Berth and Rosenthal Funeral Home
- Understanding Cremation Options
- Disposition Options with Cremation
- Frequently asked Questions about Cremation
- Value of Funeral Service
- Quality Caskets to Honor Your Loved One
- Donating your body to Science
- Consumers Guide to Burial Vaults
- Homesteaders Life Company
There are some issues to consider when deciding between cremation and burial. Families may encounter some discomfort with cremation and resistance from family members for a variety of personal reasons.
Will your family be comfortable with cremation? Some family members are disturbed at the thought of death itself, much less cremation, which many perceive as a cold and uninvolved process. They may resist your wishes when the time comes. Address it with your family now if you want to be cremated. You can put their unease to rest, and have peace of mind knowing your wishes will be carried out.
Direct cremation is another option--many people request to eliminate "all the bother of funeral services" for family members. Funeral services aren't provided for the deceased--they're there to help support
and comfort the living. Take time to consider family and friends and their need to work through the grieving process before you make this decision.
Scattering requests should be given careful consideration as well. Emptying the urn of all that remains of a loved one can be a traumatic experience--carefully consider the feelings of the family in deciding whether or not to do this.
Another factor you should consider when deciding whether or not to choose cremation include the fact that crematories are operated by dedicated people with great respect for the deceased.
For purposes of safety and dignity, it's generally required that bodies are cremated in a rigid container such as a casket or other container approved for cremation.
Restrictions on cremation are different from state to state, even from one cemetery to the next. Depending on the final resting place you choose, requirements may include an urn, urn vault, and other items. Making your choices now can help your family down the road. In most cases, cremation satisfies federal clean air requirements.
You should check to ensure that all personal property has been removed from the deceased at the funeral home and returned to the family or executor unless otherwise instructed. Families should also be mindful of valuables and mementos placed with the loved one. For more on the cremation process, and what happens before, during, and after, visit the cremation process information on Funeralplan.com provided by the Cremation Association of North America.
With cremation, you actually have more choices for a final resting place than with a typical earth burial.
With interment, you can choose burial in the family plot, church garden, or other memorial site. You can also choose a columbarium, which is an arrangement of niches, indoor or outdoor, with memorial identity
plaques. This is also sometimes referred to as an urn garden.
You can choose to have memorial prayers and religious rites performed at the graveside with cremation, just as you can with a typical earth burial. You can also choose to have a marker or monument as a permanent testimony to the life and the history of the deceased, and as a place of pilgrimage for loved ones to visit.
With cremation, you also have other options that aren't available with a typical earth burial.
Scattering the Cremated Remains
Options with scattering remains include scattering within a memorial garden or cemetery; with the comfort of identifying marker, plaque, or memorial book entry to memorialize the loved one; or over water or in some other site loved by the deceased.
You can also do partial scattering, in which some of the cremated remains are scattered and the rest are retained in an urn for interment.
Cremated remains can also be placed in two or more urns. This offers the comfort of interment near more than one family member when families are divided by great distances.
by The Cremation
Association of North America
How is a cremation service different from a traditional funeral service?
It isn't. At least it doesn't have to be different. The extent and content of a cremation service is entirely subject to the wishes of the family. They may choose as much or as little formality as they feel they want
to have, and they also have more options when cremation is chosen. Quite often a memorial service is held after cremation has occurred, or the family can gather at a convenient time for the final committal of the cremated remains.
Is a casket required for cremation?
Most crematories associated with CANA require that the body at least be enclosed and in an acceptably rigid container. This container or casket must be strong enough to assure the protection of the health and safety of the operator.
It should provide a proper covering for the body and meet reasonable standards of respect and dignity. Some crematories will accept metal caskets, but most require that the casket or container be fashioned of a combustible material. The body is cremated in the same enclosure in which it arrives at the crematory.
How is cremation accomplished?
The enclosed body is placed in the cremation chamber, where through heat and evaporation it is reduced to its basic elements, which are referred to as cremated remains. It may surprise many to learn that ashes are not the final result, since cremated remains have neither the appearance nor the chemical properties of ashes--they are, in fact, bone fragments. After preparation, these elements are either placed in a permanent urn or in a temporary container that's suitable for transport.
Depending upon the size of the body, there are normally three to nine pounds of fragments resulting. Some crematories process the cremated remains, thereby reducing the space they require. Others do not alter their condition after they are removed from the chamber.
