.
Memorialization is the act of establishing a permanent means to commemorate the life of the deceased. Several choices are available including the following.
The urn may be placed within a niche in a columbarium. Columbaria are most often located within a cemetery and may be an entire building, a room or a series of niches built as part of a garden wall. Outdoor settings may include niches built as part of a garden wall. You may be able to include a memorial plaque or nameplate.
Some people prefer earth burial of the urn, just as a casket. Cemeteries often have special urn gardens or a standard cemetery plot may be used.
Some cemeteries also provide areas for the scattering of cremated remains. Some people scatter cremated remained in the air or over water. While this is legal in many areas, this is a decision that should be carefully considered. Many people need a specific location to go for reflection. The emotional need often surfaces later and may be overlooked if scattering takes place too quickly.