Almost all cremated remains are returned to the family. With the exception of only a miniscule and microscopic particles that are impossible to be retrieved from the cremation chamber, all of the cremated remains are returned to the family.
Cremation is the preparation of the body. Many families choose a funeral service to honor and celebrate the life of their loved one. This can be held at a religious facility, funeral home or a special place chosen by the family. Many families today are electing to plan their own service at a time and place that is right for them. Cremation provides that flexibility to a family when planning a gathering or celebration service.
Cremation is the process of reducing the body to bone particles through the use of intense heat at approximately 1400 – 1800 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or more. The cremation occurs in a special type furnace referred to as a cremation chamber or retort. The cremation chamber will reduce the body to bone fragments and then it will be removed from the chamber. These bone fragments are referred to as cremated remains.
Once the remains are removed from the cremation chamber, all bone fragments and non-consumed metals are placed in a cooling area. All metal from clothing, bridgework and joint areas are separated from the cremated remains. This is done through a visual inspection as well as the use of a strong magnet for smaller metallic pieces. Things such as small miniscule dental gold and silver are non-recoverable and are commingled with the cremated remains. The existing bone fragments are then mechanically processed until they have a course sand appearance with a white or light grey color. The weight of the remains are normally three to eight pounds. Commonly referred to as Ashes, the cremated remains are then placed in a temporary container or an urn selected by the family.
A casket is not required for cremation. However most crematories require the body to be placed in an enclosed, rigid combustible container. This is often referred to as an alternative container. If a family prefers a public viewing then a cremation casket can be purchased or a rental casket can be selected.
Most religions in the Unites States permit cremation. The Catholic Church accepts cremation as long as it is not chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teachings. Orthodox Judaism and Islam forbid cremation. It is best to consult your religious advisor if you have questions.
Most funeral homes have to contract out this service to a third party whereas the funeral home has very little or no control over the crematory’s operating procedure. Sometimes the family incurs additional transportation cost and unnecessary delays.
Embalming is the temporary preservation of the body for funeral purposes. Embalming is not required and the cremation process can take place without embalming. Refrigeration is most commonly used as a temporary holding facility before the cremation process takes place. If a family is selecting a public viewing and a funeral service lasting several days, then embalming may be needed.
In most situations, the cremation providers will allow family members to be in attendance when the body is placed in the cremation chamber. A few religious groups and cultures include this as part of their funeral celebration.
It is illegal to perform two human cremations at once. Most modern cremation chambers are not large enough to accommodate but only one adult cremation at a time.