Cremation Today And Memorialization
By Peter Watts
Cremation today is becoming increasingly popular. The
number of people choosing incinerations has increased
significantly over the past few years.
Statistics show that in the United States 15% of all
services are incinerations and the trend shows by 2040
this will increase to over 40%.
In Canada statistics show that 56% of services today are
incinerations and it is projected to increase to over
60% by 2040.
Incinerations have been in existence since the early
Stone Age. It is probable that incinerations were
performed during those times in areas such as Egypt,
Asia and Europe.
During the late Stone Age, incinerations then began to
expand across northern Europe, Spain and Portugal.
Cinerary gardens developed in Italy, Hungary and
continued to spread to Ireland.
The Grecian Trend then evolved influencing cremations
became quite a popular custom. So much so that the by
the 5th century, the Romans issued a decree to disallow
incinerations entirely in the city.
During the Roman Empire, incinerations were common and
the remains were transferred in designated funerary urns
and then stored in Columbariums for permanent
When we describe the cremation process, it is the simple
process of reducing the body to small particles that
resemble sand and bone fragments. The bone fragments
themselves are further processed to reduce them to small
particles as well.
Without limiting families wishes, incineration increases
one's options when it comes to planning a funeral
This by no means eliminates the wish to have a funeral
ceremony. On the contrary, a service is often planned
before the incineration itself takes place and in most
cases is very similar to a funeral service that opts for
In fact, today ceremonies can be as traditional as they
can be contemporary. The choices made are personalized
to every individual and will always reflect and
commemorate the beloved lives of those that have passed
PLANNING A CREMATION
When making arrangements to plan a cremation ceremony,
after you have chosen your funeral director, he/she will
have a significant role in the final outcome.
Understand that they are there to provide you with
advice and guidance.
Some general information will be required such as:
- Does the family wish to have a period of visitation?-
Does the family wish to have an open or closed casket
viewing?- What type of music does the family wish to
have if any?- Does the family wish to have a religious
ceremony in a chapel or your place of worship?- Does the
family prefer to have a private ceremony reserved only
for the immediate family?
Once the cremation ceremony has been planned, the next
step is to establish a permanent resting place for
The disposition of cremated remains is entirely
dependant on the type of memorilization the family
wishes to have.
Cremated remains are permanently transferred to a
funerary urn or funeral urns before the permanent
resting place is established.
The funerary urn can be burried at the cemetery in
either a family plot, an urn garden or conditional to
local, provincial/state laws, scattered in a scattering
Other choices may be to place the urn in a columbarium
If a burial plot or an urn garden is chosen, a permanent
memorial can be erected. Choices may include a monument
or grass marker made of granite or bonze.
If scattering is preferred, a Book of Rememberance is
what is commonly used where the deceased name is added
to provide a place of pilgrimage to celebrate the life
of a loved one.
These and other decisions will need to be made. Whenever
possible, pre-arrangements are much less of a daunting
task and more often than not, the family truly
appreciates when arrangements are made ahead of time.
When grieving, planning a ceremony is not an easy task.
EXPLAINING CREMATION TO A CHILD
When explaining death to a child and the death of a
beloved family member it's important for parents to know
that this experience has a profound impact not only
adults but children as well. Children will experience
grief as much as adults do.
What is essential to remember is that children react and
deal with death in various different ways as age
Their level of understanding, emotional development and
ability to grasp life's experiences must be taken into
consideration when explaining death to children.
Helping a child understand that death is a natural
occurrence in life and grief is completely normal is
dependant on an adult's ability to speak about it
comfortably and openly.
Children rely on adults to confirm that feeling sad and
it's all right to cry.
COMMON QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
It's not uncommon to have a multitude of questions when
planning a cremation service especially when we're doing
it for the first time.
How do we describe the cremation process?
What's appropriate for funeral dress, Funeral etiquette?
How do we explain cremation to a child?
Where can we find cinerary and funeral urns and what do
they look like?
These answers and more...
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