What is Cremation?
Cremation is a way of disposing of bodily remains that is both economical and ecologically friendly. Although many people choose cremation for personal, cultural, or religious reasons, the reality is that most people opt for cremation because of its relatively low cost (when compared to burial).
How Does Cremation Work?
In the process of cremation, a body is exposed to high levels of heat and flame for 1 to 3 hours. During this time, the body is broken down into ashes and large bone fragments (which are later ground down to give the appearance of ash). Family members are then able to collect these ash remains, also known as cremains, to be disposed of however they wish.
Who Performs a Cremation?
Cremation is a highly regulated field overseen by city or county government. They are performed at crematoriums (which may or may not be attached to a funeral home), and must adhere to safety and environmental standards. Because this is such a well-overseen process, there is a high level of professionalism that accompanies cremation. Bodies are treated with respect, cremated one at a time, and mix ups are incredibly rare.
What is Direct Cremation?
Direct cremation is an even lower-cost option to traditional cremation. The body is not embalmed. There is no funeral service. No casket needs to be purchased.
What is Smart Cremation?
Smart Cremation is a West Coast company that allows you to pre-pay for a cremation and also to arrange body transportation ahead of time. Many such companies exist to help you pre-plan a funeral or make advance arrangements, so always shop around before you pick one.
How Much Does Cremation Cost?
The price of cremation varies depending on location, what kind of cremation you choose, and other considerations. Most people can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to up to $10,000. (The average is closer to $3,000, including a funeral service.)
What Happens to the Ashes after Cremation?
This is entirely up to you. You can scatter them, bury them in an urn, place them in a columbarium, put them on display, plant them in your garden, or otherwise be creative. As long as you adhere to local safety and sanitation laws, there are many ways you can dispose of the ashes.
Can I Still Have a Funeral?
Absolutely. One of the biggest misconceptions about cremation is that it robs a family of the pomp and ceremony of a funeral. In reality, cremation simply gives you more options. You can hold a funeral at a funeral home right after death or wait a few weeks and hold it in a park or restaurant. You can involve your church and clergy or make it a secular ceremony. A body on display isn’t required to mourn, and the flexibility offered by cremation is one of its biggest appeals.
Where Can I Get More Information?
If you’re interested in learning more about cremation, talk to your local funeral home or visit the Cremation Association of North America online.