Death is the stark truth which no mortal can ever deceive. After the physical body dies, the soul is released from the body, and here comes the role of cremation process that sets the soul towards the heavenly abode. This Buzzle article gives a detailed insight on the same.
Death… be not proud!
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me.
The Carriage held but just ourselves
– Emily Dickinson
Death of a loved one can be very devastating. But, no matter, how difficult the entire process is, you will have to take care of the last rituals to bid your loved one goodbye. Cremation is an alternative to burial. Some cultures like Hinduism mandate cremation, while some people choose it for personal reasons.
The etymology roots back to the Latin word, cremo, which means to burn. It is one of the earliest modes of disposing of the dead bodies; that was developed by man. However, with time, this method was replaced by other processes. The process is till today widely practiced by many religions. In the later part of this article, we shall delve deeper into the significant details of this age-old process.
# Before the cremation process starts, ensure that you have completed all rituals and ceremonies. Further, all authorization papers must be duly filled and signed by the concerned people. In some states and provinces, a waiting period of 48 hours from the time of the death is mandatory before the cremation process can be started.
# The body to be cremated, is placed in a cremation casket made of wood or a cremation container that is basically a cardboard box that has plywood at the bottom to provide sturdiness.
# The family must inform the funeral home beforehand, if a pacemaker, prosthesis, any mechanical, or radioactive device, or implants are present in the body of the deceased. These have to be removed before the cremation can take place as there is a possibility that it may explode during the cremation process and can cause damage to the cremation chamber. The funeral operator will place an identification tag in the casket that will help identify the remains correctly after the cremation is completed.
# Next, the casket containing the body is placed in the cremation chamber after all jewelry has been removed. The walls and the ceilings of the chamber are lined with fire-resistant bricks, while the floor is composed of a special compound that can withstand very high temperatures. Once the casket has been placed inside the chamber, the door of the chamber is sealed shut.
# The machine is started by the crematory operator for an initial warm up before starting the main burning process. Once the machine is warmed up, the main burner is ignited which begins the process of incinerating the body. The temperature inside the chamber is as high as 2000°F. The main burner uses either natural gas or propane.
# It takes about 2 hours for a body to be reduced to just bone fragments. A large part of the body that is the organs and soft tissues are vaporized and oxidized due to the heat, and the gases produced are released via an exhaust system. Once the entire process is completed, the chamber is allowed to cool down for an hour before proceeding further. When the chamber cools down sufficiently, the bone fragments are removed and placed in a separate work area. Here, all metal objects like screws, nails, titanium limbs are removed with a magnet or by hand. An unavoidable situation is that the leftover residues still remain behind, and eventually get mingled with the bodies that are later brought in for cremations.
# The remaining bone fragments are placed in a special processor known as the cremulator which pulverizes the bone fragments into a fine powder known as ‘cremains’ (a portmanteau of ‘cremations’ along with ‘remains’) commonly known as the ashes. The ashes are placed in a temporary urn and are returned to the family. If you wish, you can request the funeral home and they can make arrangements for you to watch the cremation after you have signed a waiver to protect it from any liability. You can perform an earth burial of the cremains or it can also be scattered on a private property or a place that was significant to the deceased. Please check with the local authorities before you do so; as some states prohibit scattering of cremains on private properties.
# Although, opting for a burial or cremation is a completely personal decision, if money does happen to be a constraint, then cremation can be opted for, as the cost is far less when compared to a burial. The cost of a grave site is much higher than the fee that is charged for cremation. In addition to this, the cost of the casket is also involved.
At the end of the day, the choice between a burial and a cremation is a personal choice unless the religion of the one who is deceased, mandates a particular form of funeral. I hope that this article has provided you with sufficient information about the cremation process.