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Cremation

 

The Facts about Cremation

Cremation is an option that's becoming increasingly popular. Today, about 40% of families and individuals in California choose cremation. Some prefer it due to its lower cost, some for religious reasons, and still others because of their views about land use or environmental concerns. Still, many people know little about the cremation process itself and what they should do with the cremated remains (commonly called ashes). Cremation is simply one method of preparing human remains for burial or interment. Throughout the cremation process, the human remains are handled with respect and dignity.

Do I have to make different funeral arrangements if I choose cremation?

It really depends entirely on how you wish to commemorate a life. One of the advantages of cremation is that it provides you with increased flexibility when you make your funeral and cemetery arrangements. You might, for example, choose to have a funeral service before the cremation; a memorial service at the time of cremation or after the cremation with the urn present; or a committal service at the final disposition of cremated remains. Funeral or memorial services can be held in a place of worship, a funeral home or in a crematorium chapel. Whatever you choose, we can assist you to give creative expression to your feelings and to make the arrangements both personal and meaningful.

Where does the cremation take place?

All cremations take place in a crematorium.

Do all religions permit cremation?

Some religions prefer cremation; some do not recommend the practice; most permit you to choose. Should you have any questions or concerns, we suggest you speak with a member of your clergy, or contact one of our Service Counselors.

Is a casket required?

No. What is required is an enclosed, rigid, container made of wood or other combustible material to allow for the dignified handling of human remains. The type of casket or container selected is really a personal decision. Caskets and containers are available in a wide variety of materials ranging from simple cardboard containers to beautifully handcrafted oak, maple or mahogany caskets.

Is the casket cremated with the human remains?

Yes. Under no circumstances is the casket or container opened by crematorium staff. If there are handles and larger metal adornments on the casket which can be removed in a dignified manner, they will be, prior to the cremation taking place, as they may damage the cremation equipment. Apart from that, the casket or container is cremated exactly as it is received at the crematorium.

Are cremations done individually?

Yes. Only one casket or container is cremated at a time.

Is embalming necessary?

No. It is your choice. It may depend on such factors as whether or not there will be viewing of the body with an open casket, if the body is going to be transported by air or rail, or the length of time prior to cremation, etc.

Is any other preparation required prior to cremation?

It is essential that pacemakers and other medical devices be removed prior to cremation. They may explode when subjected to high temperatures, which can be hazardous to crematorium staff and equipment. In addition, any special mementos, such as jewelry, will be destroyed during the cremation process. Anything you wish to keep should be removed by the funeral director before the casket or container is transferred to the crematorium.

Do you do the cremation right away?

Unless the specific circumstances require otherwise, we will wait 48 hours after the death before proceeding with the cremation.

What documents are required prior to the cremation taking place?

A completed Application for Cremation, a death certificate and a burial permit showing that the death has been registered are the only documents which are required for a cremation to take place.

What happens during the cremation process?

The casket or container is placed in the cremation chamber, where the temperature is raised to approximately 1,700F. After approximately 1 1/2 hours, all organic matter is consumed by heat or evaporation. The residue which is left is bone fragments, known as cremated remains. The cremated remains are then carefully removed from the cremation chamber. Any metal is removed with a magnet and later disposed of in the cemetery grounds. The cremated remains are then processed into fine particles and are placed in the container provided by the crematorium or placed into a cremation urn purchased by the family, as instructed on the Application for Cremation. The entire process takes approximately three hours. Throughout the cremation process, a carefully controlled labeling system ensures correct identification.

May I witness the cremation?

Yes, if you wish. You may witness the placing of the casket or container in the cremation chamber. You may even start the cremation process itself. The Service Counselor must be informed of your wishes in advance, so that a mutually convenient time can be arranged.

What do I do with the cremated remains?

As mentioned, cremation is just one step in the commemorative process _ the preparation of human remains for memorialization. Today, there are many different types of memorial options from which to choose. Memorialization is a time-honored tradition that has been practiced for centuries. A memorial serves as a tribute to a life lived and provides a focal point for remembrance, as well as a record for future generations. The type of memorial you choose is a personal decision. The limit is set only by your imagination.

What type of urn do I need?

A simple, fiber container is provided by the crematorium, free of charge. However, you may prefer an urn which more reflects your personal tastes. For your convenience, a selection of urns is on display at the cemetery office. Urns come in variety of sizes, styles and materials. Indeed, there is an urn to satisfy every preference, every requirement and every budget. You may select a cast bronze urn, one fashioned from selected hard woods, a ceramic urn or one made from another permanent material such as marble or granite. Urns range in size, from single to multiple capacity, and in styling, from traditional to modern. Some urns are square or rectangular, others are octagonal or cylindrical. And, of course, if you cannot find an available urn that meets your requirements, you can also have one custom designed. With so many beautiful urns available, you may find it difficult to make a selection. Usually, the final choice depends in part on where you will eventually place the urn.

Will the urn be seen or will it be concealed?

Once again, it is a personal decision.

Scattering of Cremated Remains

The scattering of cremated remains is permitted in designated areas only. Memorial scattering areas are areas in the cemetery that will never be developed for any other use in the future. Memorial scattering areas range from natural settings to formal gardens. Often, the individuals whose cremated remains have been scattered in a memorial scattering area are identified on a special memorial plaque, or a unique garden feature such as a sculpture on which the individual's name is inscribed. You may carry out the scattering of the cremated remains, or you may direct the cemetery staff to do so. You may, if you wish, conduct or have conducted a form of committal or memorial service at the time of scattering. Since the scattering of cremated remains is an irreversible process, it requires that all arrangements for the scattering process be made in person.

Urn Spaces

Urn spaces are ideal for those who prefer traditional in-ground interment of cremated remains.

Columbarium Niches

A popular choice for the placement of an urn is in a columbarium niche. A niche is a recessed compartment designed for the permanent placement of urns. An arrangement of niches is called a columbarium. Some are free standing structures located outdoors in picturesque settings, for example, overlooking a pond. Others are located indoors in either a chapel or a mausoleum, often as a bank of niches along a corridor or a series of special alcoves. Depending on the location of the niche, it may have an open front protected by glass where the urn remains visible, or a closed-front faced with granite or marble where an inscription is placed on the niche front. A vase may be placed on some closed-front niches for the placement of flowers by those who care to commemorate special occasions.

What if I prefer cremation, but my spouse prefers interment?

This is a common question. One solution is to purchase a grave. This would allow for the interment of a casket or container, as well as an urn containing cremated remains.

Is it true that cremation is less expensive than a traditional funeral or ground burial?

When comparing the basic services required with each option, yes. Please keep in mind that the overall cost depends on the other services selected. Do you prefer a certain type of interment right (urn space/niche)? Will you want an urn? What type of memorial is important to you? Detailed price lists for cemetery services are available.

Can I make all of the necessary arrangements in advance?

Yes. All arrangements are made in advance. By planning ahead, you have the opportunity to consider the many options available to commemorate a life. You can make an informed decision about your funeral and cemetery arrangements and the form of memorial you prefer, in ways which are meaningful to you and your family. You will gain peace of mind, knowing your family and friends will be relieved of the emotional and financial burden often associated with making arrangements when a death occurs. If you pre-arrange your funeral and cemetery services, you benefit by purchasing at today's prices, free from inflationary pressures in the future. Our flexible payment plans enable you to purchase some cemetery services in advance. Whether you choose to purchase in advance or not, we recommend that you discuss your preferences with your family before you finalize them. Not doing so can cause anxiety if your wishes conflict with what your family or survivors feel is appropriate.

 

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