Cremation is the second most common form of disposition in the United States . The percentage of cremations to deaths in the United States and Canada has increased steadily during the last two decades. In other countries, such as England and Japan , cremation is the most common form of disposition.
The deceased body is exposed to open flame, intense heat and evaporation, reducing it to bone fragments in two to three hours. There are several options for containing the remains.
Many states require a two day waiting period between the time of death and cremation. The waiting period provides the time necessary for your funeral director to file for required permits and receive proper authorizations. Families frustrated by the delay should try to remember that a person’s identity or cause of death can be lost forever without great attention to these matters prior to cremation.
Cremation is selected for many reasons ranging from religious beliefs or ethnic customs to cost. Most families electing cremation are believed to do so simply because of personal preference.
Crematories generally require containment of the body in an appropriate casket or other acceptably rigid container. Your funeral director can explain the specific requirements of crematories in your area. The containerized body is not removed or disturbed after it arrives at the crematory, and is placed in a furnace or retort. The cremation process exposes the body to open flame, intense heat and evaporation, reducing it to bone fragments in two to three hours.
Depending upon arrangements made by the family, cremated remains are placed in a temporary container for transport or in a more permanent container such as an urn, and returned to the funeral director or a family member.
There are a variety of options for the final disposition of cremated remains. Urns or other containers may be placed in a niche at a columbarium, a structure or room designed to contain cremated remains. Families may elect to bury the urn in a family plot or cemetery or keep it in another place of personal significance, such as the home.
Subject to some restrictions, cremated remains can be scattered by air, over the ground, or over water. Some cemeteries provide areas for scattering and may provide a space where families can place a commemorative plaque or other memorial. We can advise you about allowable practices for your community.
Regardless of the disposition option selected for the cremated remains, families should choose one that best fits their emotional needs.