There are many questions surrounding cremation. One is how are cremation services different from burial services? They're not necessarily. Services with cremation are the same as with earth burial, unless you prefer something different. You can have viewing and visitation arrangements, with an open or closed casket, or no casket at all, for as long or as short a period as you wish. Whatever you choose, casket and burial or cremation, family and friends need time to grieve and to say good-bye. This is the reason for funeral services, to support the living through the pain and loneliness of loss to acceptance and resolution.
Below you can find other valuable information we suggest and recommendations from CANA (Cremation Association of North America) to help answer other questions you may have.
When selecting cremation as a form of disposition, make sure you select a reputable firm:
Ask your friends and others in your community what they know about the firm.
Seek advice from your clergy regarding your choice.
DO NOT choose a firm based solely on price.
Determine the type of services you would like. The type of service you request will be the determining factor in what the cost will be, such as:
Cremation with visitation and embalming
Memorial service with or without the cremated remains present
Traditional church service
Direct cremation with no service, viewing or visitation
In choosing a firm, CANA recommends you ask the following questions regarding policies and procedures for proper cremation practices:
Do they have their own crematory or do they work with a cremation firm? If the latter, which crematory do they use? Who owns the crematory facility and how often is it inspected? Are licenses and permits current? Does the crematory have refrigeration? How long does the crematory hold the body prior to cremation? Does the crematory have liability insurance? Does the crematory facility allow witnessing by family members?
Before cremation occurs, a body must be in a rigid container, which can be a casket or an alternative container. This casket or alternative container will be consumed during thecremation process.
Cremation is the process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using extreme heat (1600 to 2000 degrees F) and evaporation. The cremated remains are reduced to an unidentifiable consistency, about the texture of coarse sand, through a process called pulverization, and usually weighs between 6 and8pounds. Cremated remains, or cremains, arethen placed into an urn, usually about the size of a shoebox.
Final disposition of cremated remains may include just about anything the family selects, including:
- Burial in a cemetery
- Keeping them at home, perhaps until final disposition with another future cremation
- A niche at a columbarium (a portion of a cemetery designated for above-ground interment of cremated remains)
- Scattering, although this should be considered carefully, as a place of memorialization may be lost
- Divided, with a portion scattered, a portion buried, and other portions divided among family members
- Or any combination
It is recommended that when you are arranging for a cremation, it be done prior to immediate need. This gives you the benefit of making arrangements without the pressure of time. The first thing you need to do is put your wishes in writing. In many states, you cannot authorize your own cremation and therefore the next of kin(s) must be in agreement if a cremation is to take place; however Texas does allow a person to preplan their own cremation according to Texas Health and Safety Code 711.002.
If your wishes are not done prior to death, Texas Health and Safety Code 711.002 states the following as right to control the disposition of a decedent's remains in this order: (1) the person designated in a legal written instrument signed bythe decedent; (2) the decedent's surviving spouse; (3) any one of the decedent's surviving adult children; (4) either one of the decedent's surviving parents: (5) any one of the decedent's surviving adult siblings; or (6) any adult person in the next degree of kinship in the order named by law to inherit the estate ofthe decedent. However, it is the policy of our company that all proper signatures be retained from the appropriate next of kin.
When choosing a cremation provider, here are some questions to ask:
- Are they a member of the Cremation Association of North America? If not, do they adhere to a code of cremation ethics listed below?
- Do they perform their own cremations? If so, can you tour the cremation facility? If not, who does the cremations for them and where are they located?
- Can the cremation be witnessed by a family member or designated individual?
- What is the average time between receiving the deceasedand the completion of the cremation?
- Do they have refrigeration facilities to hold the body prior to cremation?
- What is the procedure to track the body through the cremation process and verify the identity of the cremated remains following cremation?
- How are the cremated remains returned if an urn is not provided prior to cremation? What is the policy regarding holding of the cremated remains after the cremation iscompleted?
- What is their policy in regards to disposing of prosthetics, artificial hips, knees, etc.