Learn more about Cremation Help with our Frequently Asked Questions section.
How long must we wait after their death before we can cremate a family member?
Unlike burial, cremation is irreversible. This requires us to be “extra diligent” in obtaining cremation authorization from the legally identified next-of-kin, as well as those from any necessary agencies (such as the medical examiner). During these 48-72 hours (depending on state mandated requirements); the deceased will be held in a secure, refrigerated environment.
Can I participate in the cremation?
The answer to this question is dependent on the specific crematory responsible for the care of your loved one, but generally speaking, the answer to this question is “yes”. The degree to which you can participate may differ from crematory to crematory (depending on their facilities); please speak with your funeral director if this is an issue for you, or another family member.
Can I purchase an urn from another source, or must I buy one from you?
The FTC’s Funeral Rule guides funeral directors in the ethical and fair presentation of funeral service options. The purchase of a cremation urn (or a casket, for that matter) from a second or third party sources is one of the rights it guarantees. Your funeral director cannot prevent you from, nor can they charge you an extra fee for, the purchase of a third-party cremation urn. And they cannot demand you are present for its delivery to the funeral home.
What should I do with my loved one's ashes?
Again, as we’ve said elsewhere, the word “should” need not be part of our conversation. There are many things you can do with their ashes–including simply taking them home with you for safekeeping. There may come a time when you know exactly what you’d like to do with them, but it may not be right now. Be patient; the right way to care for them will surface in time. After all, there are a lot of options: scattering them on land or sea is one of the most common; but you can also use the cremated remains in keepsake jewelry or to create meaningful pieces of art. As we said, there is no have-to-do; there’s only a want-to-do (and you are in complete control of it). If you’re curious about your options, just give us a call. We’ll share what we know.
How long will it take to cremate my family member?
Naturally, this question is best answered when we talk specifics: why type of cremator will be used? How large an individual was your loved one? Usually it takes 2 – 2 1/2 hours for the process. A cool-down period follows, and then the cremated remains are processed for a uniform appearance. Certainly, if the issue is important to you, we urge you to speak to your funeral director.
Are people dressed when they are cremated?
You’d be surprised how often we hear this question! Some people might choose to be undressed so as to ‘go out’ the same way they ‘came in’ to the world; but most of the time, the deceased is dressed in the clothing they’ve selected prior to their death, or chosen by family members after their passing.
Can we put special items in their cremation casket?
It depends upon what you mean as “special”, but we do our best to accommodate the wishes of surviving family members. Most commonly, families will ask to place notes, children’s drawings, or other personal messages of love; but we’ve certainly had some unusual requests (such as the inclusion of a cherished pet’s collar or treasured keepsake). We encourage you to speak with your funeral director to learn the regulations of the specific crematory responsible for your loved one’s cremation.
Does this mean we don't need to plan a commemoration service?
Certainly not; cremation merely describes the type of physical end-of-life care you intend to provide your loved one. A commemoration service is for the living; the individuals emotionally impacted by the death deserve the same level of compassionate attention. And one of the benefits of cremation comes from the larger “window-of-opportunity” in which to plan a meaningful celebration-of-life it provides the surviving family members. Your funeral professional can guide you in making all the necessary service arrangements.
I'm thinking of placing my loved one's ashes in the care of a local cemetery. What is the difference between a columbarium and a mausoleum?
Think of the Taj Mahal in India and you’ll know exactly what a mausoleum is: it’s free-standing building (in this case not in India but on the grounds of a local cemetery), which is intended as both a monument as well as the burial location for casketed individuals. A columbarium is the same in purpose, but not in design; instead of crypt spaces large enough for a full-size casket; it features smaller niche spaces, large enough for one (or maybe two) cremation urns.
Can we arrange to bury their ashes on cemetery grounds?
Yes, you can. The burial can be in-ground, or your loved one’s cremation urn can be placed in a columbarium niche. Speak with your funeral director to learn more about your specific cremation burial options.