Cremation – A Matter of Choices

Cremation is the form of final disposition that involves the process of reducing the body to bone fragments through the application of intense heat. For those who choose cremation it is important to remember that cremation does not limit the funeral in any way. In fact it provides more options than other types of disposition.

When choosing cremation there are four decisions that need be made; the type of service, the type of container, the type of urn and the type of final disposition for the cremated remains.

Type of Service

Cremation can occur before or after a traditional religious funeral service. A memorial service can be held in the funeral home or church. The urn may or may not be present. Visitation commonly precedes any service and typically is held in the funeral home.

Type of Container

In most states the body must be enclosed in some type of container when delivered to the crematory. The choices include cremation caskets or an alternative container. Cremation caskets are most commonly constructed of solid hardwoods, hardwood veneers and fiberboard. An alternative container is made of cardboard and includes a leak-proof type liner.

Type of Urn

Cremated remains are usually placed in some type of permanent receptacle, referred to as an urn, before being committed to a final resting place. The urn represents an opportunity to commemorate the life of your loved one. Any urn can be personalized with name, dates of birth and death and a personalized design of your choosing. Urn construction styles include hardwood, bronze and pewter metal, marble, glass, ceramic and plastic. The type of final disposition of the cremated remains may dictate the type of urn you select. Some urns are designed for burial, some for scattering and others for retention. Select urns can accommodate any type of disposition.

Type of Final Disposition

Most common, is the interment of cremated remains, which usually occurs, in a family burial plot. This provides for a permanent memorial site; allowing future generations a “remembering place”.

Cremated remains also may be scattered. Most cemeteries permit scattering on a purchased grave space or may have a scattering garden especially created and dedicated for this purpose. Scattering of remains also may be done at a designated geographical spot on land or water. However, this must be done in direct accordance with federal, state or local laws. If such a location is chosen, we recommend that a site be chosen for a permanent memorial that accommodates a place of “pilgrimage” for those who want to remember and celebrate the life of their loved one.

Another alternative, if available, is above ground entombment. This involves the placement of the urn in an indoor or outdoor mausoleum or columbarium niche. A niche includes the inscription of the name of the deceased and date of birth and death.

Contrary to what most people believe, permanent possession also known as retention is the least often selected method of disposition. However, many families today desire to retain a small portion of their loved one’s cremated remains. This can most practically and meaningfully be accomplished by use of one of our keepsake/memento urns.

In summary, your decisions regarding cremation are uniquely yours. No decision should ever be considered wrong. What we hold important is that you and your family are pleased with your decisions.