For some, making the decision to choose cremation when a loved one passes can be a difficult one. One of the main reasons for this is that understanding what happens with a burial is easier than understanding what happens during the cremation process.
For most of us, we’ll never see what goes on behind the scenes at a crematorium, so the process can seem a bit mysterious, but understanding exactly what the process involves is an important step towards making your decision and easing some of the anxiety involved.
Modern crematoriums use large specially-designed furnaces that have been designed for cremations. The cremation process, on average, takes between two and three hours to complete. Each crematorium ensures proper identification of the deceased takes place, that all the necessary paperwork has been completed and that your loved one is handled with care and respect throughout their time in their care.
How is a body prepared for cremation?
Cremation is a respectful send off for those who have passed away, with the remaining ashes often returned to families to be scattered in a location of their choice - often places of beauty of significance, like lakes, forests, over the ocean or in the garden of a family home.
Specialist care is taken at every step of the cremation process to make sure it’s performed correctly and respectfully. Your chosen funeral provider should be able to return the ashes of your loved one to you relatively quickly after the cremation has been completed.
But how is a body prepared for cremation? Here’s our step by step guide to the cremation process from:
1. Identities are confirmed
The first step in the process is to identify the deceased. After the deceased has had their identity confirmed, they’re given a unique tag which allows the funeral team to ensure the correct person is cremated and the ashes are looked after according to the family’s wishes.
2. The body is prepared
Before the cremation, the body of the deceased is cared for by your funeral provider and prepared for the cremation. If your loved one was fitted with a pacemaker or other surgical implant this will be removed ahead of the cremation to avoid any complications. Items like jewellery may be cremated with the deceased or removed at this stage and returned to the family. Unlike with a burial, embalming is rarely performed for a cremation, so your loved one without the introduction of chemicals to their body.
At Distinct Cremations we wash and dress all of the deceased in our care before respectfully laying them in their coffin.
3. Cremating the deceased
Once the body has been prepared and carefully laid in their coffin, the cremation process can begin. The deceased will once again have their identity checked before being respectfully transported to the crematorium, where they’ll be cremated without a funeral or be placed in the crematorium chapel for their funeral service.
After the service, the coffin will be taken through to the main cremation space, where the deceased will once again have their identity checked and confirmed ahead of the cremation. When it’s time for the cremation, the coffin is placed in a specialist cremator that will complete the process. When being cremated, the deceased remains in their coffin and is never exposed directly to the fire.
4. Refining the ashes
When the cremation is complete and the ashes of the deceased have cooled down, they’re collected by a Cremation Assistant and checked over. At this point, any impurities are then removed before being transferred to a machine called a cremulator which refines the cremated remains into the fine powder we recognise as ashes.
When completed, the deceased’s ashes are carefully placed into a labelled container, ready for collection or scattering by the crematorium staff.
5. Scattered or returned to family
The final step in the process is to either have your loved one’s ashes returned to you or have their ashes scattered in one of our gardens of remembrance by the crematorium staff.. If you have the ashes returned to you, you can choose to keep them in a permanent urn or scatter them somewhere that holds a special meaning to the deceased or their family.
Is cremation the right choice?
If you’re exploring your options and wondering whether cremation is right for you, there are several options available. Depending on whether you would like people to attend, you can choose from either intimate private or unattended direct cremations at one of our high-quality crematoria.
A private cremation serves as a low-cost funeral option where a limited number of attendees are allowed. There are no precisions, flowers or pallbearers as you would expect at a traditional funeral which helps to keep costs down.
Alternatively, there are unattended direct cremations available as an option. These are cremations where your loved one’s body is respectfully prepared by our team before cremation takes place without a service or any attendees present.
If you have any questions about cremation and the processes involved, contact our team of Personal Advisors who’ll be happy to answer them.
Distinct Cremations is a trading name of Distinct Cremations Limited I Registered in England, No. 13366310 and Distinct Funeral Plans Limited (Prepaid Funeral plan provider) I Registered in England, No. 13366327 | Registered Office Westerleigh Crematorium, Westerleigh Road, Bristol BS37 8QP | Part of the Westerleigh Group |
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