We at J.B. Ratterman & Sons offer the following collection of helpful information as practical insight when cremation is being considered. Cremation Services are best employed when they provide for the CELEBRATION of a life-well-lived!
Please ponder these important life’s end considerations.
Remember, whether earth burial, entombment or cremation, it is the path taken there with family that sows the seeds of hope and healing!
Why is “FAMILY” The Focus of Traditional Cremation Funeral Care?
- “Family” that group of people who hold perpetual title to us, is the most important class of people in our emotional life. This group is easily the preferred “go-to-group” for one’s own personal anxieties to be safely vented, validated and resolved…That “love conquers all” is a saying rooted in family love and acceptance…(After the loss of a loved-one, other “like-family” groups will also often provide important emotional shelter and peace of mind support.)…Our own emotional health and well-being is always supported by family and “like-family” groups.
- It is though the family’s physical sharing of hugs, tears, and laughter that the mystery of reconciliation seems to occur. Emotional relief is rooted in love and supported by the passage of time. It will not be hurried; but it can be anticipated and counted on as life’s new order is allowed to be.
- Private Family Cremation Care can be offered to accompany Direct Cremation Services. These additional services provide an opportunity for the family group to physically unite; body, mind and spirit. Not until the physical connection is made does the family’s spiritual work of validating a shared reality and affirming a shared future begin. Physical family connection is essential to setting the stage for healing after the loss of a loved-one.
Present day American Funeral Service has its beginnings in the middle of the nineteenth century when deceased loved ones were prepared for burial by their local undertaker, then returned home to lay in-state until time for the funeral ceremony and burial. It was a time when family and friends gathered together for support and oneness at life’s most difficult family event, the loss of one of their own.
Since the early twentieth century, local funeral homes have served as American’s safe place for difficult family encounters at life’s most difficult family time.
We see in today’s Direct Cremation practice, an opportunity to return to those inner community roots by preparing the loved one’s earthly body (prior to the cremation process) for a private family “last good-bye” and gathering time. That gathering time is best provided by the family’s local funeral home.
What is Cremation?
Cremation is a centuries-old funeral rite that is growing in preference in Europe, Asia and the United States. In Cremation, once life has left the body, the body is allowed to be consumed by flames so that only ashes and bone fragments remain. (as cremains).
Why are more and more families choosing cremation?
There are many reasons why Cremation With Services and Cremation Without Services is being selected as a preferred choice in the final disposition of one’s body.
- Personal and spiritual philosophies
- Simplicity and convenience
- Financial considerations
- Greater acceptance within religious church communities
- More people now live away from their family roots, and therefore historic traditions
- Economy of earth space
What is Private Family Cremation Care?
Private Family Cremation Care provides for special attention to both the body of the deceased and to the body of the family whose wellness suffers from the loss of one of its own.
It blends the core strength of traditional funeral service with the efficiency of direct cremation.
In Private Family Cremation Care, before cremation of the body takes place, the family that has been touched by death is provided a quiet gathering space by their local funeral home where they can be in the presence of their loved-one. Family members are allowed this private viewing time for the sharing of memories, prayer, exchanging hugs, and other expressions of love; the family group now celebrating the lives of all within the circle of final farewell. This time of togetherness begins to fill the empty feelings associated with loss; and emotional healing does begin.
Is embalming required for cremation?
No. However public health concerns, time constraints, and the type of services chosen might make embalming appropriate or necessary prior to cremation services. For example, embalming is desirable for family gatherings to insure that the loved-one is presentable in appearance and free from communicable disease; so therefore safe physically to touch.
In many cases, the body is held in a specially designed refrigeration unit until time for cremation. This almost eliminates the costs associated with embalming. (Short-term preservation may be a consideration to allow for family travel schedules.)
May memorial services still be held?
Yes. In fact, cremation offers more options. A cremation service today allows families the opportunity to choose as much or as little formality and participation as they want or need. Memorial services may be held shortly after the death or they may be arranged at a later date to accommodate family preferences.
What may be done with a love-one’s cremated remains, (Cremains)?
The loved-one’s family may choose an urn for permanent containment of ashes to be kept either temporarily in the home, or permanently in a columbarium; a room or small building where niche spaces may be purchased . Also, most cemeteries permit more than one person to be interred in an adult burial space if cremation is chosen. Today, as the popularity for cremation increases, more and more churches are constructing Memorial Gardens on the church property for their members’ ashes to directly be placed in the earth.
What about the scattering of Cremains?
Since Cremains are essentially an inert oxidized substance, they cannot cause a chemical reaction when brought in contact with other materials. However, permits may be required. Federal, State and Local laws should be reviewed prior to scattering cremated remain on public property. Written permission may be required, particularly for scattering on private property.
Your Own Cremation Considerations and Pre-Planning!
Think about your own pre-planned funeral arrangement just as you would in honoring the life of a loved-one. Consider the role that a personalized service would play. Sharing your convictions about life’s inevitable challenges and choices through special music, scripture passages, poems and readings can tell a rich tale!
