Funeral Homes: A End and a Beginning

Planning Your Loved One's Cremation

Cremation is a popular choice for dealing with the remains of a loved one. Many people find the idea of cremation comforting since a cremated person will never undergo the natural decaying process common to all organic matter. If your loved one left funerary instructions in their will, they may have chosen cremation for themselves. Otherwise, you have the right to choose it as their next of kin. Choosing cremation is only the first step in the process. Here are four additional steps you should follow when planning to take advantage of a funeral home's cremation services:

1. Plan the memorial service.

It may sound counterintuitive to plan a memorial ceremony before utilizing cremation services. However, the desired features of your memorial service will affect the timing of the cremation. You must decide whether or not you plan to have a viewing during the memorial. If you desire a viewing, the actual cremation will be postponed, and the body of your loved one will need to be embalmed to preserve it for the funeral.

2. Decide if you require a decorative urn.

Once the funeral home has cremated your loved one's body, they will return the ashes to you. If you provide a decorative urn, the crematory staff will use it to hold the cremains. If no vessel is provided, the ashes will be returned in a bag. If you plan to have your loved one's cremains buried, interred, or scattered, forgoing a decorative urn is a viable cost-saving measure. Conversely, people who plan to retain their loved one's ashes often wish to store them in a fitting, ornate vessel. 

3. Figure out if you wish to be present.

As the deceased person's relative, you have the right to decide whether you'd like to be present for the cremation process. Cremation takes place in an enclosed cremation chamber, which gets very hot during operation. You won't witness the actual burning of the body. However, some people take comfort from being in the funeral home while it occurs. The choice is yours. You simply need to make the appropriate arrangements with the funeral director.

4. Secure a place to lay your loved one to rest.

If you plan to have your loved one buried or interred after cremation, you will need to secure an appropriate location. Some people choose to have their loved one's cremains buried in a cemetery plot near family members. Others prefer to have the ashes entombed in a mausoleum. Allow your budget and preferences to guide your choice.