Most people aren’t cremation experts. In fact, few folks even give the topic much thought until either a loved one passes away, or they themselves are faced with end-of-life decisions. But when those instances inevitably arise, so do a number of legitimate questions. If you’re currently grappling with some of these questions, below are the answers to some of those most commonly asked.
How is the body prepared for cremation?
Typically the body will be bathed, cleaned and properly dressed prior to identification. If there is to be a public viewing, the body will also be embalmed. In the absence of a viewing, this step is generally not necessary. In preparation of cremation, jewelry and any other items that are to be kept are then removed. Any mechanical or battery operated medical devices or prosthetics are also removed prior to cremation. The crematory may assess a fee for proper disposal of these devices, so be prepared.
Where and how is the body cremated?
Cremation occurs in what’s known as a cremation chamber (also sometimes called a retort). This is basically a fancy name for an industrial sized furnace that is large enough to hold a human body. The chamber is lined with flame-resistant bricks that are capable of withstanding temperatures up to 2,000 degrees. Modern cremation chambers are automated and computerized, and utilize environmentally-friendly fuel sources, like natural gas, propane or diesel.
How can I be sure the cremated remains are those of my loved one?
To ensure integrity of the process, reputable crematories operate under a very strict set of guidelines. First, they must obtain permission, in writing, to handle the cremation. Actual identification regulations vary, depending on the state. Generally speaking, however, a family member will confirm the identity and some type of metal ID tag is then placed on the body. That tag will remain with the body throughout the entire cremation process.
Does the body go through the cremation chamber as-is?
Most crematories require that the body be placed either in a casket that’s specially designed for cremation or a sturdy cardboard container. If you choose the latter, keep in mind that the container used must be combustible and sturdy enough to hold the body. A funeral home representative, mortician or crematory worker should be able to assist you in getting this part taken care of.
What happens to the remains immediately following cremation?
Contrary to popular belief, the cremation process isn’t completed inside the chamber. Because the remains found in the chamber directly following cremation contain bone fragments, they must then be ground down further. Once this second step is followed, what’s left are the “cremains” or ashes that will be returned to the family.
What should I do with the cremated remains once I receive them?
The answer to this question depends on personal preference. Some people choose to scatter the ashes while others decide to bury them. Still others prefer to keep the ashes with them in a decorative urn. You can even have a portion of your loved one’s cremains turned into a piece of remembrance art or jewelry. If this is something that interests you, please feel free to browse our extensive collection. You’re sure to find the perfect memorial piece to honor your lost loved one and always keep them close to your heart.