Cremation at the End of Life



You, or a loved one, might be considering cremation when the time comes. There has always been some mystery attached to this process. Basically, cremation involves the process of returning the body back to its essential elements. This is done through the process of heat. In most situations, the body is put in an approved container, often a coffin, before it is placed in the cremation chamber. There are special caskets made for cremation. You can also use something as simple as a cardboard box. It just must be sturdy enough to hold the body, and it must also be combustible.

Beginning the Cremation Process

First, if the decision has not been made, the family must decide between a funeral service or cremation. The average funeral cost is between $7,000 to $12,000 or more. This includes viewing and burial, basic service fees, transporting remains to the funeral home, a casket, embalming, and other preparation. The average cost of a funeral with cremation ranges between $6,000 and $7,000. Cremation, without a funeral service, can be done for as little as $500 although most are more expensive. There is a myth some people believe that cremation “hurts.” The deceased, as suffering indignities of burial or decomposition in the grave, is not felt in any way. Beyond death, we are fortunate to be beyond experiencing any physical pain.

 Usually, the body is bathed, cleaned, and dressed. Any jewelry or other items the family wishes to keep is removed. Any medical devices or prosthetics are also removed. 

The Container Is Placed In The Furnace For Cremation

The container, with the body inside, is placed in an industrial furnace. These are specifically designed for the cremation process. From beginning to end, the process takes from two to three hours. During the process, the crematorium will make certain three steps are followed: 1. The deceased is properly identified. This is usually completed by having a family member identify the body. Then a metal ID tag is placed on the body. The ID remains throughout the process. Following the cremation, the ID is placed with the remains. 2. The operator is safe. 3. Care and respect are used during the cremation process. Some crematoriums allow the family to witness the process. If you are interested in this, you need to check with the crematorium, when plans are being made, and see if you can observe and to check to see how many people can attend.

Following The Cremation

Once the body has been cremated and the remains have cooled, any remaining metal is removed. The operator removes the metal by hand or with strong magnets. This is followed by the remains being ground. The cremated remains leave behind actual bits of bone. A specialized processor grinds the fragments into what is called “cremains.” The ashes of the deceased are then transferred to a temporary container. Or, if the family prefers, they are transferred to an urn. 

Following Death – The Cremation Or Burial?

Once we have passed away, a body can go through the cremation process, using heat. If burial is chosen, then the body will go through the process of decomposition. The decision as to which process happens is dependent on the cost factors, religious beliefs, and family traditions. It is best to choose the method you prefer, before your death, to save your family the responsibility of making this decision.

Once we have passed, it does not seem to matter what is done with our remains. As our life has ended, we no longer “feel” what is done with our body.