About Cremation

CREMATION IS DEFINED AS the process in which a body is reduced to its basic elements in a short period of time using intense heat and evaporation. It is a means of preparing a body for final placement and memorialization.

CREMATION DOES NOT EXCLUDE the need to recognize an individual and a life lived; or the need for dignified and respectful treatment of a body including, when desired or necessary, embalming, cosmetic restoration, clothing, and other related care; or the need for a private or public gathering, either with or without ceremony or ritual; or the need to select and arrange for meaningful final placement of a body following cremation; or the need to permanently and appropriately memorialize the life and the individual.

THE CREMATORY IS the location where the cremation process takes place. Sometimes the crematory is part of the funeral home and sometimes it is a separate location near the funeral home or in a cemetery.

THE CREMATOR IS the specially designed machine with a compartment called a retort. It is within the retort where the actual process of cremation takes place.

THE CONTAINER IS the case a body is in when it is placed in the retort for cremation. It must be made of combustible materials such as wood or cardboard. It can be either a traditional wooden casket, a cremation casket, or a specially designed cremation container.

THE CREMATION PROCESS IS one that takes two to three hours to complete at an average temperature of 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. The process results in the complete combustion of a body’s organic materials. The remaining fragments are the inorganic materials that comprise a body’s bone structure.

THE CREMATION ASHES ARE used to describe a cremated body. Following the cremation process, the remaining bone fragments are physically reduced to a uniform consistency and size. cremation ashes of an average size adult weigh between three and nine pounds and take up a volume of approximately 200 cubic inches. They are actually much more similar in color and appearance to crushed sea shells or fine gravel than they are to ashes.

FOLLOWING CREMATION the cremation ashes are sealed in a heavy duty poly liner and then placed in either a temporary container, a utility urn, a permanent urn or a keepsake.

A TEMPORARY CONTAINER IS generally constructed of lightweight plastic and/or cardboard. It is specifically designed for the temporary storage or transportation of the cremation ashes.

A UTILITY URN IS generally constructed of thin utility grade metal with an accompanying outer cardboard box. It too, is designed for the temporary storage or transportation of the cremation ashes.

A PERMANENT CREMATION URN OR KEEPSAKE IS generally constructed from one or more of several materials including metal, wood, glass, ceramic, stone and synthetically cultured reproductions of the same. Permanent Cremation Urns and Keepsakes are specifically designed to contain the complete or partial cremation ashes of an individual for an indefinite period of time or permanently.

PERSONALIZATION IS defined as the means by which the life and personality of an individual are tastefully and meaningfully represented by the urn or keepsake itself. Personalization is accomplished through a variety of materials and methods such as the material from which the urn is crafted, the shape and color of the urn, words or art engraved on the plate or urn, accessory picture frames containing a favorite photograph and/or appliques that attach to the surface.

ENGRAVING utilizes special equipment and highly technical skills. Engrave sentiments, names, dates and/or artwork. Metal plates can be engraved and attached to the surface of the urn. A metal easel can be directly engraved onto and placed near the urn. Some urns have marble panels that can be engraved and inserted into the surface of the urn. A variety of type styles and a wide range of artwork with religious, social, fraternal, military, recreational and nature themes are available to accompany the engraved names, dates and lines of sentiment.

APPLIQUES attach directly onto the surface of an urn and area versatile method of personalization. Crafted of various types of metals, appliques reflect an entire range of religious, social, fraternal, military, recreational and nature themes. Some appliques provide a method of framing a favorite photograph or religious scene in combination with engraved names, dates, lines of sentiment and artwork.

FINAL PLACEMENT OF THE PERMANENT CREMATION URN OR KEEPSAKE refers to where and how the urn is ultimately located; generally on a permanent basis, but also temporarily until an appropriate, meaningful and final permanent placement may be determined. Final placement may be accomplished by interment, niche placement, home placement, scattering, or leased storage.

INTERMENT Earth burial of a permanent cremation urn can take place at previously purchased cemetery property or, if necessary, new burial property may be obtained. In many locations, the cemetery will require the permanent cremation urn to be placed in an outer burial container of which there are two main types; urn burial liners and urn burial vaults.

URN BURIAL LINERS serve the purposes of containing the permanent cremation urn and protecting the integrity of the burial site by supporting the weight of the earth around and above the interred urn. Most urn burial liners are constructed of lightweight polymer materials.

AN URN BURIAL VAULT is specifically designed to protect an urn by resisting the entrance of outside elements such as water that naturally occur at an interment site. Some designs accomplish this using the captured air pressure system of an inverted dome cover over a base. Others close with metal clip-locks or an industrial strength adhesive system. Some combine one or more methods of closure. Most urn burial vaults are constructed of heavy gauge stainless steel, steel, or heavy duty polymers and polypropylenes.

NICHE PLACEMENT can occur at several different types of locations, however, they all have one thing in common; the urn is placed in a small space above ground that is secured with a cover. Niches are designed in many different dimensions in order to accommodate a variety of urn sizes.

