Cremation is becoming more and more popular and is an alternative to traditional funerals and in-ground burials .Here are five things you should know about cremation.
1. During cremation, the body is not incinerated by fire.
This is a common myth, that during cremation, the body is consumed by fire. What actually happens in the cremation chamber is that the body is exposed to very high temperatures in a specially designed brick chamber which reduces the body to gases and bone fragments. The body actually never comes in direct contact with the flames. So, your loved one is never actually burned. Water cremation aka natural cremation is also available in 10 states and costs about the same as flame based cremation.
2. Cremation is not a lot less expensive than a traditional burial.
This is a commonly held myth about cremation and it is not true. You may save money by not buying a cemetery plot. You’ll also save money by not embalming and using dry ice or refrigeration if there is no viewing. You won’t have to purchase a traditional metal or wooden casket and you won’t be paying the hourly visitation charges if you choose direct cremation. However, direct cremation will still cost you from $800 to $1,000 minimum. And, many families change their minds. When they realize that no one will get a chance to say goodbye, they decide to embalm and have a visitation service before the cremation so everyone can pay their respects to the deceased. Many families will also choose to bury the ashes in a cemetery plot or a columbarium and have a memorial service after. These are all good choices but remember these extra services all add up and your cremation bill can be as large as if you had a traditional burial.
3. If you choose cremation, you still need a casket.
Unless you choose a visitation you won’t need a traditional casket, which is one of the most expensive funeral items that you could purchase. You will have to purchase an alternative casket which is a plain wooden box or a sturdy cardboard container for the body to be placed in and cremated. This is a law and although this is not an expensive item, it must be purchased. If you choose a visitation before the cremation, your alternative casket can be placed inside of a rental casket and a rental fee for this casket will also be charged.
4. Cremated remains are not actually ashes.
“Ashes” is a word that people use to refer to the cremains of the deceased, but in reality they do not resemble ashes at all. The actual cremains are bone fragments which are ground into a fine greyish sand like substance. The cremains are put into an urn and returned to the family. They can then be buried, scattered or displayed in the home as a few examples.
5. The “ashes” can never get mixed up after the cremation process.
This is next to impossible due to the “chain of custody” that takes place from start to finish. The deceased body is given a unique ID tag that remains with the body from the removal process at the place of death to the final urn that the cremains will be delivered in. Funeral homes and crematories are very strict about this “chain of custody” and it is standard practice to check the ID tags at every step of the cremation process. It is also the law in every state to protect the final remains of the deceased.
Whether you choose cremation, traditional burial or another form of final disposition, honoring the last wishes of your loved one is all that matters.
Nancy Burban 2013