Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Why is having a place to visit so important?

Having a focal point for memorializing the deceased is a natural human need. Throughout human history, memorialization of the dead has been a key component of almost every culture. The Washington Monument, Tomb of the Unknowns and Vietnam “Wall” in Washington, D.C., are examples of memorialization demonstrating that throughout our history, we have always honored our dead.

Psychologists say that remembrance practices serve an important emotional function by helping bring closure and allowing the healing process to begin. Providing a permanent resting place for the deceased is a dignified treatment for a loved one’s mortal remains.

Can cremated remains be buried?

Yes, there are many options for final placement of cremated remains, including beautiful cremation gardens with estates, columbarium, niches, monuments, benches, custom pedestals, and ground burial spaces.

What is a columbarium?

A columbarium is constructed of numerous small compartments (niches) designed to hold urns containing cremated remains. It’s often located inside a mausoleum or chapel but can be free-standing, either indoor or outdoor.

Do we have to use a vault?

In most cases you’ll find that an “outer burial container” is a cemetery requirement. Its use protects the casket from the weight of the earth and heavy maintenance equipment. It also helps resist water and preserves the beauty of the cemetery by preventing the ground from settling.

Is a vault the same thing as an outer burial container?

Essentially, yes. A burial vault is a lined and sealed outer receptacle that houses the casket and protects the casket from the intrusion of water and elements. We offer three categories of vaults, with differences in the level of protection, warranty, beauty, and personalization. Your funeral directors can explain all these differences.

Must a casket be transported to the cemetery in a hearse?

Although a hearse or casket coach is most commonly used, other options are often appropriate. Families might consider more personalized and meaningful options — for example, a firefighter may be transported on a fire truck. We can often arrange for a motorcycle hearse, caisson or horse-drawn hearse, depending upon availability.

After my death, how can you send me to my cemetery out of state?

If the burial is out of state, we will coordinate the transportation of the deceased and work with a funeral home that can help in the out-of-town cemetery. We strongly encourage you to call us and let us make all the arrangements for your family.

What is memorialization for a cremation?

Cremation is just one step in the commemorative process. Memorialization is a time-honored tradition that serves as a tribute to a life lived and provides a focal point for remembrance as well as a record for future generations.

Choosing a memorial is a completely personal decision with the limit set only by your imagination. You might prefer ground burial of the urn, and can choose either a bronze memorial or monument. You could choose a cremation niche in a columbarium, which offers the beauty of a mausoleum setting with the benefits of above-ground placement of remains. Many cemeteries also offer scattering gardens, which provide a serene setting where family and friends can gather to reflect.

What can be done with the cremated remains?

Your options are numerous. Cremated remains can be interred in a cemetery plot, retained by a family member in an urn, or scattered on private property or a place that was significant to the deceased. We always recommend that you check local regulations before scattering in a public place.

Can we have the service before or after the cremation?

It’s completely a matter of preference. When a family is split regarding the decision to cremate, a compromise may be achieved by having a traditional service first, followed by cremation.

Can I have a service when I select cremation?

Yes, cremation is a form of disposition just like burial, and families selecting cremation have plenty of choice.

Is cremation a substitution for a funeral?

No, cremation is simply a method of preparing human remains for final disposition.

Can I watch the cremation?

Arrangements can usually be made for relatives or representatives of the deceased to witness the cremation.

How big is the price difference between cremation and standard ground burial?

The cost depends on the type of permanent memorial, location of the memorial, the urn, and placement selected.

If we are having cremation, why do we need embalming?

Cremation is a choice for final disposition. It doesn’t mean that family and friends can’t gather for a time of viewing and reflection.

We encourage you to consider the benefits of embalming and restorative procedures, viewings, and ceremonies. Many families choose cremation and still want to have the benefits of memorialization with both ceremony and final placement in a cemetery. Always allow yourself enough time and space to make these important decisions, remembering to consider the feelings of close friends and other family members. Ultimately the best choice is what best suits the needs of your family.

Can a casket be rented instead of purchased when choosing cremation?

Many funeral homes offer a hardwood ceremonial casket for viewing or funeral services prior to cremation. The ceremonial (or rental) casket provides an aesthetically pleasing, affordable, environmentally prudent alternative to buying a casket for a cremation service.

Are there special cremation caskets?

There are several affordable cremation caskets that are completely combustible, including simple pine, cloth-covered, or hardwood.

Is a casket required?

No. We offer a wide variety of options from very simple to elaborate. For sanitary reasons, ease of placement and dignity, many crematories require that the deceased be cremated in a leak-proof, rigid, covered container made of wood or other combustible material to allow for the dignified handling of human remains. This does not need to be a casket as such.

Is embalming necessary for cremation?

No. In most cases, it’s your choice. It may depend on whether the family has chosen a service with a public viewing, whether there is to be a funeral service, or whether refrigeration is available. Embalming may be necessary if the body is to be transported by air or rail, or because of the length of time prior to the cremation.

Does Veterans Administration pay for veterans’ funerals?

