Cremation Information - What you need to know about cremation
We understand how hard it is and want to support you.
It is heart-breaking to say goodbye to those we love the most. The death of a loved one is extremely difficult, both emotionally and practically.
We become emotionally overwhelmed. We can experience a wide range of intense emotions, including deep loss, sadness, loneliness, and, on occasion, regret. These feelings may be heightened by a sudden death, or they may be accompanied by a sense of relief (and guilt) if they had been suffering from their illness for a long time. Know that, while all of these feelings are unpleasant, they are completely normal and are to be expected following the death of someone close to us.
While battling these emotions, you must also deal with the onerous practicality of your loved one's death. This is where we can assist you with some useful advice and tips.
Burial vs. Cremation
One of the most important decisions to make is whether to have the deceased cremated or buried. The choice, like everything else surrounding our loved one's memorial, is personal, and there is no right or wrong answer, nor is one better than the other. However, there are a few factors to consider to ensure that your decision is the best one for you;
Did your loved one express a preference prior to death?
If your loved one left detailed instructions in their will or had discussed this with you prior to their passing, you should follow their wishes unless you have compelling reasons not to.
Strong religious convictions
It is forbidden for Muslims to cremate the bodies of the deceased. Some Orthodox and conservative Judaism also dismiss or outright prohibit it. The Pope recently confirmed that cremation is permitted but that there are restrictions on what can be done with the remains, whereas Hinduism is the only major religion that requires cremation, believing that it aids souls in their journey to the next world.
The deceased's location in relation to their family
Families are more dispersed and move more frequently now that people are no longer restricted to the area in which they grew up. Cremated remains can be relocated, but burial sites are permanent and can be difficult to visit for those who live a long distance away.
Cremated remains can be present at a memorial service in the future
This is important if family members are unable to travel for various reasons, or if numbers are limited and family and friends are unable to attend the funeral. An issue that is much more prevalent in today's Covid climate.
Time to make Decisions
Burial is the final step in the process, whereas cremation gives families more time to decide what to do with their loved one's ashes. The family does not have to decide whether to scatter, bury, keep at home, or turn into cremation art during the initial stage of grief. A burial, on the other hand, may provide families with more closure.
Physical Location of MemorialA gravesite provides a physical location which family and friends can visit, which makes it possible for them to pay their respects privately and in their own time, whereas cremated remains are typically kept by close family members.
Cremation is generally cheaper than burial, especially direct cremation, but there are many add-ons that can make it just as, if not more, expensive, so keep this in mind when planning if cost is an issue.
What to expect if you opt for cremation
A funeral or service before or after cremation is a popular option; you can still choose an open casket if you prefer. A memorial service allows family and friends to gather in remembrance, say their goodbyes, and pay their respects. This service can be tailored to a family's specific needs. Traditionally, stories are told to remember the deceased, hymns and songs sung and prayers recited. However, the options are limitless, and it has become especially important to personalize them to suit the deceased. The service can be held in a church, a crematorium, or outside. You should talk to your funeral home or crematorium about these options.
You are not required to have a service for cremation; instead, you may choose direct cremation, in which your loved one is transferred directly to the crematorium with no viewing or services.
Do you plan to attend/view the cremation?
There are no laws prohibiting viewing cremation urns, but each crematorium has its own policies, and some are not set up to allow viewing. Some may allow you to stay for the first few minutes of the process, while others may allow you to stay for the entire duration should you wish to (although this could take over 4 hours).
Viewing a cremation is now considered more acceptable and even a right of the descendants' family. However, this may not mean what you think though; no one is able to witness the incineration. The retort (cremation container) is fully enclosed. The viewing is when the enclosed casket/cremation container is transferred into the cremation chamber and the process begins. This can be done manually or by conveyor.
Are the ashes I receive truly those of my loved one?
Yes. Many people are concerned that ashes will be switched or mixed up, but the ashes you receive are truly those of your loved ones.
To ensure this, a stainless-steel identity tag is worn by the deceased throughout the cremation process. To ensure accuracy, the identity is checked multiple times throughout the process. Because each cremation chamber can only hold one body, the risk of mixed ashes, which some people are concerned about, is eliminated.
If you want to learn more about the chain of command, you can do so by clicking here. (https://www.cremationassociation.org/page/CremationProcess)
What am I meant to do with cremation ashes?
Ashes will be returned to you in a temporary container, typically inside a plastic bag held inside a cardboard or plastic box. If you have already chosen a cremation urn, the ashes can be placed directly into it; notify your crematorium/funeral director if this is the case.
Cremated remains can now be used for a variety of creative purposes, including sending them into space (https://www.celestis.com/experiences-pricing/), creating coral reefs (https://www.eternalreefs.com), and even having them tattooed on you. However, you are not required to go to such extremes.
Here are the five most common options for what to do with cremated remains, but if you're looking for something a little more adventurous, simply search on Google; there are plenty of options.
- Wait - For the time being, do nothing and leave them in the temporary container. You don't have to make a decision right away.
- Permanent final resting place – either burial or placement in a niche or columbarium.
- Scatter ashes – usually in a small ceremony in a place of special significance to the deceased.
- Keep the ashes at home in a permanent urn – some people prefer to know their loved one is close at hand. When a husband or wife passes away, they frequently choose this option if they want their ashes to be combined when they pass.
- Jewelry – Either a small amount of ashes can be placed inside of the cremation jewelry or the cremated remains can be turned into a stone and set within jewelry.