No matter how you choose to memorialize a loved one after their passing, it is a decision that carries great emotional sentiment. While the more traditional method of memorializing a loved one through a burial can seem like a much more straightforward process, the process of cremation can feel mysterious, foreign, and even scary in comparison. Choosing cremation to pay homage to your loved one carries many benefits such as lower cost, more personalization options after in regard to your being able to scatter the remains in various locations, and it is even a more eco-conscious choice for the environment. You may find that cremation is the best choice for you to pay tribute to your loved one and to honor their life and legacy in a meaningful way.
If you are arranging a loved one’s funeral, and are curious about cremation, we have assembled a basic guide to the process, so you are best prepared and know what to expect.
Cremation is the process of transforming a person’s remains through intense heat, flames, and evaporation into “ashes.” While most people think of these ashes as resembling that of fireplace ashes, cremated remains are more complex in composition, containing tiny fragments of bone as well.
Before the cremations process can commence, the identity of the deceased must first be confirmed. This is usually done by a family member. After the body is confirmed, the deceased will then be verified with a medal ID tag which will stay with the body throughout the process and will be used for final verification after the cremation process is completed. Please note that identification regulations will vary depending on your state and the facility you use.
Before the cremation can begin, the crematory will need to gain authorization to begin the process. This will usually involve completing different kinds of paperwork, asking for information such as who will pick up the remains, the type of container the remains should be stored in, etc. Again, remember these regulations may vary depending on your state.
When the body is collected by the crematorium, it will be stored in a cool, temperature-controlled room prior to the process. There may or may not be an embalming, depending on whether or not it was requested by the family, or if they are holding a public viewing. Prior to cremation, the body will be bathed and dressed in clothing chosen by the family.
While the body can be cremated with personal items, typically before the cremations process begins, you will choose what jewelry and other personal items you wish to remove or would like to be cremated with the remains. It is recommended that you remove and keep jewelry pieces that hold sentimental value. It will be advised that items like watches and mobile devices are removed as their batteries can explode in the cremator. You can also keep cards, letters, and photographs in the coffin to be cremated with the body.
Once the family has decided how their loved one’s body will be dressed, which items will be cremated with the body and which will be kept by the family, the body is moved into the cremation chamber. There the body will be broken down into its cremated remains through exposure to intense heat, along with the coffin. After cremation, the remains are finalized into their ultimate state, with any metal fragments removed and bone fragments reduced into a fine white powder. Finally, the ashes will be placed in a standard urn or one of the family’s choosing and will be ready to be picked up by the family.
The process will take approximately one and a half to three hours and you will be able to pick up your loved one’s remains around two to three days after the cremation service.
If you are preparing arrangements for a loved one’s passing and are considering cremation as your method of choice for memorializing them, Cremations.com offers the largest, most comprehensive directory of its kind, so you can easily find the best cremations operator in your area to perform your service. Visit cremations.com to learn more.