Cremations services begin the moment a loved one dies. After medical professionals at the hospital or in hospice services officially pronounce that a loved one is deceased, the next step is to contact the funeral home to transport the body. Most commonly, a family member does this, but sometimes, if family members are too upset, the hospital or hospice nurse will make the phone call.
If the deceased preplanned their cremation with the funeral home, family will likely know that and whether the cremation is direct (the body is transported directly to the crematorium) or indirect (a visitation and/or funeral service will be held before the deceased is cremated). If no plans were made and the family doesn’t know what they want to do, the funeral home will set up an appointment to meet with the family (usually within a day or two of death) and transport the deceased to the funeral home, where the body will be held in cold storage until a decision has been made about funeral arrangements.
Once the family meets with the funeral home and chooses cremation as their final disposition method, the funeral home will guide them through the options available for services, the cremation process itself, and how the cremation remains are handled.
In the background of the funeral planning process, the funeral home will also take care of the legal paperwork, including death certificates (the family should order at least 20 copies, because they’ll need them to wrap up the deceased’s affairs, including collecting life insurance and having access to financial assets to pay off any outstanding debts), cremation permits, and disposition permits.
If a visitation is planned, the funeral home will offer the family options for laying out the deceased for viewing and will take care of all the setup required to hold the visitation, including providing a registry book for guests who come to pay their respects to sign (if a funeral service is being held, this book will be used for those guests as well). The funeral director will talk about what kind of service the family wants and will take care of setting it up. If the family wants the funeral recorded, the funeral home will provide that as well.
Once the funeral service is over, the funeral home will transport the deceased to the crematorium. There, a rigorous process of identifying the deceased is executed to ensure that the cremation remains (cremains) the family gets are those of their loved one. The body will be identified through a current photo or by a family member. Then it is tagged with a non-combustible tag that will stay with the body throughout the cremation process.
Jewelry, glasses, hearing aids, artificial joints, and electronic implants, such as pacemakers, are removed before cremation (the family can donate all of these to organizations that refurbish them for people who don’t have the financial resources to pay for them). Jewelry will be returned to the family.
After the cremation is complete, the remains – which are only bone fragments – are pulverized into a sand consistency and are returned to the family in a temporary container or an urn, if the family purchased one.
If no funeral service was held, and a memorial service is planned instead, the funeral home will help set up everything the family needs for the memorial service if it will be held at the funeral home.
For more information on the cremations services we offer, you can talk with our compassionate and experienced team at Hopler & Eschbach Funeral Home. You can visit our funeral home at 483 Chenango St., Binghamton, NY 13901, or you can call us today at (607) 722-4023.