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Cremation: It’s all About The Options

April 1, 2019

Cremation has become an increasingly popular method of disposition. The cremation experts at Keohane will answer all your questions about cremation and help you create the type of ceremony that is right for you and your family.

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The choice of cremation is only a starting point for honoring a loved one in a way that pays tribute and gives comfort. Our funeral directors are cremation experts who are committed to helping you find the most effective solutions for your needs. Experts agree that some sort of formal ceremony is important to the healing process, and families who choose cremation as the method of disposition have almost unlimited options for creating unique and personalized services to honor the memory of their loved one.

The choice of cremation is only a starting point for honoring a loved one in a way that pays tribute and gives comfort. Our funeral directors are cremation experts who are committed to helping you find the most effective solutions for your needs. Experts agree that some sort of formal ceremony is important to the healing process, and families who choose cremation as the method of disposition have almost unlimited options for creating unique and personalized services to honor the memory of their loved one.

What is Cremation?

Cremation is simply a means of disposition. Through it, the person who has died is reduced to bone fragments using intense heat.

Many cultures have traditionally chosen cremation, and it has become increasingly prevalent in the United States. Just like burial, cremation offers the flexibility to choose the ceremonies that are right for you, including funeral services, visitation, and memorializing the person who has died These ceremonies can be held before or after the cremation process.

What Are the Ceremony Options Before Cremation?

Honoring the memory of a loved one and fulfilling the needs of the family are always the most important considerations when determining what to do when a loved one dies. Families who choose cremation have a variety of options to chose from.
Most families choose open casket visitation followed by a ceremony in our funeral home or in a church or other location. Those who do have the option of purchasing a casket suitable for cremation or purchasing the use of a ceremonial casket.
Almost every wood casket is appropriate for cremation. This gives families many options to choose from – different types of wood, various detail designs, interior materials and exterior colors. When a family chooses to purchase a casket, the deceased is cremated in it.
Alternatively, families also have the option of purchasing the use of a ceremonial casket. A ceremonial casket is one specially designed for reuse. To maintain public health and satisfy crematory requirements, the deceased is placed into a container inserted into the casket shell. Following the ceremonies, the deceased is transferred from the casket to the crematory and then the casket shell is cleaned for future use.

What Are the Ceremony Options After Cremation?

Many of the families we care for choose to have ceremonies after cremation has taken place. Often, they choose the same type of ceremonies usually chosen prior to cremation – visitation and a funeral service – yet the deceased is present in an urn rather than a casket.

In addition, some families choose to take advantage of the greater flexibility offered by cremation and select other options. They may have a memorial service where the deceased is not present at all. They may have a ceremony at the cemetery or the crematory only. Some may even blend an open casket visitation with a memorial service on a different day.

Many people are surprised to learn that they have all of these options when selecting cremation. Our cremation experts work closely with families to help them find the solution that works best and often rely on their experience and creativity to design something that may be totally different form anything done previously.

Where Does One Go After Being Cremated?

Cremation is a form of immediate disposition that requires thought as to a method of final disposition. There are many options for honoring a loved one who has been cremated that both pay tribute and give comfort. Most families find it important to create a lasting memorial and our expert directors will help you choose whether earth burial or columbarium inurnment is right for you, or if another option would be more appropriate.

Other families feel differently. Cremated persons can be shared among family members, turned into jewelry, stored in keepsakes and more. Some families will choose to have a scattering ceremony at a location that was meaningful to the deceased or the family. Still others may choose to bury a significant portion of the deceased and have a permanent memorial but retain smaller portions for scattering or keepsakes. The options for final disposition are only limited by your imagination.

What is the Purpose of an Urn?

An urn is a permanent container to house a person who has been cremated.

When we think of the things that are important to us, we often house them in special containers or places. Our important documents are kept in safes. Our pictures are displayed in frames. We keep jewelry in jewelry boxes. Similarly, most families choose to offer that level of care to a loved one who has been cremated by placing them in a urn.
Urns come in all shapes, sizes and uses. Some urns are made from durable materials like wood, metal or stone and others are made of lighter materials like glass or biodegradable fibers. Some will accommodate the entire person who has been cremated and others only a portion. Whether choosing final disposition in the form of scattering, earth burial, display in prominent location or placement in a columbarium, there are many options to consider. Our funeral directors can help you choose an urn that best fits your wishes and needs.

What is an Urn Vault?

An urn vault is an outer burial container used for a person who has been cremated. Since families are now more frequently using existing burial space for the burial of people in urns, many cemeteries are requiring the use of an urn vault to protect the deceased in the urn and help maintain the appearance of the cemetery landscape. Families like the concept of providing additional protection for the deceased to ensure that they will not be displaced during future grave openings and that there will not be significant settling of the earth which can be both a safety and aesthetic concern.

What Are the Options for Scattering?

Final disposition may take the form of scattering the deceased on land or water. While there are certain rules and requirements around scattering, there are also many options.

Scattering someone on land is limited by property ownership. For example, as one might imagine, there are a good number of people who may wish to scatter someone at Walt Disney World yet this is not allowed. In fact, Disney has a response system in place to be sure that the cremated person is removed from the park. Certainly, scattering in one’s own yard or that of another with permission is acceptable but families may feel differently about the experience when the property is sold.

To avoid this, some families choose to use a scattering garden, a beautifully landscaped area in a cemetery which provides a resting place for those who wish to be cremated but for whom loved ones still want a peaceful setting to visit. Many scattering gardens provide a wall or scroll to memorialize those who have been scattered there.

Scattering on the ocean or on lakes or ponds are popular choices as well. Ocean scattering is governed by Coast Guard rules which state that the scattering must take place three miles from shore. Fresh water scattering is allowed on private land but is restricted on public waterways such as those managed by the state. Our funeral directors are very familiar with the regulations for scattering on water and can help guide you.

The most important thing one should know about cremation is that it provides many more ceremony and disposition options than burial. In fact, many people are surprised and confused by all that cremation offers.

If you have questions and concerns about cremation, our highly trained and dedicated team can answer your questions and concerns. Please call us at 1-800-KEOHANE to find out which of the many options available are right for your family.

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