The following information has been provided by the
National Funeral Directors Association. We would like to thank them for allowing us to mirror some of the fine Consumer Information available at the NFDA Online website.
Cremation is the second most common form of disposition in the United States. The percentage of cremations to deaths in the United States and Canada has increased steadily during the last two decades. In other countries, such as England and Japan, cremation is the most common form of disposition.
Many states require a two-day waiting period between the time of death and cremation. The waiting period provides the time necessary for your funeral director to file for required permits and receive proper authorizations. Families frustrated by the delay should try to remember that a person's identity or cause of death can be lost forever without great attention to these matters prior to cremation.
Some people are surprised to learn that cremation does not preclude a funeral with all the traditional aspects of the ceremony. Visitation or viewing with a funeral ceremony and church or memorial services are options to be considered. In some states, funeral homes are permitted to rent caskets for viewing and services.
Reasons for Cremation
Cremation, or any other funeral service option, should not be selected in an attempt to hasten or circumvent the grieving process, which is a necessary part of re-adjusting to life after death has delivered a great sense of pain and loss.
The Cremation Process
Cremated remains do not have the appearance or chemical properties of ashes; they are primarily bone fragments. Some crematories process cremated remains to reduce the overall volume while others do not. Depending on the size of the body, cremation results in three to nine pounds of remains.
Depending upon arrangements made by the family, cremated remains are placed in a temporary container for transport or in a more permanent container, such as an urn, and returned to the funeral director or a family member.
Subject to some restrictions, cremated remains can be scattered by air, over the ground or over water. Your funeral director can advise about allowable practices in your community. Some cemeteries provide areas for scattering and may provide a space where families can place a commemorative plaque or other memorial.
Scattering of cremated remains is often accompanied by some form of memorialization. Most people find consolation knowing there is a specific place to visit when they wish to remember and feel close to the person they have lost regardless of whether or not the deceased person's remains are actually located at that place. Regardless of the disposition option selected for the cremated remains, families should choose one that best fits their emotional needs.
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