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Cremation is simply a form of disposition. The body, placed in a crematable casket, is transported to a crematorium. In the cremation chamber, a process of heat and evaporation reduces the body to its original elements “bone fragments”, not ashes.
The act of cremation does not signify the completion of events relating to the death.
Some provision needs to be made for permanent placement with respect and dignity.
The act of placing cremains in a permanent setting, rather than disposal by scattering, fills the emotional need to keep a loved one’s memory alive and to respect the deceased with a place of honor.
To determine the answer to that question, ask yourself :
Remember that your family – not you — must cope with the choices you make. Cremation is not always the best option, especially if your loved ones experience any negative emotions from that choice. Your absence leaves a hole in the lives of those who knew you.
Marriage brings a change of place, leaving our family to be on our own. Death also requires the need to leave our home and place our mortal remains in a place dedicated to our memory. Experience has proven that people need the emotional closure of a formal funeral ceremony and a permanent place of remembrance. Cremation does not negate those needs.
The sacred grounds of cemeteries provide society with the opportunity to honor every life – to mark each passing with an appropriate memorial or monument.
The “cremains” are placed in a container or containers of your choice, depending upon your preference for disposition. Your personal preferences and those of your family members may include one or more of the following:
Interment: Most families select memorialization in the cemetery of their choice, thus providing a place of permanent rest and remembrance. An interesting statistic from a 2000 consumer survey showed that only 4% of respondents planned to place the cremated remains in a closet, under a bed or in another storage area; however, in 46% of cases, that is where they ended up when no provision had been made for more permanent placement. Clearly, planning for your personal choices and making them known is important to prevent a similar situation from happening in your family.
Scattering: If scattering is a probable disposal choice for you and your family consider scattering only a portion of the cremains while retaining a portion for more permanent placement. In the same survey, almost 50% of respondents indicated a desire to scatter, but only 22% actually performed the scattering, indicating a reluctance to do something they might regret later, since scattering is an irrevocable act.
Keepsakes: Smaller “keepsake” urns are available for a token portion of the cremated remains. These very personal & decorative containers are designed to provide the family with one or several keepsakes for personal remembrance, display, or permanent memorialization.
Cemeteries serve a unique purpose in every community. They are the permanent, public repositories of the history and heritage of the people who lived there. Unlike other cultures such as India where community furnaces provide for the cremation of several people at a time, or some European countries who “rent” cemetery space for 20 or 30 years, then exhume and resell the sites, our culture has always reverenced the deceased with a permanent resting place. In fact, memorial estates (cemeteries), both large and small, trace our country’s history since before its inception. Whether your family chooses traditional burial or cremation, a place of remembrance and honor is a legacy for future generations. A place of permanent memorialization serves several purposes:
To remember and honor your loved ones with a lasting tribute of his or her life gives the family the ability to acknowledge their love for the deceased and assists in the grieving process.
The cemetery provides a place of remembrance and tribute for future generations who although they may not visit the site often, will still know that “great-grandma” or favorite “Uncle Bill” is interred in a specific location.
Cemeteries provide a continuity of history. There are millions of people in America doing genealogy research and discovering once unknown family ties. Cemeteries often serve as a resource of such information, but we cannot collectively provide what we do not know.
For these and other reasons, we strongly encourage families who contemplate scattering of their loved one’s cremated remains to consider a partial scattering for the ceremony and beauty of the event, while retaining a portion of the cremains for permanent memorialization in a cemetery setting.
Each life lived has great value: to our Father God, to the country and community where he or she lived, and to the family – past, present, and future generations – to whom they belong. We encourage you to discuss your personal preferences with your family and to make pre-arrangements to ensure that those preferences will be carried out. Pre-arrangements may seem uncomfortable, but it is far less stressful, both emotionally and financially, than the extreme stress of having to make decisions during a major life crisis.
For more information, request our Cremation Consumer Guide