The reasons for preferring cremation are varied. For some, it seems a more natural process than burial. Others have environmental concerns. Still others are not sure why they feel more comfortable with cremation but are interested in learning more.
What is Cremation?
Cremation is the process of the body being reduced to its basic elements and dried bone fragments into ashes in a cremation chamber. Once the process is complete, the ashes are placed into an urn, or an alternative container and given back to you.
Cremation has become currently common considering the flexibility and low cost it provides to a family. Funerals add up quickly and a cremation service can be less expensive than a burial depending on the added services chosen by you. Although, this is depending on the service preferences of the deceased and the arrangements for a memorial service if chosen. Cremation also has its benefits of saving land, being a simpler service to arrange, and having the option to do what you wish with the ashes that would pay a tribute to your loved one.
Cremation Memorial Services
It is a common misconception that visitations and viewings only take place for a burial service. The option is available for a cremation service as well. In the case of a visitation before the cremation takes place, the family would either purchase a casket that will be cremated with the body, or they can rent one for a viewing. When a cremation service is selected rather than a burial, embalmment of the body is not included, although it is highly recommended to be done prior to an open casket viewing.
If your family chooses to first have a cremation and than have a ceremony, the urn would be placed at the front of the room, in the center, next to a photo of the deceased. There is also the option of a grave side ceremony after a viewing or visitation, in which the urn would be buried in a traditional grave plot.
What to do with the ashes?
Although there is no public health risk involved in scattering ashes, refrain from scattering ashes in a place that would be obvious to others. Instead try places such as:
Scattering garden. Most cemeteries have an established scattering garden that you can inquire about when considering this option.
Scattering ashes by air. Cremains have been deemed a non-hazardous substance by the U.S. Government, therefore allowing you to scatter the ashes of a loved on by air in a place of your choosing. Be sure to consider others around you when choosing a scattering location.
At sea. After scattering the ashes of a loved one at sea you must notify the EPA within 30 days. When choosing a good place at sea to scatter ashes, keep in mind that the federal Clean Water Act requires cremated remains to be at least three nautical miles from shore while also refraining from beaches or wading pools.
On land. There are many different places you could choose to scatter your loved one’s ashes such as, public land, private land, and federal land. In most cases if you are respectful, have a quiet ceremony, and follow regulations and rules, you should have no issues with the decision of your location. However, it is in your best interest to seek permission from a private land owner, or a federal national park.
Also, depending on your zone, city, and county different regulations may be set in place for how cremated remains can be scattered. Use your best judgement and keep others in mind as well.