Questions About Cremation

The following are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about cremation.

 

What is Cremation?

Cremation is a process to prepare a deceased human person for final disposition by reducing them to bone fragments and skeletal particles through intense heat and flame. Cremation is a two-step process. After this first step has taken place, a person’s remains, mainly bone fragments and skeletal particles, are gathered and these remains are placed in a processor, creating a uniform powder-like texture. Due to the irreversible nature of cremation, most states require a waiting period before the actual process may begin. In Texas, at least 48 hours must pass before cremation may be authorized.

Is a Casket Required?

No. For sanitary reasons, ease of placement, respect and dignity, many crematories require that the deceased be cremated in a combustible, leak proof, rigid, covered container. This does not need to be a casket as such. Cremation Caskets and containers are available in a wide variety of materials ranging from a simple cardboard container to solid wood cremation caskets in a variety of species. These are designed with little or no metal and facilitate the cremation process while meeting the needs of survivors.

Are there special cremation caskets?

There is a choice of affordable cremation caskets that are designed to be combustible. Cremation Caskets and containers are available in a wide variety of materials ranging from a simple cardboard container to solid wood cremation caskets in a variety of species. These are designed with little or no metal and facilitate the cremation process while meeting the needs of survivors.

Can a casket be rented instead of purchased when choosing cremation?

Many funeral homes offer a hardwood ceremonial casket for viewing or ceremonies prior to cremation. The ceremonial (or rental) casket is specifically designed to provide an aesthetically pleasing, affordable, and environmentally prudent alternative to purchasing a casket for ceremonies, which include cremation. The interior of these caskets is completely replaceable and designed for replacement between uses.

What is the Purpose of a Cremation Container?

A cremation container holds a person with dignity and respect while in our custody and is designed for the viewing of a deceased loved one. A container will also allow for ease of transport and proper placement into the cremation chamber, also with dignity and respect. A cremation container also facilitates the cremation process and allows for safe handling of an individual for our associates while in our care. A proper cremation container prevents leakage of bodily fluid. Finally, the cremation container will be used during the identification process. Because we have standards to facilitate dignity and respect, we require a cremation container.

What is the Purpose of an Urn?

An urn is a specialized container to hold a person’s cremated remains. It will keep a person’s cremated remains together and protects the integrity of the cremated remains. An urn should be unbreakable, especially if dropped. Urns can be used for the following manners of final disposition: Interment, Entombment, Scattering, or Keepsake/Memorialization.

Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?

No, cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the bodies final disposition and often follows a traditional funeral service.

Can I bring my own urn?

Yes. It would be advisable that you discuss this situation with your cremation provider prior to the cremation. The size of the urn will be of great importance if you plan to have your loved one’s entire cremated body included in the container. An urn is a specialized container designed to hold a person’s cremated remains with dignity and respect, and to keep them together to protect the integrity of the cremated remains. The container should not be breakable if dropped, and should be able to be sealed or fastened in some manner.

Are cremations done individually?

Yes. Laws require that only one person (placed in a casket or container) be cremated at a time.

Is embalming necessary for cremation?

No. It is your choice. It may depend on such factors as whether ceremonies selected include a public viewing with an open casket, or to enhance the “memory picture” appearance of the deceased for a private family time of goodbye; if a person is going to be transported by air or rail, or because of the length of time prior to cremation.

If a loved one dies out of state, can you still help?

Yes, we can assist you with out-of-state arrangements, either to transfer the remains to another state or from another state.

When after a death can cremation take place?

Because cremation is an irreversible process and because the process itself will eliminate any ability to determine exact cause of death, many states require that the coroner or medical examiner authorize each cremation. Some states have specific minimum time limits that must elapse before cremation may take place. In Texas, 48 hours must pass, plus all authorizations must be obtained prior to cremation.

Why is refrigeration of the remains necessary?

Due to the irreversible nature of cremation, most states require a waiting period before the actual process may begin. Refrigeration is the only alternative available, other than embalming, that will retard tissue decomposition. Refrigeration is a necessity that protects family and friends, the crematory operator and the general public from potential health hazards.

Do I have to make different funeral arrangements if I chose cremation?

It really depends entirely on how you wish to commemorate a life. One of the advantages of cremation is that it provides you with increased flexibility when you make your other ceremonial arrangements. You might, for example, have a funeral ceremony prior to cremation, a memorial service at the time of cremation or after the cremation with an urn present; or a committal service at the final disposition of the cremated remains. Funeral or memorial ceremonies can be held in a place of worship, a funeral home, or other desired location.

Can we have the ceremony before or after cremation?

This is a matter of family preference. Cremation can be arranged at a time to facilitate the meeting of the needs of all surviving family members.

Can I attend the cremation?

Yes. You may attend the cremation. While the actual process of cremation is not witnessed, the placement of the individual into the cremation chamber is viewed and any ceremonies desired can be held.

What can be done with the cremated remains?

With cremation, your options are numerous. The cremated remains can be interred in a cemetery plot, retained by a family member, scattered on private property or at a location that was significant to the deceased. It is advisable to check all regulations regarding scattering. Cremation is just one step in the commemorative process-the preparation of the human remains for memorialization.

Why is having a place to visit so important?

Because it provides a focal point for memorializing the deceased. To remember, and be remembered, are natural human needs. Throughout human history, memorialization of the dead has been a key component of almost every culture. Psychologists say that remembrance practices serve an important emotional function for survivors to help begin the healing process.

Can I take the cremated remains home?

Yes. The remains are normally placed in an urn. Most families select an urn that is suitable for placement in a selected area of the home (to serve as a memorial area for remembering). Urns are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials

Do all religions permit cremation?

Some religions prefer cremation; some do not recommend the practice; most permit you to choose. Should you have any questions or concerns, we will research the matter for you in a private manner.