Your Questions Answered
Is cremation dearer than burial?
Generally cremation is cheaper than burial at major cemetery / crematoria complexes. However, you should discuss the matter with your Funeral Director who will be able to advise you of the precise cost relevant to your particular locality and requirements.
Are there any religious groups which forbid cremation?
Yes, it is forbidden by Orthodox Jews, Muslims and some other religions. Most Christian denominations, including Roman Catholic, allow cremation. It is the normal method of disposition of the dead for Sikhs, Hindus, Parsees and Buddhists.
What religious ceremony can I have with cremation?
Services for burial and/or cremation can be the same, apart from the form of committal. The service may take place in one's own church or funeral chapel with a short committal service at the crematorium. Alternatively, the whole service may be conducted elsewhere with no service at the crematorium or you may arrange for your own clergy/celebrant to conduct the whole service at the crematorium. The form of service can be discussed with your clergy/celebrant and your Funeral Director.
Must there be a religious ceremony with cremation or burial?
No. A civil ceremony can be conducted or there may be no ceremony at all.
What happens to the cremated remains?
Some people request that their cremated remains be scattered at a location that holds special significance to them, perhaps a rose garden or in the ocean. Some families choose to take ashes home. The container that the ashes are placed in at the crematorium is a hard plastic container. The ashes can be transferred into a more suitable container if required. If no specific instruction has been left your Funeral Director can make suggestions and help make the appropriate arrangements. How and where the remains are distributed is the personal choice of the family.
What happens at the crematorium on the day of the funeral?
The coffin is usually brought into the chapel and placed on the catafalque prior to the mourners entering and taking their seats. Alternatively, pallbearers may carry the coffin in at the commencement of the service. At the appropriate time during the service the coffin will be removed from view, by closing the curtains. At the end of the service the mourners leave the chapel and often gather at a prearranged destination for refreshments and fellowship.
What happens to the coffin after the service?
It is withdrawn into the committal room where the nameplate of the coffin is checked with the cremation order to ensure correct identity. The coffin is then placed in the cremator and all the relevant information stays with the remains until the final preparation of the cremated ashes.
Does the cremation take place immediately?
The cremation may not take place on the day but will follow as soon as possible after the service within a time frame recommended by health regulators (usually within six hours from arrival but may be up to 24 hours).
Is the coffin cremated with the body?
Is more than one coffin cremated at one time in a cremator?
No. The only exceptions permitted to this rule are in the case of a mother and baby, or twin children when some crematoria will accept both in the same coffin if the next of kin requests that the two be cremated together.
Can relatives witness the committal of the coffin to the cremator?
Yes. People are permitted to attend if they wish, however, advance notice is required and arrangements as to timing need to be made.
Can I keep the remains if I want to, or must I dispose of them?
In most instances disposal of cremated remains is the responsibility of administrators of the estate. They may keep the cremated remains, have them scattered or arrange for a memorial.
Should our children attend the funeral?
This is a decision that must rest with the parents. Children suffer grief and should be encouraged to express their emotions. Given the opportunity to attend the funeral of someone they loved and cared about, children will be allowed to sort out the finality of death in their own minds and deal with it accordingly. If a child expresses a definite wish to attend the funeral that wish should not be discouraged. Life education courses are often part of the school curriculum and provide an honest and open forum where death and its processes may be discussed. Some children seem to cope with grief better than many adults - not as encumbered by community expectations but each individual, child and adult, will react differently.