What is cremation and how will it affect my final wishes?
Cremation is the reduction of human remains by direct flame. The process is done in the cremation chamber, also referred to as a retort. Once completed, the remaining bone fragments are reduced in size and placed in a temporary container for transportation or an urn. The selection of cremation as a step toward final disposition would not effect funeral wishes, as cremation can be done at several points in the funeral process. In our area approximately 35% of the families we serve choose cremation as the disposition of choice.
Can I still have a funeral service with the body present if I choose cremation?
It is important to remember that cremation is simply a step towards final disposition. All services, including embalming, casket selection; viewing and funeral service are available, even if cremation is chosen. Burial of cremated remains in an urn and an urn vault is often chosen as final disposition.
If my family wants an immediate cremation, can we have a service afterwards?
Yes. An immediate cremation takes place 24 hours after a death. No embalming, viewing, or service takes place prior to the cremation process. Many people who select this type of cremation usually have a memorial service with the cremated remains present for the service. The cremated remains are often place in an urn. Memorial services can be held at the funeral home, church, family home, or cemetery chapel.
Following cremation, what can be done with the cremation ashes?
Many people ask us about proper disposition of the cremation ashes. Actually, the options are very broad and our licensed staff can help the family with the choice best suited for its needs:
Burial of the cremation ashes in a family cemetery plot. This readily allows for appropriate memorialization on a new or existing monument or marker.
Burial of the ashes at a National Cemetery, if the deceased or his/her spouse is a veteran.
Burial of the cremation ashes at a later date in the casket of the spouse who chooses earth burial as opposed to cremation.
Placing the cremation ashes in a public mausoleum niche or columbarium at a cemetery offering this option. As an alternative to the impersonal feeling of community mausoleums a private niche or columbarium can be constructed from a granite monument or bench creating a permanent individual or family cremation memorial.
Placing the cremation ashes in a suitable and appropriately inscribed urn, to be kept by the family in a place of honor in the home.
Scattering or burial of the cremation ashes at sea.
Private burial or scattering of the ashes on private property, perhaps in a garden or other suitable place.
Temporary holding of the cremation ashes until a final decision or opportunity is decided upon.
Return of the cremation ashes to the country of birth for final burial.
Nearly all these options allow for ceremony and memorialization -- something which most families find important as they seek closure and further opportunity for remembering a life that was lived. Our staff of licensed funeral directors can be very helpful to a family as they consider these other options.
If I choose cremation, must I purchase a casket?
With cremation, the purchase of a casket will depend largely on what services you want performed. Families having services such as a visitation period, funeral mass or other service in church, or other opportunity for family and friends to gather will select a casket. We have a broad range of caskets which begins at $900. Other families may prefer cremation without any visitation period, church service or other family or public gathering and, in these circumstances, they have the option of cremation with the use of a simple "alternative container" in place of a casket.
Really, the choice is yours, and regardless of your choice, you can depend on us for a professional approach, services that you desire, and that are conducted in good taste. If you have a question or concern, feel free to call us. Our licensed staff is known for the ability to give knowledgeable answers that you can depend on.
Is embalming required prior to cremation?
Absolutely not and it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise. The only time embalming is legally required is if the family chooses a public service prior to cremation.
Can an urn be brought into church?
Nearly all Protestant Churches allow for the urn to be present during the memorial service. The Diocese of Scranton, which has jurisdiction over all Catholic Churches in Northeastern Pennsylvania, also allows the cremated remains to be present during the Memorial Mass. In fact, if the family is planning on a memorial service, we encourage the cremated remains be present as it provides a focal point for the service.
Do people choose cremation only to save money?
While some people select cremation for economy, many choose this option for other reasons. The simplicity and dignity of cremation, environmental concerns, and the flexibility cremation affords in ceremony planning and final disposition all add to its increasing popularity.
Do I need an urn?
An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or the remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not purchased through us, or provided by the family, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary cardboard container.
How long does the actual cremation take?
It depends on the weight of the individual. For an average size adult, cremation takes from two to three hours at normal operating temperature between 1,500 degrees F to 2,000 degrees F.
What happens after the cremation is complete?
All organic bone fragments, which are very brittle, as well as non-consumed metal items are "swept" into the back of the the cremation chamber and into a stainless steel cooling pan. All non-consumed items, like metal from clothing, hip joints, and bridge work, are separated from the cremated remains. This separation is accomplished through visual inspection as well as using a strong magnet for smaller and minute metallic objects. Items such as dental gold and silver are non-recoverable and are commingled in with the cremated remains. Remaining bone fragments are then processed in a machine to a consistent size and placed into a temporary or permanent urn, selected by the family.
Can two cremations be performed at once?
Never. Not only is it illegal to do so, most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult. Thus it would be a practical impossibility to conduct multiple cremations simultaneously.
What do the cremated remains look like?
Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average size adult usually weigh between four to six pounds.
Are all the cremated remains returned?
With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.
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