Each veteran will have different benefits, so we strongly recommend that families visit with us to be sure they fully understand what benefits can be applied for. Although Veterans Administration doesn’t pay for full funerals, it does provide certain merchandise, services, and reimbursements. Honorably discharged veterans are entitled to be buried in an accepting national cemetery. He or she may also receive a free grave liner, bronze marker, and a flag holder appropriately marked with the veteran’s rank, war served, and religious icon.

Should a child attend a funeral?

Children grieve just as adults do. In fact, any child old enough to form a relationship will experience some form of grief when a relationship is severed. As adults we may not view a child’s behavior as grief as it often demonstrated in ways we misunderstand, such as moodiness or withdrawal. When a death occurs, children need to be able to feel accepted and understood.

What happens during the cremation process?

The casket or container holding the body of the deceased is placed in the cremation chamber, where the temperature is raised to 1400° to 1800° Fahrenheit. After about 2 to 2 ½ hours, all organic matter is consumed by heat or evaporation. The remaining bone fragments, known as cremated remains, are carefully removed from the chamber. Any metal is removed with a magnet and later disposed of in an approved manner, and the remains are then processed into fine particles and placed either in a temporary container or an urn purchased by the family.

How long does it take to cremate a body?

Cremation takes about 2 to 2 ½ hours. Several more hours may be required before the remains are available to the family.

Is any other preparation required prior to cremation?

It is essential that pacemakers and other medical devices be removed. Otherwise, they may explode when subjected to high temperatures, which can be hazardous to crematory staff and equipment. In addition, any special mementos such as jewelry will be destroyed during cremation, so anything you wish to keep should be removed by the funeral director before the casket or container is transferred to the crematory.

When after death can a cremation take place?

Because cremation is an irreversible process that will eliminate the ability to determine exact cause of death, many states require that each cremation be authorized by the coroner or medical examiner. Some states have specific minimum time limits that must elapse before cremation takes place. We can advise you of other local regulations, if any.

Is the body exposed to an open flame during the cremation process?

Yes. Cremation is performed by placing the deceased in a casket or other container and then into a cremation chamber where the body is subjected to intense heat and flame.

Are cremations done individually?

Yes. State law provides that only one body may be cremated at a time.

How hot does the cremation chamber get?

The optimum temperature range is 1400° to 1800° Fahrenheit.

Must an obituary be published in a newspaper?

This is a completely personal choice. Although most newspapers control the editorial format, you have the right to limit the amount of information provided. Many newspapers charge by the word or line, and the cost can be surprisingly high. We encourage families to use our complimentary online obituary. There’s no limit to the text length or the number of photos, and the site has an area where visitors can share memories with the family.

How many pallbearers will be needed?

The traditional number of pallbearers is six, primarily due to the length of the standard casket, although most caskets have extra handles at each end that can accommodate two more bearers. If the family would like to honor more people, a funeral director can make them honorary pallbearers who walk in front of or behind the casket.

Do I have to have my loved one embalmed?

In most cases, embalming is not required by law, but it is typically the preferred method to prepare the body for viewing. There are many variables, including the presence of disease and trauma. It may be necessary to perform a variety of additional procedures, similar to plastic surgery, in order to achieve an acceptable appearance. Your funeral director can provide as much detail as you’d like regarding the process and benefits of embalming.

What determines the cost of a funeral?

Just as with other life rituals such as weddings, the cost depends on whether the family’s choices are elaborate or simple. A funeral director will provide a description of the options available and what they cost at the first family meeting or during the preplanning process.

How can I best shop and compare funeral service providers?

Talking with friends who have used the services of a funeral home is an excellent method of comparison. You might also consider stopping by a funeral home unannounced to experience how you are treated. You can read online reviews, randomly contact various firms by telephone, or ask the Better Business Bureau if any complaints have been filed against a local funeral director home.

Why is refrigeration of the remains necessary?

Unless a body is embalmed, refrigeration is the only alternative that will retard tissue decomposition. Refrigeration protects family and friends, the crematory operator and the general public from potential health hazards.

What happens if someone close to me dies away from home?

The most prudent decision would be to call the funeral service provider in your home town. The director will be able to make the necessary arrangements to transfer the deceased, relieving the family of the burden of dealing with unfamiliar people, places, and related issues.

What do funeral directors do?

Funeral directors are caregivers who safeguard the deceased until final disposition. They make arrangements for transportation of the body, complete the necessary paperwork, and implement the family’s choices. They have the experience to help the bereaved cope with the death of a loved one, and are trained to recognize when a person is having difficulty with the grieving process. They can also recommend sources of professional help.

Why have a public viewing?

Visitation is a part of many cultural and ethnic traditions, and grief specialists believe it helps the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the ritual is explained and the activity is voluntary. Many families find great comfort in the public visitation, which allows for fellowship, conversation, and reflection — all of which are very important steps in the grieving journey.

What purpose does a funeral serve?

As the customary way to acknowledge death and its finality, funerals are recognized rituals for the living to show respect for the dead. For those who are left behind, a funeral provides a place for family and friends to gather for support and to reminisce, an opportunity to celebrate the life of a loved one, and a chance to say goodbye. A funeral is also the focal point from which the healing process can begin.

Have more questions?

Contact Us or call us to talk to a licensed expert today.


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