More people are choosing cremation today than ever before, and cremation rates in 2017 surpassed burial rates for the first time in history. Though cremation is a common choice, the process can still be relatively unfamiliar for most families. Here’s what you need to know about what’s involved in this increasingly popular funeral service.
1. Know Your Options for a Memorial Service
Depending on preferences, there are several memorial service options available, even when cremating. For example, if it is important to have a viewing with the body present, a casket can be temporarily rented, and the cremation is performed after the service. For others, it is common to simply present the urn for viewing alongside a photo of the deceased. However you choose to honor the individual, cremation offers flexibility in planning around memorials.
2. Understand the Cremation Process
The actual process of cremating a body is both simple and efficient. First, a container with the remains goes into a cremation chamber, called a “retort”, which is lined with fire-resistant bricks. The entire cremation chamber is designed to withstand extremely high temperatures, as the range for cremation is typically between 1,800 and 2,000 degrees. At these temperatures, the entire process can take between just one and a half and two hours.
3. Receive the Remains
Once the cremation is complete, the ashes go through one final stage of processing. Then, a funeral home will place the remains, often referred to as “ashes”, in a simple urn, unless the family has already provided a preferred urn, and returns those remains to the family.
4. Scatter the Ashes
Last, the family has the option of scattering the ashes according to the decedent’s wishes (and state/federal regulations). Some choose to hold onto the remains, keeping them in an urn to commemorate their loved one’s memory, while others choose to take the remains to a place of emotional significance to the decedent. There’s no right or wrong way to handle the ashes upon receiving them – it’s up to the surviving family and the final wishes of the deceased.
5. Consider the Cost
As far as final preparations go, cremation is generally more cost-effective than burial. Many people do not want to burden their loved ones with unnecessary expenses or extensive planning following death, and cremation provides a good alternative. Depending on the state in which you live and the options you choose, the final cost of cremation can be as inexpensive as $650. Typically, a person will factor cost into their final decision regarding end-of-life expenses and may wish to leave more of the estate available to his or her heirs.
Cremation has been around for thousands of years, and has seen a resurgence in popularity in the modern funeral industry. Advancements in technology make it a convenient, affordable option for taking care of a loved one’s remains after death.