The following are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about cremation. Keep in mind that laws and procedures vary from state to state and from provider to provider.
What Is Cremation?
To begin with, it is probably easier to describe what cremation isn't. Cremation is not final disposition of the remains, nor is it a type of funeral service. Rather, it is a process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame.
Is A Casket Needed For Cremation?
No, a casket is not required for cremation. All that is usually required by most states is an alternative container constructed of wood or cardboard, which is cremated with the body. In some states, no conatiner is required.
Is Embalming Required Prior To Cremation?
Absolutely not and it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise. Can The Body Be Viewed Without Embalming? Yes, but with restrictions.
Can The Family Witness The Cremation?
Yes, in many cases, cremation providers will allow family members to be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. In fact, some religious groups include this as part of their funeral custom.
Is Cremation Accepted By All Religions?
Today most religions allow cremation except for Orthodox Jewish, Islamic, Eastern Orthodox and a few Fundamentalist Christian faiths. The Catholic Church accepts cremation as long as it is not chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teachings.
Can An Urn Be Brought Into Church?
Nearly all Protestant Churches allow for the urn to be present during the memorial service. Most Catholic Churches also allow the cremated remains to be present during the Memorial Mass. In fact, if the family is planning on a memorial service, we encourage the cremated remains be present as it provides a focal point for the service.
What Can Be Done With The Cremated Remains?
There are many options and laws vary state to state. Remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or cremation garden, inurned in a columbarium, kept at home, or scattered.
Do People Choose Cremation Only To Save Money?
While some people select cremation for economy, many choose this option for other reasons. The simplicity and dignity of cremation, environmental concerns, and the flexibility cremation affords in ceremony planning and final disposition all add to its increasing popularity.
Don't Most Funeral Homes Have A Crematory?
Most funeral homes subcontract this delicate procedure out to a third party provider in another town where the funeral home has little or no control over the crematory's operating procedures. Often, the family incurs additional transportation expenses and needless delay. By contrast, many cremation societies operate their own crematon facility.
How Can I Be Sure I Receive The Correct Remains?
All reputable cremation providers have developed rigorous sets of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize the level of service and minimize the potential for human error. If you have questions, ask the cremation providers what procedures they use.
How Long Does The Actual Cremation Take?
It depends on the weight of the individual. For an average size adult, cremation takes from two to three hours at normal operating temperature between 1,500 degrees F to 2,000 degrees F.
What Happens After The Cremation is Complete?
All organic bone fragments, which are very brittle, as well as non-consumed metal items are "swept" into the back of the the cremation chamber and into a stainless steel cooling pan. All non-consumed items, like metal from clothing, hip joints, and bridge work, are separated from the cremated remains. This separation is accomplished through visual inspection as well as using a strong magnet for smaller and minute metallic objects. Items such as dental gold and silver are non-recoverable and are commingled in with the cremated remains. Remaining bone fragments are then processed in a machine to a consistent size and placed into a temporary or permanent urn, selected by the family.
Can Two Cremations Be Performed At Once?
Never. Not only is it illegal to do so, most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult. Thus it would be a practical impossibility to conduct multiple cremations simultaneously.
What Do The Cremated Remains Look Like?
Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average size adult usually weigh between four to six pounds.
Are All The Cremated Remains Returned?
With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.
Do I Need An Urn?
An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or the remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not purchased through us, or provided by the family, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary plastic container.