Experiencing the loss of a loved one is undeniably one of life's most challenging experiences, and determining how to handle their remains can be an overwhelming decision. While traditional burials have been the default choice for many, more and more families are exploring cremation as a way to honor their loved ones. If you're considering cremation but unsure of what the process entails, read on to learn more about how it works.
Preparation and Identification
Before the actual cremation can begin, the deceased must be prepared for the process. This usually involves cleaning the body and removing any medical devices or jewelry. The body is then identified with a unique identification number that stays with it throughout the entire process. This is crucial to ensure that the correct remains are returned to the family.
Cremation machines, also known as retorts, are used for the final process. The machines typically are shaped like a cylinder and made of stainless steel or another heat-resistant material. Once the body is placed in the machine, the temperature is raised exponentially. This extreme heat turns the body into ashes.
After the cremation is complete, the remains are typically cooled for several minutes. Once cooled, the cremated remains (also called ashes) are then placed in a container. The container can be made of various materials, such as wood, ceramic, or metal, and families can choose the one that best suits their preferences.
The cremation process is heavily regulated to protect the health and safety of both the crematory operators and the environment. For example, some states require that the cremation chamber be large enough to only hold one body at a time. Additionally, the retort must be cleaned thoroughly between each cremation to ensure that no ashes or other organic material from the previous body remains.
Once the remains are placed in a container, they are typically returned to the family. The family can then choose to scatter the ashes, bury them in a cemetery, or keep them in an urn at home. Some families also choose to hold a memorial service or celebration of life after the cremation process has been completed.
Although the process of cremation may initially appear complex and overwhelming, it provides a serene and respectful means to pay tribute to the memory of a cherished individual. Understanding how it works can help ease any concerns or anxieties you may have about the process. If you're still unsure whether cremation is the right choice for you and your family, it's always best to consult with a funeral director for guidance and support. No matter what you decide, remember that there is no right or wrong way to grieve and honor the memory of the ones we love.
Contact a cremation provider near you to learn more.