A COLUMBARIUM is a specially designed unit containing multiple niches arranged in vertical columns and horizontal rows. Most columbaria are found in cemeteries, mausoleums, crematories or churches. Each columbarium may feature both glass front and solid front niches.

GLASS FRONT NICHES are designed so the urn remains visible after niche placement; the cover securing the niche space is made of durable transparent glass. SOLID FRONT NICHES are designed so the urn is not visible after niche placement; the niche cover is made of an opaque material such as stone or bronze. CEMETERY LAWN NICHES are specially designed units that are very similar in appearance to upright monuments. Like monuments, lawn niches are made of stone such as granite or marble. The main section of the unit contains niche spaces for the placement of permanent cremation urns or keepsakes.

HOME PLACEMENT simply means that the urn is retained in the home of family members, significant others, or friends. Home placement may be either permanent or temporary until such time another method of final placement may be arranged. Accessory items such as bud vases, candlesticks or memento boxes which match the urn are available to accompany home placement. Many people choose to keep such accessories in their home as memento pieces when the urn is placed elsewhere.

SCATTERING is another method for the final placement of cremation ashes. One must bear in mind that it is an irreversible act and that the cremation ashes will remain permanently irretrievable. The urn is retained as a means of memorializing the individual whose cremation ashes have been scattered. There are several scattering options available.

A SCATTERING GARDEN is a specially designed area in a cemetery or other outdoor place. It is generally landscaped with floral and shrubbery plantings, trees, and sometimes water and rock formations. cremation ashes scattered there are commingled with those of other individuals.

AN OSSUARY is an underground vault area in a cemetery that has an opening to the surface into which the cremation ashes are placed and commingled with those of other individuals.

PRIVATE SCATTERING is a method of final placement that warrants strong consideration. In addition to family members and friends, one may wish to seek the guidance of a clergy person or death care professional before exercising this option. It is a suggested practice to retain at least a small portion of the cremation ashes in an urn in order to facilitate a tangible and permanent final placement that will be available and meaningful to future generations.

LEASED STORAGE is provided by many funeral homes and crematories. They provide space for either long term or temporary storage of an urn containing cremation ashes. One pays for this service based upon the location and the length of storage time that is desired. Generally such storage is provided in a “communal” area with shelving units where the cremation ashes of other individuals are also kept.

MEMORIALIZATION refers to the method and manner of acknowledging the life and death of an individual by permanently marking the name, date of birth, date of death and any other pertinent and meaningful information such as membership and participation in any fraternal, social or military organizations.

INTERMENT MEMORIALIZATION may be accomplished by placing an upright monument or ground level marker at the burial site.

NICHE PLACEMENT MEMORIALIZATION may be accomplished in a glass front niche by personalizing the urn. In a solid front niche, the stone or bronze cover is generally marked with the appropriate names, dates and any meaningful symbols.

SCATTERING MEMORIALIZATION may be accomplished by retaining the personalized permanent cremation urn or keepsake as a memento and by having the pertinent information regarding the individual engraved or registered at the scattering location if that option is available.

CENOTAPH MEMORIALIZATION is available in all situations. This is memorialization of an individual at a location other than where the cremation ashes are ultimately placed. There are many choices for cenotaph memorialization. Some options include memorialization on an existing family monument or marker at a cemetery or dedicating a plaque at a location significant to the life and memory of the individual.

CREMATION URN MATERIALS:

METAL is both a natural and man-made material that is highly regarded for its characteristic strength, ageless durability, beautiful luster, and its potential to be transformed into an assortment of design styles that facilitate many functional and aesthetic applications in our daily lives. This diverse material has been used in everything from construction, vehicles, appliances and decorative accessories to timeless works of classic sculpture and architecture. Metal urn or keepsake value is based on the type of metal, the design of the piece and the technique in which it was produced.

WOOD is a natural material that is highly valued for its characteristic warmth, variety of species and grain patterns, inherent beauty, and its potential to be transformed into an assortment of design styles that facilitate many functional and aesthetic applications in our daily lives. There are a wide variety of wood species and many techniques of hand and machine crafting.

STONE is classified as natural. They are highly regarded for their characteristic strength and durability. The beautiful spectrum of dramatic colors and veining patterns distinguish one type from another. Natural materials possess the potential to be transformed into an assortment of design styles that facilitate many functional and aesthetic applications in our daily lives.

GLASS is a man-made substance that has been in use for nearly four thousand years. It is generally transparent or translucent and is made by fusing silicates with soda or potash, lime and sometimes various metallic oxides under intense heat. Molten glass can be transformed into a limitless variety of shapes, colors and textures and is an important part of our daily lives. Glass can serve a strictly utilitarian function or it can be used to enhance our surroundings as a work of art.

CERAMIC is the art form of making objects of baked clay. Some types of ceramic art forms are stoneware, earthenware, pottery and porcelain.

COMPOSITE materials are man-made of both natural and synthetic components. They are noted for their strength, durability and potential to be transformed into a variety of shapes and colors that are adaptable to a wide range of functional and decorative applications.

ECO-FRIENDLY refers to urns that are crafted from natural materials that will biodegrade over time.