Cremation With Services provides your family and friends the opportunity to find support in one another as they physically gather for the purpose of showing support for one another.
Cremation offered through a Funeral Director’s Services can be arranged to follow either an open or a private visitation gathering time; with or without your prepared body present. Services usually conclude with a Funeral Ceremony designed to appropriately honor the life, love and unique character of One of God’s Own. Your local funeral home can offer experienced guidance in helping you to plan for your own celebration of life.
Memorial Visitations and Memorial Funeral Ceremonies
A Memorial Service is a scheduled event where family and friends gather, reminisce, and honor the life of a loved one. Their loved one’s body is not present, but photographs, hobby and achievement memorabilia are often arranged to create a fitting tribute to a life well-lived. Memorial Visitations can be planned for any desired length of time and are usually followed by a Memorial Funeral Ceremony.
If the loved one’s body has already been cremated, the love-one’s ashes are often present in an urn.
Costs for Memorial Visitation and Memorial Funeral Ceremonies vary community to community. Often the services scheduled in the morning are the least costly while those in the afternoon are a bit more and the Memorial Services during the evening hours cost the most.
Final Resting Place
In choosing Cremation, a final resting place can be provided in many different and creative ways. You may select from a wide variety of beautiful urns, which can be kept in your possession, or placed in a columbarium building that contains niche spaces for permanent placement.
Urns can be interred in a family burial space at a local cemetery. This then allows for a permanent statement of dates-of-life to be inscribed on the cemetery marker or monument.
Scattering gardens, a favored option by many, are available at many community cemeteries.
A family may wish to purchase keepsake mementos by which to personally remember their loved-one. Keepsakes such as miniature urns or keepsake jewelry items are widely available today and are offered for sale through local funeral homes.
Need To Know when A Loved one Dies
Immediately upon death, medial or police authorities must be summoned to determine the nature of its cause. This must be done before the deceased body can be removed from the place where death occurred. If there is a question concerning the cause of death, the local medical examiner may have the body removed to his/her facility for examination.
When death occurs in a hospital, the hospital staff will usually notify the funeral home on behalf of the family. The funeral home will immediately dispatch staff to retrieve the love-one’s body and prepare it for final disposition. (earth burial or cremation). If no family gathering or viewing is requested, it may not be necessary for embalming to take place. However, it is recommended and usually required by funeral homes and cremation services that a positive identification of the deceased is made by a close family member prior to cremation.
If organs are to be donated, this must be arranged for with the hospital staff prior to release of a love-one’s body to the funeral home. For information on organ donation, consult www.organdonor.gov or www.mdtransplant.org.
If cremation is requested without family viewing, the body may be held (without embalming) in a specially refrigerated unit to preserve it until cremation can be arranged.
The First Funeral Arrangements Conference
When preparing to meet with the funeral director for the Funeral Arrangements Conference, gather together the following:
Your loved-one’s full name, address, social security number, birth date and place of birth, and veteran information (military discharge or DD 214).
Their parents’ names, including mother’s maiden name; the name of their children, sisters and brothers and number of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and possibly great-great-grandchildren.
Your loved one’s educational experience, occupation, memberships, hobbies, and note-worthy achievements.
And finally, the desired place of funeral, the funeral minister, cemetery information, and life insurance information, if life insurance is to be used to play the funeral bill.
In addition, your funeral director will need:
Clothing for your loved-one to wear including foundation garments.
Photograph (showing hair-style/trim pattern for beard or mustache)
Please bring everything to your first conference at the funeral home.
NOTE: Signed Authorization For Cremation, if not done before death by the decedent must be authorized by signature of the following:
- Surviving Spouse
- Or, if none, majority of one’s children.
- Or, if none, both parents
- Or, if none, majority of one’s siblings
Pre-arrangement is one big Love Note…To your family
Planning ahead for difficult times always makes sense, and usually saves money. Planning ahead for a specific time when the family will be without one of its own, offers them an invaluable road-map over uncharted terrain!
Here are some important considerations:
- Invite those family members who will be in charge of decision making to review and perhaps discuss your wishes. Write your wishes down and provide those family decision makers their own copy to hold on to.
- Note which funeral home you wish to entrust with the care of your family, and the implementation of your funeral wishes.
- Note your choice of clergy or others to address your family with spiritual comforts and challenges; for life without you will be a new experience.
- Decide where your celebration of life should take place, (Church, synagogue, funeral home, other).
- Determine a final resting place (choice of cemetery or cremains disposition).
- Consider your favorite music, readings and scripture passages to perhaps be shared at funeral time.
- Other personally important details that could be helpful….
- Note for them the location of important papers, documents, military record, (DD for 214), bank accounts and investment deeds, records and especially computer data-base passwords and account numbers.
- Finally, write a note to your family of how they have been important to you…Save it for them in a separate place.
Once pre-planned arrangements have been completed, your funeral home will offer to maintain a copy for safe keeping.
Remember, this is a living document…You may update and make changes whenever appropriate
-Life Changes…All The Time