The basics of cremations services will help you as you start to preplan your own funeral or as you plan the funeral of a loved one who has died.
Cremation is a process in which very high heat and evaporation are used to reduce a body to its basic composition (bones). The body is fully dressed and put into a combustible container. This container is placed into the crematory where cremation takes place.
Cremation typically takes two to three hours to complete. When the bone fragments that are left have cooled down, they are finally ground up and put into the urn you’ve chosen or a cremation container if you haven’t yet chosen an urn.
The urn or cremation container is returned to you (if your loved one was cremated) or to your family (if you plan to be cremated).
Cremations services are now outpacing burials in the United States. One reason for this is that many graveyards and cemeteries across the country, especially in densely populated areas, are simply running out of room for burials.
Another reason why cremations services are more popular is that there are many options for using cremation remains, and a portion of them can still be buried in a small cemetery plot or stored in a permanent place (known as a columbarium) for family and friends to visit.
You may not be aware that you can have a funeral service if you plan to be or your loved one is being cremated. A funeral service is always held before final disposition of the body, but you have the option to decide whether you or your loved one (depending on who cremations services are being planned for) is at the service.
You can also hold a remembrance service after cremations services. This option gives you the time to plan and make arrangements for any type of service you choose to have.
Some people hold memorial services, which are like funeral services, but tend to not be as formal and structured as funeral services. Other people hold celebrations of life, which make the life of the deceased the focus of the service, instead of their death.
With cremations services, you have many options for using cremation remains. Some of them can be placed in an urn that can be either stored at home or stored permanently in a columbarium.
A columbarium is a structure that is filled with niches where urns of loved ones are stored. Each niche is sealed after the urn is placed inside and either a plaque or a small grave marker is placed there.
You can also have an urn buried in a cemetery plot. Your funeral director will ensure that you get an outdoor urn and an urn vault for burial. This option is preferred when a spouse or other loved one who died years earlier was buried because it ensures that they can be together in death.
A portion of cremation remains can also be scattered. Usually, scattering occurs in a place that has significance (family home, marriage proposal, etc.) or that the deceased specified.
Memorial jewelry, which contains a small amount of cremation remains, is another option. Memorial jewelry is wearable jewelry, so when it is worn, the deceased is close by. This can be very comforting for some people.
Cremations services are full of variations that you and your funeral director can discuss. Your funeral director can give you guidance and advice on how cremations services can be uniquely customized to meet your exact needs.