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What is cremation?

The Process of Cremation

Cremation occurs when the body is reduced to bone fragments using intense heat. The body is placed in a casket and, through the application of high heat for a period of approximately 2 hours, the casket and the body is reduced to ashes and tiny bone fragments. The ashes typically weigh 3-7 pounds depending on the size of the adult. The ashes and bone fragments are then filtered of foreign materials such as casket hinges and then the ashes or 'cremains' are placed into a temporary container until an urn or other permanent resting place has been chosen.

Preparing the Body for Cremation

In most states, a medical examiner must examine the body and authorize the cremation. Once the cremation has been authorized, any medical devices that have been surgically established in the body must be removed and any personal effects are removed. If there is a piece of jewelry or other personal effect that the family would like buried with the cremains, this should be done after the cremation process and not before. Embalming is not a requirement of the cremation process unless there is a public funeral. In this case, where the body is going to be on display, embalming is necessary.

Cremation does not limit your choices for ceremonies and services but rather makes more options available to you. There may be a visitation or viewing with the casketed body present before the funeral. If a service is held after the cremation, the urn or final resting place of the loved one can be prominently displayed. Most funeral homes will accommodate and tailor the service and ceremony to the wishes of the family. Regardless of the ceremony or service, it allows family members and friends an opportunity to honor their loved one and share their memories.

Disposition of the Cremated Body

There are many options for disposition of the cremains. The cremains can be buried or entombed. The cremains can be taken home and displayed in an urn. The cremains can be scattered at a special spot that holds memories of your loved one. Most often, though, it is a combination of the above. Keepsake urns allow you to hold onto some of the cremains and/or share them with other family members and still have additional options. Establishing a permanent memorial will help serve as a focal point for your loved one and will aid in the grief process.

View our Cremation Urns.