5 Things You NEED to Know About Cremation


5 Things You NEED to Know About Cremation

With numerous opportunities for personal expression and celebration, it’s no wonder that the option of cremation is being chosen with growing frequency. According to the National Funeral Directors Association (1), in 2010 the rate of cremation was 40.4%. It is projected that the rate of cremation will rise to 55.1% in 2019 and 79.1% by 2035. If yourself or a loved one are considering cremation, we hope these five important things help you make an informed decision.

(1) http://www.nfda.org/news/statistics National Funeral Director Association – Statistics, rates of burial and cremation.

    1. Placing cremated remains (cremains) in an urn and setting them on the mantle is a temporary solution.

      In the absence of an enduring plan for memorialization and interment, cremains are often stored in an urn and kept in the home of a loved one. While this serves well for some time, it overlooks what will happen next. Who will assume responsibility for the urn next? Will they offer the same loving care? Will they keep the legacy of the deceased alive? Will the cremains end up in a very unintended location and in the end be forgotten? Sadly, reports of cremains ending up at yard and estate sales are an all to familiar story. In the rest of this article, we’ll explore several possible options for cremains in celebrating the life of the deceased perfectly and memorializing their legacy in perpetuity.

    2. Cremation offers the greatest number of options for individual celebration of life expressions.

      When planning a celebration of life service, it’s best to not begin with the available ceremony options or those which have been done before. Instead, begin with the person being memorialized. Ask, what was the essence of their life? What were their passions? What was most important to them? Did they have any prized possessions? Was their life work devoted to a cause? What role did family play in their life? What are their favorite colors, foods, or places? Did they love to travel? Were there any funny events or milestones in their life? Were they a prankster?

      Answering these questions can help to paint a masterpiece celebration of life ceremony which is a unique, authentic, and moving testament to the loved one being celebrated.

      From that beginning, if a viewing of the body is planned, those details can be considered next. Mourning is the outward expression of grief. Experts who help others deal with grief all agree – A viewing helps loved ones deal with grief and heal. A viewing can be arranged before the cremation takes place and gives friends and family the opportunity to say goodbye in their own way.

      Next, the Life Celebrated Perfectly ceremony itself can be planned. Cremation offers a nearly unlimited array of possibilities. The service can be on land, on the water, or in the air. It can be indoors, outdoors, large, or small. Here are a few unique ceremony options we have seen in the past

      • Shoreline memorial with water scatter.
      • Memorial at sea with water scatter.
      • Small family memorial at their favorite property.
      • Memorial at a beloved state or national park location.
      • Outdoor memorial with the cremains added to a fireworks display.

      The options available through cremation make possible a memorable memorial service which is only limited by the imagination and is a true reflection of the life being celebrated.


  1. Cremation offers the greatest number of options for personalized burial/interment.

    When considering the final disposition of cremains, many options are available, and it is not necessary to choose only one. Two or more options can be combined to meet the wishes of the deceased and their family. Several options and possibilities are listed below:

    Outdoor Burial

    • Existing adult burial plot
    • Small sized plot for cremains
    • Urn garden
    • Granite front niche

    Indoor Interment

    • Mausoleum designed to house both bodies and urns
    • Columbarium or Glass Niche “Memory Box”

    Creative Interment
    The cremains can be interred creatively in whole or can be split between traditional and creative interment. The cremains can be placed in items which serve to keep a loved one close to family members hearts and lives. Several creative possibilities are listed below:

    • Grave Markers
    • Memorial Stones
    • Memorial Benches
    • Memorial Glass
    • Memorial Jewelry

    Urn Interment
    Placing the cremains in one or several urns and retaining in a home or homes remains a viable option when the family desires it. We recommend the family create a written generational plan which ensures the cremains will always have a resting place of loving care.

  2. There is much to be considered if the scattering of cremains is being desired.

    Scattering all of the remains in one location has the potential to be emotionally impactful to family members. It is important when making final preparations, to consider the emotional needs of all immediate family members. Some members may need to have a permanent memorial in place, giving them a physical location to visit, grieve, and recall precious memories.

    If the cremains need to be transported or shipped by air, there are laws and policies which need to be included in the planning process.

    When scattering cremains on private or public lands, there are local ordinances, state laws, and federal laws which need to be included in the planning process.

    At Green Hills Memorial Park, your Advanced Planning Advisor or Family Service Advisor can guide your family in planning for all of these considerations, freeing you to be at ease and focus on your loved ones.

  3. How Does Cremation Work?

    The cremation occurs within a cremator, which is an industrial furnace capable of temperature between 1,600 to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat of the furnace and resulting flame disintegrates to body down to what is commonly known as cremains. Modern cremators monitor the interior to tell when the process is complete. The time-of-process usually requires one hour per 100 lb of body weight. After the incineration is process is complete, the resulting ash and bone are removed and processed to a consistent texture, allowing the cremains to be interred or scattered per the wishes of the deceased and family.

We hope this information will help you and your family complete informed planning which is the right fit for all. Please contact us at (310) 521-4333 or preplan@ghmp.com if you have cremation questions which remain unanswered.