Cremation Information

Cremation Information

What is Cremation?

Part of making funeral arrangements on behalf of a loved one involves choosing between burial of the body, or cremation. Certainly this is a big decision, based on any number of factors: religious or spiritual beliefs, finances, or ecological awareness are just some of the reasons we've heard for choosing cremation. Before you can make the choice, you need to know exactly what it is you're considering. You can learn the basics below, however, if the content here raises additional questions for you, please give us a call. One of our cremation specialists will address any of your inquiries or concerns.

Cremation Explained

The Cremation Association of North America describes cremation as, "The mechanical and/or thermal or other dissolution process that reduces human remains to bone fragments".  On our page, The Cremation Process, we offer a deeper look at the most common cremation process which uses extreme heat. 

As we said earlier, people choose cremation over burial of casketed remains for any combination of reasons. Sometimes it's the simple fear of burial itself, which may stem directly from the Victorian phobia of being buried alive. 

Cremation has been a part of the human experience for a very long time, and is the preferred method of caring for a loved one in many parts of the world.

While we could recite statistics on the rising popularity of cremation in North America and other nations, they really won’t mean very much to you. After all, who picks cremation just because everyone else is doing so?

People choose cremation because they believe it to be the right choice for them. It’s as deeply personal of a decision as that of selecting burial. The decision could be based on:

  • Financial Challenges. The cost of direct cremation with no funeral or memorial service is often ¼ that of a traditional burial. This simple fact is often all it takes for a family to make the cremation decision; however we firmly believe that there is great value in bringing family and friends together for a remembrance service – value which exceed mere cost.
  • The Desire for Simplicity. There is nothing simpler than a direct cremation, where the body is transferred straight to the crematory and everything is done within hours of completing the necessary paperwork.
  • The Need for Flexibility. A memorial service after a direct cremation can be arranged at a time that's convenient for family members. There is no rush to put together a ceremony which many in the circle can’t attend due to time or financial constraints.
  • The Intention to More Fully Commemorate a Loved One. A service can be planned for weeks, even months, after the cremation. This means more people can get involved and there’s plenty of time to gather meaningful scriptural passages, poetry, literary quotes, music, photos and videos.

If any of those reasons ring true for you and your family, then cremation may be the perfect alternative for your loved one.

What is Required to Arrange for Cremation?

  • Who will perform the cremation?
  • Should you purchase an urn?
  • What kind of remembrance ceremony would you like to have?
  • What will you do with the cremated remains?

You may wish to keep the remains at your home for a time, until you feel ready to let go of them, or when all family members can be present for a scattering ceremony.

Our professional Funeral Directors can advise you on unique ways to memorialize a loved one using the cremated remains, including the creation of art glass objects. We also offer a wide selection of cremation keepsake jewelry. We can also recommend firms in the area that specialize in scattering the cremated remains at sea, or in the air.

Once the cremation-over-burial decision has been made, all that's required is authorization. This is provided by the person who is the legally identified or appointed next-of-kin. Once all authorization documents are signed, and service charges are paid; the body can be transported from the place of death to the crematory and the cremation process can take place. However, there are some additional things you may wish to consider, such as:

  • Is there a special set of clothes (such as a military uniform or favorite dress) your loved one would appreciate the thought of wearing? This will be a focus of the cremation arrangement conversation, and you will be advised by your funeral director as to your best options regarding jewelry or other valuable personal items.
  • Are there any keepsake items you'd like to include in their cremation casket? Perhaps there's a special memento, such as a treasured photograph or letter? We sometimes suggest family members write cards, notes or letters to their deceased loved one, and place them in the casket prior to the cremation.
  • Would you or other family members like to be present for–or participate to some degree in–your loved one's cremation? Because we know how healing it can be to take part in an act of "letting go", we welcome the opportunity to bring interested family or friends into the crematory. Please discuss your desire to participate with your funeral director.
  • What will you keep the cremated remains or ashes in after the cremation or the service? Many families are simply unaware that they can purchase a cremation urn to be placed in a special place such as the family home. We offer a large selection of urns that will help memorialize your loved one. Ask one of our caring funeral director's to see the wide variety of urns.

Is it Time to Speak with One of Our Cremation Specialists?

We encourage open dialog about all end-of-life issues, and sincerely hope you reach out to us to dig deeper into the topics related to cremation and burial. Call us today to ask a question or to set an appointment (either in your home or our office). We look forward to the conversation.

Why Choose Cremation

Everyone has their own personal reasons for choosing cremation over traditional casketed burial.

Cremation Costs are Only One Reason

Given the religious, ethnic, and regional diversity among us, there are many other reasons for the dramatic rise in the number of cremations performed each year. According to Tyler Mathisen of NBC, one of those reasons "is the softening of the Catholic church's views of the practice. For centuries – until 1963, in fact – the church outlawed it. The church's laws still express a preference for burial. But the outright ban is a thing of the past."  

He goes on to tell readers that the decline in nuclear families is another reason. "As more Americans live far from hometowns and parents, and as family burial plots have waned in popularity and accessibility, millions have turned to cremation as a practical and cost-effective way to care for a loved one's remains."

Cremation also allows a family the flexibility they may need in planning and preparing for a memorial service, celebration-of-life, or a scattering ceremony. While the cremation process can occur almost immediately (once all the proper paperwork is complete), the decisions required in planning a meaningful memorial for a loved one can be made in a relaxed, rational way.

You can also be sure that concern for the environment ranks high among many who choose cremation. Casketed and embalmed remains take up cemetery space and can pollute the ground water but many still question the amount of atmospheric pollution created by the cremation process.

Are You Ready to Talk about Cremation?

We want you to know that no matter your reasons for choosing cremation, we're here to help you explore your options. When you're ready, call us to set an appointment or simply drop by our office. You can also send us an email via our online contact us form.

Sources:
  1. What is Cremation, Cremation Association of North America
  2. Mathisen, Tyler, "Cremation is the Hottest Trend in the Funeral Industry"
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