When a loved one dies, there are many decisions that grieving family members and friends are confronted with concerning the funeral. One of these decisions involves answering the question, what kind of funeral do you want?
Every person and every family is different and decisions regarding funeral are influenced by cultural and religious traditions, personal preference and cost. Options include the Traditional or Full-service Funeral, Direct Burial or Direct Cremation.
A growing number of people are selecting the option of Cremation. It is becoming more popular as a method for the final disposition of the body for reasons such as some do not like the idea of a traditional burial, it simplifies the burial process, is more environmentally friendly and is more economical.
Cremation is a process by which a body is exposed to extreme heat, usually 1800 - 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, for two hours or more. This process results in the body being reduced to its basic elements which are then referred to as "the cremated body" or "created remains". This occurs at a crematorium in a special kind of furnace called a cremation chamber or cremation retort. The crematorium may be part of a chapel or a funeral home or part of an independent facility or a service offered by a cemetery.
After this process of heat and flame, bone fragments remain. They are then mechanically processed to form a uniform power-like texture. After this preparation the cremated remains can be placed in a temporary container that is suitable for transport.
Cremation may serve as a funeral or post-funeral rite that is an alternative to the interment of an intact body in a casket. Cremated remains, which are not a health risk, may be buried or immured in memorial sites or cemeteries, or they may be legally retained by relatives or dispersed in a variety of ways and locations.
There is a growing trend towards cremation and the keeping of cremated remains in the home in a memorial urn. These urns are available in colorful ceramics, exotic woods and fine metals. Cremation Jewelry is also a growing area such as "The Eternity Heart" that encases a small amount of cremated remains in a piece of fine jewelry. These items can serve as memorials as well as heirlooms that may be passed on through the generations.