There are a variety of reasons why people choose cremation, from environmental to financial, and in the U.S., there is a growing number of people who are deciding to make cremation a part of their end-of-life plan.
The cremation rate has increased dramatically in the U.S. over the last half century– rising from 3.56 percent in 1960 to 48.6 percent in 2015, and the Cremation Association of North America has forecasted a rate of 54.3 percent by 2020.
However, although more people are expected to choose cremation in the coming years, there are still many misconceptions about the process. If you, or someone you love, are considering cremation, these answers to commonly asked questions will help ensure you make an informed decision.
What does the cremation process entail?
Cremation is a process that reduces the body to its basic elements by exposing it to open flames, intense heat and evaporation in a specially designed furnace called a cremation chamber or retort. Prior to being placed in the casket or cremation container, the body is cleaned and prepared for identification. Then, a family member will confirm the identity of the deceased and a metal ID tag is placed on the body. Next, all jewelry and keepsakes and medical devises that contain batteries are removed to prevent reaction during the cremation process. The container with the body is then moved to the cremation chamber and the cremation begins.
The entire process usually takes roughly three hours to complete, though it can take more time for the family to actually receive the cremated remains since the ashes must be cooled before being placed into an urn or temporary container.
Can there still be a visitation and funeral if I choose cremation?
Yes, many people who choose cremation still have the desire to honor their loved one with a unique and memorable tribute. If you choose to host a traditional funeral service, it would take place a short time following the death of your loved one, prior to the cremation process, so that the body can be present. Families who choose to host a funeral, viewing or visitation will need to rent or purchase a casket for the body. Many people choose cardboard caskets because they are combustible and considered to be one of the least expensive options.
Can two cremations be performed at once?
Under no circumstances are two cremations ever permitted to be performed at the same time. Not only is it illegal to do so, but most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult. Thus, it would be a practical impossibility to conduct multiple cremations simultaneously.
Can family members choose to witness the cremation?
For a nominal fee, families can be present during a cremation. Many crematories, including Bevis Funeral Home’s state-of-the-art cremation facility, are set up to allow family members to be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. In fact, some religious groups include this as part of their funeral custom.
Are there different ways to store cremated remains?
While urns are a popular choice, there are various types of vessels that can be used to house cremains.
Most people choose urns because they come in a variety of materials and styles, allowing families to account for factors such as cost, religious beliefs and traditions. From biodegradable urns used primarily for ashes to be transported and scattered to military urns that showcase a history of service, there are a number of options available to fit a range of budgets, needs and personal styles.
Another way people store cremains is with cremation jewelry. When families choose to utilize cremation jewelry, they typically split up the cremains and store them in pendants that are worn as necklaces or bracelets. Some families even opt to utilize both cremation jewelry and urns to store remains.
Ultimately, the decision is personal, and families should house remains in a way that brings them comfort.
If you are considering cremation and would like to learn more about the process, call Bevis Funeral Home at 850-385-2193 to speak with one of our knowledgeable funeral directors today.