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Common Terms Related to Cremation Services
As you carry out the final will of your deceased loved one, you'll encounter many terms. Even if you've heard these in conversation before, you may not completely understand their meanings. Knowing the definitions of these important terms will help simplify arrangements during this difficult time.
Cremation - The process of using heat and pressure to reduce all of a human body into ashes as an alternative to burial. This may also involve the use of flames or another heating process.
Calcination - Type of cremation that involves the use of extreme heat rather than flames to prepare a body, this is an alternative to flame-based cremation.
Alkaline Hydrolysis - Type of cremation that uses chemicals in extremely hot water to prepare the body, also another alternative to flame-based cremation.
Urn - A container that holds the ashes of the deceased following a cremation. Urns may be made from metal, ceramics, wood or stone.
Viewing - Time period during which the deceased is laid out for friends and family to come and pay their respects. Often, the deceased is dressed in their jewelry and nice clothing and made up to look as if they are peacefully resting.
Memorial Service - A religious or secular gathering that celebrates the life of the deceased and allows friends and family to say goodbye, it is also called a funeral
Casket - A box made of metal or wood that holds the body during a viewing or memorial service. With a cremation, the casket is usually disposed of after the final arrangements since no burial takes place.
Cemetery - An area where bodies are interred and typically memorialized with markers, such as gravestones. A cemetery may have a building or area that houses urns.
Obituary - A newspaper or online announcement about a death that typically provides information about the funeral arrangements
The death of a loved one is never easy, but family members must arrange for the memorial service and burial for the deceased almost directly afterward. Since most people do not have a relationship with a mortuary prior to this situation, they must make difficult decisions in terms of dealing with the body respectfully in the midst of their grief. Many turn to cremation for this purpose, for a number of reasons that we will look at here.
Cremations are usually much less expensive than the cost of a wood or metal casket and burial. There is no need to view the body or wonder about jewelry and clothing to bury with the deceased. Unlike funerals, memorial services can be scheduled at a later date to respect the needs of long distance family members who want to arrange to attend. Many also find a memorial service to be much more therapeutic than a funeral, because it celebrates the life of the deceased while allowing for grief in the death.
After cremation, the ashes are released to the family from the crematorium to do as they like. While some decide to scatter the ashes in a pretty spot, others keep them in an urn in their home so they feel like the deceased are always with them. Some choose to bury the ashes in a cemetery in a similar way to the burial of a body. A cemetery can be a place to visit and arrange flowers on the grave for special occasions, which some people find helpful in dealing with their grief. Some people even use cremation for their pets so they can keep the ashes as a memento of their furry friends.