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Cremation Explained

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Cremation Explained

Isn’t cremation an end in itself?

Some people may regard it as such, but most families feel that the cremated remains of someone they love should be afforded a resting place that can be identified by the name and dates. This is memorialization. Most families find that a memorial, regardless of its size, serves a basic human need to remember and to be remembered.

What choices of memorialization are available?

A final resting place for cremated remains can be provided by various means. The family may choose from a full selection of urns for permanent containment of the cremated remains. The urns may be placed in a columbarium, which is a building or structure where single niche space or family units may be selected. Niches are recessed compartments enclosed by either glass protecting the engraved urn or ornamental fronts upon which the name and dates are featured. Of course, family lots may be used and cemeteries often permit the interment of more than one person in an adult space if cremation has occurred. In many cemeteries there are also specially designed areas for this purpose, which are called urn gardens.

What about scattering cremated remains?

This may be legally done in most areas, but CANA members believe that in consideration of the descendants of the departed that some form of memorialization should be provided. Furthermore, there are reasons for not scattering, because it is for many a very traumatic experience. It can be soul shaking to spill out all that is mortal of someone you have known and loved. One should realize how much is being asked of the person who is to do the scattering. Some crematories provide scattering gardens within their dedicated property, often with the option of personal memorials. The use of dedicated property assures the site chosen will not be developed for other use at some future time.

How does the cost of cremation compare with burial or entombment?

The basic charge for just cremation is somewhat less than traditional burial. However, with so many items of service available to the family both in the funeral service before and in the mode of disposition after, it’s not possible to make an accurate comparison. Again, the family has the option to select as much or as little as they choose and with cremation they have more options.

Is a funeral director necessary?

Some governmental jurisdictions require a licensed person to transport a body and to obtain the necessary permits. Funeral directors are among those so licensed and are the only ones permitted to do so in some jurisdictions. Normally, the funeral director performs the same professional functions regarding cremations as in any other service. In some areas funeral directors operate crematories in conjunction with their funeral homes and are CANA members.

Is embalming necessary?

No, but the factors of time, health and possible legal regulations and religious beliefs might make embalming prior to cremation either appropriate or necessary. As a point of information, heart pacemakers or similar devices should be removed, because they may become dangerous when subjected to the extreme heat of the cremation chamber.


Published by CANA – Cremation Association of North America
www.cremationassociation.org