Questions About the Cremation Process
What is cremation?
To begin with, it is probably easier to describe what cremation isn't. Cremation is not final disposition of the remains, nor is it a type of funeral service. Rather, it is a process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame.
How long does the actual cremation take?
It depends on the weight of the individual. For an average size adult, cremation takes from two to three hours at normal operating temperature between 1,500 degrees F to 2,000 degrees F.
What happens after the cremation is complete?
All organic bone fragments, which are very brittle, as well as non-consumed metal items are "swept" into the front of the cremation chamber and into a stainless steel cooling pan. All non-consumed items, like metal from clothing, hip joints, and bridge work, are separated from the cremated remains. This separation is accomplished through visual inspection as well as using a strong magnet for smaller and minute metallic objects. Items such as dental gold and silver are non-recoverable and are commingled in with the cremated remains. Remaining bone fragments are then processed in a machine to a consistent size and placed into a temporary or permanent urn, selected by the family.
What do the cremated remains look like?
Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average size adult usually weigh between four to eight pounds of cremated remains.
In what kind of container are the cremated remains returned?
The cremated remains are placed in a basic container, or they may be placed in the urn of your choice from our large selection of urns available for purchase.
Are all the cremated remains returned?
With the exception of microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.
What can be done with the cremated remains?
There are many options. Remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or cremation garden, inurned in a columbarium, kept at home, or scattered on private property. We also offer a Lake Michigan scattering service, an eternal reef option, or you can have a diamond created from your loved one. Our staff will be happy to discuss these options with you and make any arrangements.
Questions About Urns, Caskets Embalming
Do I need an urn?
An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or the cremated remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not selected, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary cardboard container.
Is a casket needed for cremation?
No, a casket is not required for cremation. All that is required by state law is a rigid container which is cremated with the body.
Is embalming required prior to cremation?
Absolutely not and it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise.
Can the body be viewed without embalming?
Yes, immediate family members may briefly view the deceased prior to cremation in our private viewing room. The deceased is first washed, dressed and prepared for viewing. However, under certain circumstances embalming may be required, such as a public visitation.
Concerns About Cremation
Are there any laws governing cremation?
Cremation regulations vary from state-to-state.
Can two cremations be performed at once?
Never. Not only is it illegal to do so, most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult. Thus it would be a practical impossibility to conduct multiple cremations simultaneously.
Can the family witness the cremation?
Yes, for a nominal fee. Our state-of-the-art cremation facility is set up to allow family members to be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. In fact, some religious groups include this as part of their funeral custom.
Religious Questions and Concerns
Is cremation accepted by all religions?
Today most religions allow cremation except for Orthodox Jewish, Islamic, Eastern Orthodox, Greek Orthodox and a few Fundamentalist Christian faiths. The Catholic Church accepts cremation as long as it is not chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teachings.
Can an urn be brought into church?
Nearly all Protestant Churches allow for the urn to be present during the memorial service. If the family is planning on a memorial service, we encourage the cremated remains be present as it provides a focal point for the service.
Other Frequent Questions
Do people choose cremation only to save money?
While some people select cremation for economy, many choose this option for other reasons. The simplicity and dignity of cremation, environmental concerns, and the flexibility cremation affords in ceremony planning and final disposition all add to its increasing popularity.
Don't most funeral homes have a crematory?
Most funeral homes subcontract this delicate procedure out to a third party provider in another location where the funeral home has little or no control over the crematory's operating procedures. Often, the family incurs additional transportation expenses and needless delay. By contrast, we operate our own crematories by our fully certified and highly trained staff. Our crematory equipment is state-of-the-art and meets or exceeds every state and local operating requirement. Our crematories are open for inspection any time during normal business hours.
Are there any special benefits for veterans?
Benefits may be available for veterans’ families who pass away in a VA hospital, or a VA contracted health care facility. Once our financial requirements are satisfied, we file for the VA reimbursement to be sent directly to the entitled family member. We obtain the government provided flag for the next of kin and make arrangements for the cremated remains to be interred in a National Cemetery. The cemetery provides the grave, cost to open and close the grave, and the head stone. Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, IL is the closest National Cemetery to the Chicago-Metropolitan area. If the Veteran is not interred in a National Cemetery, they are still entitled to Military Honors, which may take place at another cemetery or place of service, such as a church. If they bury the cremated remains in a non-military cemetery the government head stone is still available; we make the arrangements for the family as well.
Is there any assistance for families on welfare?
If the deceased is on Public Aid, we will be happy to submit the claim to Public Aid for reimbursement to family for payment of our basic cremation services once our financial obligation is met. The Public Aid Office makes the final decision as to if the deceased is eligible. The family will be reimbursed for the monies they paid for the cremation if they meet the eligibility requirements direct from Public Aid.