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When pre-planning a funeral or when arranging funeral services for a family member, various choices are presented. One of these options is cremation. Cremation services are intended to be an alternative to entombment or burial yet can provide your family with the same benefits that a traditional funeral offers and several other unique options as well.
The reasons our families choose cremation are as unique and personal as the individual families we work with. Regardless of the reason, whether it is religious, personal, environmental or otherwise, many people have a misconception about cremation that it is direct, immediate and simple. Although this is an option, once our families realize that cremation is only the final disposition of a loved one, they often choose to have many of the same services that can be arranged prior to a burial. Cremation can be a wonderful option for many because it provides many of the same options as a traditional service, but it also allows for some unique and customary memorials after the cremation takes place
We encourage our families to consider their unique choices both prior to cremation and after cremation has taken place. By discussing your options with one of our funeral consultants, you can discuss and decide on a service that is personalized and designed with your preferences in mind. As with families that choose burial, we can customize your cremation services to fit your unique needs.
Although cremation is not new, many people come to us with questions. These are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding cremation and cremation services.
First of all, cremation is not something new and it is not a substitute for a funeral. It's a process that has been around for thousands of years and is really just another method preparing the deceased for memorial services.
The process of cremation often begins with an identification procedure that is designed to provide peace of mind to family members and ensure the integrity of the cremated remains. Because cremation is an irreversible process, positive identification of the deceased is important. This can be done through an informal viewing that we can arrange, or many people choose to have a formal wake with an open casket.
Once positive identification has been established and all necessary permits and authorizations have been obtained, the cremation casket or container is placed into the cremation chamber. The casket or container is then exposed to intense heat and flame for a period of approximately 2 to 3 hours. The exact length of time necessary for cremation will vary depending on the size and weight of the deceased and temperatures will range between 1500 to 1800 degrees. During the cremation process all matter will be consumed except certain bone fragments and non-combustible items such as prostheses, casket hinges and jewelry.
After cremation is complete, a cooling period is required prior to the recovery of the cremated remains. Following the cooling period, the cremated remains are carefully gathered from the cremation chamber and all non-combustible items are separated and disposed of properly. The remaining bone fragments are further processed, reducing them to a fine, grayish-white, granular or powdery consistency that generally weights between 4 to 8 pounds. Crematory personnel then carefully place the cremated remains into an urn selected by the family or into a container designed for temporary storage.
Because of the irreversible nature of cremation, a positive identification of the deceased is necessary prior to cremation. Any other desired viewings, whether public or private, also must be coordinated prior to cremation. In addition, depending on state or local laws, there may be a mandatory waiting period before cremation can take place. In Massachusetts, for example, cremation cannot take place within the first forty-eight hours following death and then only after authorization by the coroner or medical examiner of the county in which the death occurred. Additional permits and cremation authorization forms also need to be completed by the appropriate parties involved.
Certain medical devices such as pacemakers and radioactive implants must be removed prior to cremation. Pacemakers may explode during the cremation process, which can pose potential hazards to both crematory personnel and equipment. Additionally, certain radioactive medications used prior to death may also pose potential health hazards to crematory personnel.
Any personal items you wish to retain, such as jewelry, should be removed prior to cremation. Any items not removed will be destroyed during the cremation process, or otherwise disposed of in a non-recoverable manner.
Finally, if desired, a small number of personal items may be placed with the deceased prior to cremation. These items will remain with the deceased and will be consumed during the cremation process. Specific requests are generally not a problem, but must be identified prior to cremation for proper coordination.
Yes. Only one cremation casket or container is cremated at a time. Special exceptions can be made only in cases of close relatives, and then only with appropriate prior written authorization.
The reasons for choosing cremation are as varied and unique as the individuals selecting it. Some choose cremation because of their feelings on environmental issues and land usage; others select it because of their religious beliefs. Cremation for some provides the option of scattering the remains or keeping the remains at home. The reasons for considering cremation are a highly personal reflection of an individual's beliefs and preferences.
Religious positions vary widely regarding cremation. Some require it, others disallow or advise against it, and others take no position at all. Most, however, will allow you to decide. If you are uncertain as to the position your religion embraces, we would advise you to speak directly with your clergy.
No, embalming is not required for cremation. Embalming, however, is necessary when a cremation ceremony involves a public viewing. Some families also elect to have embalming performed if there will be an extended delay between the time of death and an identification viewing.
Absolutely. Many of our families choose to separate the cremated remains into a variety of portions. There is no limit to how many times this can be done or for what purpose. Some choose to bury a portion and scatter another portion. Others choose to have loved ones each hold on to a keepsake of the remains. This is an entirely personal and individual choice.
Yes. And more are being introduced every day! Some urns are designed very traditionally while others are tailored to meet more specific needs. Today, urns are available to meet nearly any request.
No. A casket is not required for cremation. Most crematories will, however, require a rigid, combustible, leak-proof, covered container. This minimum requirement, also referred to as an alternate container, is required for sanitary reasons and allows for a dignified manner in which to place the deceased into the cremation chamber. The type of cremation casket or container used is really a personal choice. Once selected, the deceased is placed into the cremation casket or container for an identification viewing and any mandatory waiting period prior to cremation.
Yes. There are caskets specifically designed for cremation. These caskets may be used for ceremonies with public or private viewings, identification viewings, or simply to meet the crematory's minimum container requirement. They are constructed using very little metal and are designed to be compatible with cremation. We offer a wide selection of cremation caskets ranging from solid cherry and oak to corrugated materials.
Yes. With the exception of the rental casket, any cremation casket or container selected will be completely cremated during the process
Yes. These caskets are available for a viewing or ceremony prior to cremation or can be used for an identification viewing as well. The rental caskets have been designed to be aesthetically appealing, affordable, and environmentally friendly.
The ceremonial casket is first prepared by inserting a sturdy, fully lined corrugated insert into the outer hardwood shell. The casket is then utilized for the viewing and/or ceremony. Afterward, the interior fabric is neatly folded in, and a matching corrugated lid is placed on top of the insert container. The hinged end panel of the casket is then lowered and the insert container is gently removed from the outer shell. The container is then placed into the cremation chamber for cremation.
Cremation urns are offered in a wide variety of styles and materials. Your personal plans for the final placement of the urn can play an important part in your selection process. Some urns are ornately designed for display purposes while others are very basic in style. Pewter, bronze, hardwood, ceramic, porcelain, glass and marble are just a few of the materials used for urn construction. Many of the urns can also be personalized with engravings or laser designs.
What most people do with cremated remains is a matter of personal choice. The following are only some examples of your options.