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Cremation is a process for disposition of the human body. The body is placed into a casket or approved container and then placed in a special furnace, commonly called a retort. Under intense heat and flame the body is reduced to bone fragments, known as cremated human remains.
As with traditional earth burial, the type of cremation service is subject to the personal choices of the family. Such services might include visitation/calling hours, public or private funeral service with the casketed body present or a memorial service (without the body present) which may be held prior to or following the cremation process. A direct cremation is limited to the cremation process without any preparation of the body, services or memorialization.
Embalming is not necessary for the cremation process. However, embalming is appropriate for health concerns and time factors, especially if there is an open casket visitation/calling hours.
An urn is a permanent container in which cremated remains are placed. Usually urns are constructed of bronze, copper, marble, hardwoods or ceramic. Urns can vary in design and cost and are available from the funeral home.
The family may elect to keep cremated remains in a permanent container such as an urn, within their home. They may choose to place them in a family burial plot, in a niche at a mausoleum or in a columbarium providing a permanent area for future memorialization. Survivors may choose to scatter the cremated remains over ground, water or a site of special interest. This alternative may be subject to local environmental protection laws. Consult with your funeral director regarding cremation options.
Cremation Process - The remains spend a few hours in a 1,400- to 1,800-degree cremation chamber, and then the ashes are run through a processor, like a giant blender, to give them a uniform texture and smooth out any remaining bone fragments. Magnets help remove any metal objects—like surgical pins or shrapnel—from the ashes.