Isn't cremation an end in itself?
Some people may regard it as such, but most families feel that the cremated remains of someone they love should be afforded a resting place that can be identified by the name and dates. This is memorialization. Most families find that a memorial, regardless of size, serves a basic human need to
remember and be remembered.
What choices for memorialization are available with cremation?
A final resting place for cremated remains can be provided by various means. The family may choose from a full selection of urns for permanent containment of the cremated remains. The urns may be placed
in a columbarium, which is a building or structure where single niche space or family units may be selected. Niches are recessed compartments enclosed by either glass protecting the engraved urn or ornamental fronts upon which the name and dates are featured.
Of course, family lots may be used, and cemeteries often permit the interment of more than one person in an adult space if cremation has occurred. In many cemeteries, there are also areas specifically designed for this purpose, which are called urn gardens.
What about scattering cremated remains (cremains)?
This may be legally done in most areas, but CANA members believe that in consideration of the descendants of the departed that some form of memorialization should be provided. Furthermore, there
are reasons for not scattering, because it is for many a very traumatic experience. It can be soul-shaking to spill out all that is mortal of someone you have known and loved. One should realize how much is being asked of the person who is to do the scattering.
Some crematories provide scattering gardens within their dedicated property, often with the option of personal memorials. The use of dedicated property assures the site chosen will not be developed for some other use at some future time.
How does the cost of cremation differ from burial or entombment?
The basic charge for just cremation is somewhat less than traditional burial. However, with so many items of service available to the family both in the funeral service before and in the mode of disposition after,
it's not possible to make an accurate comparison. Again, the family has the option to select as much or as little as they choose, and with cremation they have more options.
Is embalming necessary with cremation?
No, but the factors of time, health, and possible legal regulations and religious beliefs might make embalming prior to cremation either appropriate or necessary. As a point of information, heart pacemakers or similar devices should be removed, because they may become dangerous when subjected to the extreme heat of the cremation chamber.
Are more people choosing cremation today?
Yes, more people are choosing cremation today. The subject should certainly be resolved among family members since that determination will have to be made at the time of death. The family should visit the crematory to learn what's offered in the way of services and memorial property.
The family should get together ahead of time to decide what is best for all. Arrangements for memorialization also should be made at this time. This way, one of life's most difficult decisions need not be made alone at a time of grief and confusion.
This information was updated September, 2000.
The purpose of a funeral is to provide a way of commemorating a life and drawing together friends and family members so that they can support each other as they share memories. Although different religious communities have created set formats or rituals that they follow in conducting funeral services, there really is not a right or wrong way to do a funeral.
The most important thing to keep in mind when creating a service or commemoration is that it should be reflective of the person who has died. While religious elements may play a part, it should also include stories about the person's life that help everyone recapture and revisit their own memories. Sometimes this is best accomplished by having friends or family members share their reflections as part of the service. Some people personalize the service with special music (which may be religious or non-religious). Others bring in pictures to have at the service. Sometimes favorite things that belonged to the deceased are integrated into the ceremony such as wood carvings, golf clubs or even a motor cycle.
The goal is to give a true sense of who this person was. There is nothing wrong with telling funny stories about the person who died: a funeral recognizes the sad event of a death, but can include humor.
Whether or not an open casket is part of the ceremony is an individual family choice. The main reason that we have any "viewing," is because that allows people to have a physical presence to focus on when saying their goodbyes. Since most people are very visually inclined by
nature, it seems to help them to see the person for the death to be "real" to them and allows them to better focus to begin to tidy up the loose ends that they have with this person. A funeral helps people begin to complete their relationship with the person who died, and sometimes seeing the body helps.
The value of the service depends on how it is constructed. Our family attempts to create funerals that leave families and friends feeling very lucky that the deceased was a part of their lives: the music, the stories, the whole nature of the person being well integrated into the service that it captures just who they were.
Most families select caskets for their beauty and finish. But there are a lot of little things about high-quality caskets that most people never notice--and that frankly aren't meant to stand out.
Details in design, construction, and finish are meant to enhance the display of the casket in an attractive and dignified manner and to keep the tasks involved in handling, closing, and transport to a smooth minimum. These are details that all good caskets share.
There are many different types of metal caskets, and each type has its unique features and advantages.
Bronze, copper, and stainless steel are considered semi-precious metals. Steel caskets are categorized based on the thickness of the material used (e.g., 16-gauge steel, 18-gauge steel, and 20-gauge steel.)
