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Frequently Asked Questions: Cremation

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Our funeral home staff has compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions about cremation to help you make informed and educated decisions when discussing funeral arrangements.

What is cremation?
Cremation is a means of final disposition as opposed to in-ground burial. It is the process of using high temperatures and evaporation to reduce a body to its most basic elements. Some people prefer cremation as it accelerates the process of "ashes to ashes, dust to dust."

Why do people choose cremation?
Many people chose cremation for its simplicity or personal preference. Additionally, many choose cremation because it can be a cost-effective option, depending on the preferences and budget needs of the family. Still others choose cremation for environmental reasons or for the flexibility it affords.

How do costs compare with traditional burial costs?
The basic charge for direct cremation is somewhat less than direct burial. However, the family has the option to select as many or as few service options above and beyond the basic services that it really becomes less of a matter of cost and more of a matter of preference for most.

How do cremation services differ from traditional funeral services?
A funeral service followed by cremation need not be different than a funeral service followed by in-ground burial. The funeral service can be elaborate or simple; it can be traditional or nontraditional. Today, arrangements are as individual as the persons for whom and by whom they are made. Cremation simply offers more options because it allows time for the family to gather from the far reaches of the country.

Can we have a memorial service or funeral with a cremation?
Of course. Service options are completely up to you. You are invited to tour our location and consult with our funeral directors. Harper-Talasek Funeral Homes accommodates many types of services, is handicap accessible, and has ample parking. We will also help facilitate a service at your church or any other special location.

Can we personalize cremation memorial services?
Absolutely. Regardless of the type of service, our expert staff will help you create a personal, customized tribute to celebrate your loved one’s distinctive life and enhance your family’s healing experience. Some options available include memory tables, memento displays, video memorials, and more.

Can I decide what happens to my remains?
Yes, you can. We can help you put your wishes in writing and safely file them away so that when the time comes, your wishes will be carried out just as you requested. This written plan brings a great deal of peace of mind to family members at the time of loss.

What about scattering?
Scattering may be legally done on privately owned land or certain public land with permission from the proper authorities. Scattering the cremated body can be full of meaning for loved ones if these were the deceased's wishes. However, one should also consider how much is being asked of the person who is to do the scattering, because for many, it can be devastating to spill out all that is mortal of someone you have known and loved. Many people choose to portion out the cremated remains; they might scatter a portion, keep a portion at home, and bury a portion in a cemetery.

Can the family be present at the cremation?
Yes, in fact, we encourage the family to be present at the time of cremation if they wish. It can be a unique opportunity for a final farewell, similar to a committal service at the graveside.

Is a casket necessary if I choose cremation?
No, a casket is not necessary for cremation to take place. However, if services are held prior to cremation, the body may be present in a rental or cremation casket. For the cremation itself, all that is required is an alternative container constructed of combustible material, which is then cremated with the body.

Are there any religions that discourage cremation?
Orthodox Judaism, Islamic, and some select Christian faiths including Eastern Orthodox discourage or even prohibit cremation; however, most religions allow for cremation. For some time, the Vatican has relaxed its previous stance on cremation. They prefer the cremation be delayed until after the celebration of the funeral.

Can an urn be present at a memorial held in a church?
Most faith fellowships that allow for cremation also allow the urn to be present during the memorial service. Catholic churches also allow the cremated body to be present during the Memorial Mass. In fact, it is strongly encouraged for the cremated body to be present if the family chooses to have a memorial service. The urn provides a strong focal point for the service.

What are our options after we receive the cremated remains?
There are many options for memorialization after the cremated body is returned to the family. The remains could be buried in a cemetery lot or cremation garden, placed in a columbarium, kept at home, scattered, used in cremation jewelry, or portioned off for different uses.

How can I be sure the correct remains are returned?
At Harper-Talasek Funeral Homes, we have a scrupulous set of policies and procedures in place to prevent errors from occurring. We invite you to inspect our facilities and ask our staff any questions you may have, for your own peace of mind.

What is returned to the family after cremation?
All of the cremated remains are given back to the family in a temporary container or in an urn if one has been provided to us or purchased from our available selections.

Do I need to buy an urn?
It is not necessary by law to purchase an urn. However, depending on what you wish to do with the cremated body, you may want to purchase an urn that is appropriate for displaying at a memorial service or at home. There are also biodegradable urns that can be buried or of burial at sea. There are personalized urns available as well. The options are nearly endless.

If you want to learn more about cremation or just have questions in general, feel free to stop by our funeral home to discuss funeral services, cemetery plots and memorialization with a member of staff. We are always here to help.

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