Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?

Cremation is not a substitute for a funeral. Cremation is simply an alternative to burial or entombment. It is a component of the funeral, which may include a viewing and/or a memorial or religious service.

What is embalming?

Embalming is the replacing of the fluids in a dead body with chemicals for disinfection and temporary preservation.

What is the purpose of embalming?

Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, slows the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness. The temporary preservation is to permit the body to be present for the period of the funeral, including the visitation or wake, and for the funeral service.

Should the body be present and viewed?

For many people having the body viewed is important. It is an opportunity for reminiscence and acceptance of the death. Preparation, restoration and the use of cosmetics provide an image for recalling the deceased.

Should the casket remain open when the funeral service begins?

Some people want it open; others prefer the casket closed just before the service begins, especially if it is a religious service.

What is a burial vault?

It is an outer enclosure (made of concrete, steel, fiberglass, copper, etc.) into which the casketed remains are placed. Cemeteries may require the use of some type of outside enclosure to maintain the integrity of the grave space.

How should I expect to feel?

It is an unfortunate truth that most people do not know what to do when a death has occurred. Because death can be either expected (due to a terminal illness or old age) or sudden and completely unexpected. No matter how a death occurs, a death of someone you love can leave you feeling alone and unsure of where to go for guidance and help.