The oldest material known to man makes it a natural and environmentally sound choice when selecting a casket. Hardwood is also strong, beautiful, and shock-resistant. And just as no two pieces of hardwood are exactly the same, each Aurora casket handcrafted of hardwood has its own, warming identity. Choosing a hardwood casket also leaves a legacy for the next generation because wood is a renewable resource.
The most popular species of hardwood caskets are:
Professional woodworkers, skilled in the art of cabinetry, follow many steps to ensure that the quality of the final product is comparable to that of the finest furniture. These craftsmen apply a wide variety of exterior finishes that accent the graining pattern that is unique to each species of wood.
The need is great for anatomical gifts in the majority of medical programs throughout the United States. The lack of anatomical subjects in many schools forces anatomy departments to request shared bodies from other schools or institutions. In many situations, five or more students have to share one donated body, which limits hands-on education.
In addition to basic anatomy as a foundation course, donated bodies are also used for teaching surgery, orthopedics, ophthalmology, cardiology, neurology, and other specialty fields Millions of lives have been saved, and countless individuals enjoy optimum health today because of anatomical study using donated human gifts.
Whether donating a body to medical science for altruistic or pragmatic reasons, donation of a human body is not complicated if you know all the rules and regulations for each medical program. The two most important things to remember in all whole body donation programs are:
* No medical schools or state anatomical boards in the United States are permitted by law to purchase bodies from families or estates.
* Physical condition of the body, and not age, is the important factor in body donation. There is usually no upper age limit in donation of a human body to medical science.
Organs and whole body donation are two separate programs, with different needs. A potential donor must make a decision to either donate his or her whole body or individual organ parts at death. With few exceptions, organ and tissue donations at death will prevent whole body donation for medical education. The exception would be the cornea of the eye, which can be donated without affecting whole body donation.
One of the most important things to be stressed here is that a potential body donor should not have a false sense of financial security concerning whole body donation. Many donated bodies are rejected at death for various reasons by medical schools. Be prepared with alternate burial or cremation plans for final disposition.
Burial vaults or grave liners, also known as burial containers, are commonly used in "traditional," full-service funerals. The vault or liner is placed in the ground before burial, and the casket is lowered into it at burial.
The purpose is to prevent the ground from caving in as the casket deteriorates over time. A grave liner is made of reinforced concrete and will satisfy any cemetery requirement. Grave liners cover only the top and sides of the casket. A burial vault is more substantial than a grave liner.
Burial vaults surround the casket in concrete or another material and may be sold with a warranty of protective strength.
State laws do not require a vault or liner, but many cemeteries require some type of outer burial container to prevent the grave from sinking in the future.
Neither grave liners nor burial vaults are designed to prevent the eventual decomposition of human remains.
Homesteaders Life Company provides insurance, financial products, and related services to the funeral industry, emphasizing the integration of advance funeral planning as an extension of funeral service.
Homesteaders' business philosophy is to assure a business culture and financial philosophy that will provide long-term security for our policy owners, customers, and employees.
Security of funds is Homesteaders' greatest concern - a concern shared by their funeral home partners and policyholders. In addition to providing superior customer service and support, it is imperative that funeral funds are available at the time of need. How they invest - the quality and diversification of their investments - is the reason funeral homes have confidence in offering Homesteaders insurance funding products to families wishing to prearrange.
Premium dollars are invested in high-quality, well-diversified bonds. Homesteaders' investments are of high quality, averaging AA- as rated by Standard & Poor's. The vast majority of the portfolio is rated A or
above. Our investment philosophy is key to your assurance that your advance funeral funding will be there when your family needs it.
Homesteaders was founded in Des Moines, Iowa in the summer of 1905 - twenty-two interested parties gathered at the home of John E. Paul to discuss the formation of a fraternal order. Less than a year later, "The Homesteaders" emerged with the purpose of providing insurance benefits to its members for "final" expenses. Policy Certificate Number One was issued in Paul's name on February 23, 1906.
Elected the association's first president, Paul declared a theme of "neighborly cooperation, fraternity, mutual helpfulness, protection, and patriotism."
A Pioneering Spirit
The name "Homesteaders" reflects the spirit of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when many were migrating west to find their futures. The pioneers who braved the elements and other perils were considered visionaries and survivalists - ideals well suited to an organization whose membership depended on this kind of resolve.