|In a cremation, how much of the body is actually returned to the family? Are the contents of the urn or container all that is left after the cremation process? How do I know the remains I'm receiving are actually that of my dead relative? Is there anything left of the casket after the cremation? You have a very informative web site. I appreciate the effort you have put into it. Keep up the good work.|
|During the cremation process the flame and heat drive off the muscle, organs, fluids and other soft tissue that make up the human body. What is left is "bone ash" made up largely of the minerals, like calcium, that will not burn. It is very much like what would be left after 50 years in the ground. All of that should be returned to the family.
Your second question has been causing me some puzzlement. I am trying to frame a response based on what I think you are getting at which is, what else could be in the container? Well, our cremation authorization specifically asks about prosthetics and other materials which could have been implanted in the body and authorizes us to dispose of things like hip replacements and such as biomedical waste. We also explain that with each cremation a "very minute" amount of the crematory is also swept out along with the intended contents and included with the cremated remains. But, to keep it in perspective, it would be less than a teaspoon.
I am going to answer question #4 here because it fits well with the sentence above. Most of our cremations use a cardboard type cremation container which is completely consumed in the process. When a casket is cremated there is very little left because the wood, particularly polished wood, burns even hotter (by several hundred degrees) consuming virtually all of the casket. However, there seems to be more "fly ash" when a casket is cremated. Still what is left is basically the remnants of a skeletal structure which literally falls apart as the sweeping process begins.
Your question about how you can be assured that you are really receiving the cremated remains of your relative goes to the heart of the issue and I take no offense. One of the reasons for this website and the pictures was our attempt to "open and demystify" the parts of our business that occur behind closed doors. First, get to know your funeral director. Find out about what crematory they use. We offer witnessed cremations to our families at no additional charge.
The scandals and reprehensible conduct demonstrated by a few funeral directors and crematory operators have tainted the entire process. We treat human remains entrusted to us with the same whether they are being cremated or buried; with absolute respect. They are moved gently, handled carefully and placed in the crematory just as carefully as we would push a casket in the hearse with 500 people watching. Cremated remains are handled the same way. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INTACT REMAINS AND CREMATED REMAINS. THEY ARE ENTITLED TO THE SAME CAREFUL TREATMENT.
You can always ask the funeral director to arrange a witnessed cremation to put your mind at ease. I believe most firms handle bodies the way we do and return the exact cremated remains of their loved one to the family. Do whatever you need to do to be assured of this.
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