Q. Exactly what is cremation and the cremation process itself?
A. Cremation is simply the process of reducing the body to bone fragments and ashes through the application of intense heat. With the technology that exists today, the cremation process is very quick, clean, efficient, and dignified as well. A combination of high heat and air, in a specially designed chamber, complete the task. Society has embraced cremation services in recent years. At all times, the remains are treated with care and reverence. A specially designed container is used to hold the ashes and is called a cremation urn.
Q. How popular are cremation services?
A. Society's acceptance of cremation continues the scattering of ashes worldwide. The USA now has a cremation rate of 40%. In the decade of the 90s, Japan's cremation rate was 96% and in places like Sweden, Denmark and Great Britain, the rate was higher than 60%. Within New England, acceptance is now so wide spread that this particular area may lead the nation. By the year 2015, it is possible that one out of every two deceased in the region will be cremated.
Q. Arent cremation services and cremation process against the tenets of most religions?
A. For most of society emphatically "no." The large majority of religions permit cremation or ashes. Greek Orthodox, Conservative and Orthodox Jews tend to oppose it, but those are the only major religious groups that do. The Catholic Church, once opposed to the cremation process, now accepts it and indeed cremations of Catholics have increased significantly in the last twenty years and the church will now allow the cremation urn to be displayed on or by the alter.
Q. Does most of society feel the cremation services are disrespectful of the dead?
A. Now that it is more widely understood, the cremation process has gained acceptance as a "thoughtful" and caring process, usually representing the carefully considered wishes of the deceased. Families have learned that cremation is, after all, preparation for memorialization - not simply a final disposition. Virtually everyone, according to psychologists who have studied the subject of death and grieving, needs to know that the remains of loved ones have been honored and can be visited again. Contrary to what some people believe, the cremation process does not limit one's choices. Cremation, in fact, is only one part in a series of events that lead to longterm respect and remembrance.
Q. Do cremation services rule out a funeral or traditional "farewell?"
A. No. The choice of cremation in no way eliminates a funeral. Society sees traditional or contemporary-type service as often planned to take place before the cremation process - or after it has occurred (sometimes both are done in different locales). Here in Vermont and in most of the country, families prefer to gather at a convenient time for the final committal of the ashes in the cremation urn. A ceremony may be highly personalized to reflect the life of the deceased and, thus, have special meaning for those present.
Q. Are most people in today's society scattering ashes.
A. Yes, most of today's society scatters the ashes. There are many methods of disposing of cremated remains and scattering is the most popular choice. Most all Americans that choose cremation, also choose scattering as the final disposition. We estimate that 65% of cremated Americans choose scattering as the final disposition. Ashes may be placed in an cremation urn, which come in a variety of styles, sizes and materials. A cremation urn serves the same purpose that a casket does with burial; it holds the remains and becomes a part of the memorial site. Popular places for a permanent resting place for the urn are urn gardens, standard cemetery plots or within a niche in an indoor or outdoor columbarium.
Following a cremation service ashes may be scattered in cemetery scattering gardens that are especially created and dedicated for this purpose. A cremation scattering urn can add dignity and ease to the sacred ceremony. This dedicated cemetery property will never be developed for any other use. Often the individuals whose ashes have been scattered in the gardens are memorialized on a special memorial plaque or marker. Scattering ashes on the family property is also a popular choice; in the garden remains the favorite place to scatter ashes. Favorite places of recreation or a place that holds special meaning to the deceased or survivors.
Q. Where do environmentalists stand on the subject of cremation?
A. Increasingly, the cremation process is becoming a popular choice among those concerned with protecting treasured natural resources. With cemeteries in urban areas becoming filled to capacity - and the price of land everywhere continues to escalate - cremation and societies preference to scatter ashes seems to be the most logical, and responsible, means of disposition of remains.
Q. Should arrangements for cremation service with a funeral home or cremation society be made in advance?
A. Having a plan and sharing it with loved ones is one of the most special gifts anyone can give - to help spare family and friends from making difficult decisions at a time of grieving. Nothing can be more thoughtful than making arrangements for a funeral ceremony and for cremation especially, on a "pre-need" basis, and making your wishes known to a funeral service professional, whether it be a funeral home or a cremation society. You may want to specify whether you want a period of visitation prior to the service; whether you want an open casket; whether you want special music and prayers - and what kind, specifically; and of course, you should specify as to the disposition of cremated remains.
Whatever the case, it is important to keep in mind that today arrangements are as individual as the persons for whom and by whom they are made. A ceremony may be personalized to reflect the life of the deceased - and therefore have special meaning for those who are left behind.
Cremation Solutions is located in Arlington, Vermont. We would be glad to answer questions at any time (877) 365-9474