What is cremation?
A: Cremation is the technical heating process that reduces human remains to bone fragments. The reduction takes place through heat and evaporation.
Is a casket required? A: A casket for cremation itself is not required; however a cremation container is necessary. Illinois cremation law requires that a body at least be enclosed in an acceptable rigid container. The container must be strong enough to assure the protection of the health and safety of the operator. If your family chooses to have visitation at the funeral home, it will be necessary to have a casket in which to place the body. If you do not wish to purchase a casket, please ask us about renting one. Prior to taking the body to the crematory, the body is transferred into another container. Many funeral homes also offer special caskets designed specifically for cremation. These special caskets are attractive, yet they usually do not have the additional amenities found on caskets designed for ground burial or to be placed in a mausoleum.
Is a cremation service different from a traditional service? A: A cremation service does not have to be different from a traditional service at all unless your family wants it to be. A cremation service can include a public visitation or private gathering at a funeral home, where the deceased is in a casket with cremation and memorialization to follow. Or, the family can choose direct cremation in which the deceased is taken from the place of death to the funeral home for paperwork to be completed then directly to the crematory.
Sometimes it is necessary for families to have their loved one cremated immediately then hold a memorial service later when family and friends from far and near are able to gather in one place to celebrate the life lived by their loved one.
Regardless of the service you select or when you choose to have a service, we recommend for your family to conduct some form of ritual in order for you to have closure and to begin the grieving process.
Parrott & Ramsey Funeral Homes will be happy to personalize any type of funeral service you select.
Should I arrange for cremation prior to death? A: Pre-arranging is always advisable when possible. Making arrangements ahead of time allows people to make their own decisions about cremation, ground burial or entombment. People are better able to evaluate the options available during a pre-planning stage than at the time of death when emotional stress is typically very high. Kentucky law requires that either a pre-authorization form has been signed by the person to which cremation is to be performed along with one signature by the next-of-kin at the time of death. Otherwise, if a pre-authorization form has not been signed, all of the next-of-kin will be required to sign an authorization form for the cremation. When your choice of final disposition is cremation, providing pre-authorization will remove the burden from your next-of-kin at the time of your death.
What do the remains look like? A: Many people believe that remains look like ash from a fireplace, however this belief is untrue. The remains do not have the chemical properties or the physical appearance of ashes; they are in fact bone fragment. During the cremation process the water from the body, which makes up about 75% of body mass, is evaporated. Fragments of bone are all that remain. Typically the amount of remains can fit into a container similar in size to a three pound coffee can.
How is cremation accomplished? A: There are basically four steps to complete the cremation process. 1. Pre-heat the cremation chamber. 2. Encased body is placed into the chamber for few hours. 3. Cremation unit cools down. 4. Remains are packaged. It takes approximately 4-1/2 hours to complete the cremation process from pre-heating the unit to packaging the remains.
Where can remains be scattered? A: The Commonwealth of Kentucky does not have stipulations regarding where remains can be scattered. Cemeteries are required by law to have a designated location, usually a scattering garden, for the purpose of scattering remains. If your family wants to scatter the remains in a public place you should first get approval from the local governmental official who regulates that county or state. In addition, because some individuals are offended by the cremation process, it also is recommended that when scattering in public places that it is done in a secluded area. Additionally, it is important to remember that scattering the remains is irrevocable. Even if the deceased pre-arranged for a scattering location, or your family chooses to scatter in a public place, we recommend that you only scatter a portion of the remains in the public location and place the other portion in a location at a cemetery or other facility where a memorial can be placed. Your family will then have a place to back to the memorial and visit. At the same time you will be abiding by the wishes of the deceased.
Does my body have to be embalmed? A: Embalming is not necessary for cremation. However, if the family chooses a visitation with viewing, we recommend that that body be embalmed to improve the appearance of the deceased individual.
If I'm cremated do I have to consult with a funeral director? A: Yes. The law of the Commonwealth of Kentucky requires that you be brought to the crematory by a licensed funeral director. The funeral director is responsible for picking up the body at the place of death, providing proof of proper identification, completing all legal documentations prior to cremation and also assisting the family in honoring the loved family member or friend. Parrott & Ramsey Funeral Home has licensed funeral directors on staff who are available to assist you.
Are more people choosing cremation today? A: Kentucky as a whole does not have very many more people choosing to be cremated today compared to twenty years ago. However, across the United States, more people are choosing to be cremated today compared to twenty years ago. In fact, 28.5% of all bodies were cremated in 2003 compared to 46% percent which is the projected rate in 2025 by the Cremation Association of North America. A person who lives in the western United States, New England, Florida, Alaska, Hawaii or Michigan is more likely to choose cremation than people in Kentucky.
Are there any medical conditions that will hinder a person from being cremated? A: There are several medical conditions that need to be addressed prior to cremation. Pacemakers and medical infusion pumps must be removed because they are highly explosive. Also, a person who has been given radiation therapy for bone cancer in the past two months may not be able to be cremated because of the radioactivity still in the body. This same person can be cremated if radiation therapy has not occurred in two months. If there is a slight chance that radioactivity is still present in a person's body but the body is still cremated, the cemetery director will still mark the cremated remains as a potential hazard.
How do I tell my family that I want to be cremated? A: One of the best ways to tell family members is to simply state that you are pre-planning and you have decided that you would like to be cremated. If family members object to your decision, you need to be prepared to either change your mind about being cremated or try to educate them. Most people who object to cremation do so because they lack information about cremation. Let us know if you need assistance educating anyone about cremation.
Does my religion allow me to be cremated? A: Some religious faiths object to cremation, while others virtually require it. If a person is concerned that cremation may or may not fit into their religious beliefs, it is best to contact a member of the clergy to make a determination.
Can a person wear jewelry during cremation? A: A person can wear jewelry during cremation; however, the family is advised in pre-approved forms that the jewelry will not be recognizable after the cremation process is complete. Many people feel that jewelry should remain with the person it belongs to even after death. Other families request that jewelry be removed prior to cremation then placed on top of the remains in the urn thereafter. If you wish for jewelry to be passed down to future generations, we advise you to request that it be removed prior to cremation.
What memorialization choices are available? A: There are several choices for memorialization of cremated remains. Your family can select from a variety of urns for permanent containment. The urn may then be placed in a columbium within a mausoleum, be buried in a regular lot or in an urn garden, or scattered in a scattering garden. Each of these choices allows for a memorial plaque with the name and dates of birth and death of the cremated person. Parrott & Ramsey Funeral Home will discuss these options with you when you prearrange your funeral or during an at-need arrangement visit.
Isn't cremation an end in itself?
A: Under Kentucky Law, cremation within itself is final disposition. Both in terms of cremation and scattering. The process is irrevocable. It is recommended that your family find a place to memorialize the remains. A permanent location gives not only your current living family and friends, but future generations a place to which they may visit and commemorate that individual.
How does the cost of cremation compare with burial or entombment? A: The cost can be comparable or can be considerably less expensive depending upon how traditional the family wishes to go with the services before and after the cremation. The cost is according to the wishes and traditions of your family. Contact us if you are considering cremation and would like to learn more about your options.