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What Cremation Choices Are Available?

posted Nov 30, 2010, 9:32 PM by Guido Santella   [ updated Dec 2, 2010, 9:56 AM ]

Choosing cremation is one of a number of options you have about the type of overall funeral service.

With cremation, you may also choose:

  • a traditional public visitation and service at the funeral home or church
  • a private vieweing with a service
  • a private vieweing only, or
  • a memorial service, either closely following the death or later.

With the choice of traditional visitation and service, you schedule a time for your family to gather with friends at the funeral home to comfort each other at your time of loss.  The visitation is open to all, and can be followed by a religious service, a “contemporary” service where family members and friends are encouraged to participate and share their feelings or a combination of these approaches.

If you select a private viewing and service, you may request close friends, relatives and acquaintances to be with you for an observance in honor of your loved one.

A private viewing only, which may be chosen by those who do not want a formal service, provides invited family members and friends with a final opportunity to see a person.  It can be helpful in leaving a positive and peaceful image in memory.

“Viewings are confirming.  They provide emotional reinforcement that a death has taken place,” says the Rev. Paul Irion of the Lancaster Theological Seminary.

A memorial service following cremation can be held at the funeral home, with the staff handling many of the related details and assisting with arrangements.

Some families have found it helpful to hold a second memorial service on an anniversiry or other important date, or to supplement a service in another location.

The serivce may be religious or contemporary.  The option of having the cremated remains present can help provide a focus for remembering.

As with many traditional funerals, families are encourage to provide their input and share special feelings about a person that can add to the memorial serivce.  This may include memorable photographs, favorite readings or music, or other reflectitions of the life, business, hobbies, and interests of the person remembered.