All About Cremation
Aspen Cremation Service operates our own crematory inside our clean and secure facility. We are fully licensed by and inspected by the State of Nebraska. It takes more effort to ensure that the cremation is handled with care, dignity, and high standards. To assure your loved one is being cared for with these standards in mind, we adhere to a rigid, 10 step safeguard cremation process.
Aspen’s Retort is State-of-the-Art. Our crematory at Aspen Cremation Service is the newest in the Lincoln area. It utilizes State-of-the-art technology and is very clean and efficient.
Over the years, we have been asked many questions. We have tried to record the following answers. Hope they are helpful.
What is cremation?
To begin with, it is probably easier to describe what cremation isn't. Cremation is not final disposition of the remains, nor is some type of funeral service. Rather, it is a process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame.
How long does the actual cremation take?
It depends on the weight of the individual. For an average size adult, cremation takes about 2 hours at normal operating temperature of 1,600 degrees F.
What happens after the cremation is complete?
All organic bone fragments, which are very brittle, as well as non-consumed metal items are "swept" into the front of the cremation chamber and into a stainless steel cooling pan. All non-consumed items, like metal from clothing, hip joints, and bridge work, are separated from the cremated remains. This separation is accomplished through visual inspection as well as using a strong magnet for smaller and minute metallic objects. Items such as dental gold and silver are non-recoverable and are commingled in with the cremated remains. Remaining bone fragments are then processed in a machine to a consistent size and placed into an urn selected by the family.
What do the cremated remains look like?
Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average size adult usually weigh between four to eight pounds of cremated remains.
In what kind of container are the cremated remains returned?
The cremated remains are placed in a basic container at no charge to you. Or they may be placed in the urn of your choice from our large selection of urns available for purchase.
Are all the cremated remains returned?
With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from
the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.
What can be done with the cremated remains?
There are many options. Remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or cremation garden, inurned in a columbarium, kept at home, or scattered on private property. Our staff will be happy to discuss these options with you and make any arrangements.
Are there any laws governing cremation?
Cremation regulations vary from state-to-state. In the state of Nebraska, cremation is considered final disposition. A family can do whatever they would like with the cremated remains.
Can two cremations be performed at once?
Never. Not only is it illegal to do so, most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult. Thus it would be a practical impossibility to conduct multiple cremations simultaneously.
Does our loved one ever leave your mortuary?
Your loved one never leaves our care. Many other funeral homes hire third party crematories. These funeral homes transport to outside cremation services, making it impossible for them to manage and supervise the cremation.
How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?
We have developed the most rigorous set of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize our level of quality and minimize the potential for human error. Positive identification of the deceased is assured throughout each stage of the cremation process. We only allow certified professionals to operate our cremation equipment. Again, to assure your loved one is being cared for with these standards in mind, we adhere to a rigid, 10 step safeguard cremation process.
Do I need an urn?
An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or the cremated remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not selected, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary plastic container.
Is a casket needed for cremation?
No, a casket is not required for cremation. All that is required by state law is a rigid container which is cremated with the body. It is included in all cremation packages at no extra charge.
Is embalming required prior to cremation?
Absolutely not and it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise. However, you may opt for embalming to preserve the body temporarily for funeral purposes. It helps sanitize the body and delay natural tissue decomposition to allow time for public viewing. Embalming, though, may be required in case the body is to be transported by air or rail.
Can the body be viewed without embalming?
Yes, immediate family members may briefly view the deceased prior to cremation in our private viewing room. See option C-2. The deceased is first prepared for viewing. They will be wearing what they were picked up in. We do not dress unembalmed bodies. Viewing is only for a few minutes and everyone must come at once. Only immediate family can view. This includes spouse, children, children’s spouses, grandchildren, parents, sisters and brothers and their spouses. No minister, priest or others to perform any rituals are allowed. Under certain circumstances embalming may be required, such as a public visitation.
Are there any religious concerns about cremation?
Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Parsees, and all Christian denominations allow cremations. Most religions permit you to choose and some religions, in fact, prefer cremations as it is one of the oldest forms of religious disposition. This method, however, is forbidden in Orthodox Judaism, Eastern Orthodox Church, and Islam.
You may wish to consult a leader in your church for guidance. For example, in the Lincoln Diocese, the Catholic Church strongly advocates the presence of the urn for a Mass of Christian Burial. The Catholic Church also encourages burial of the urn in a cemetery as soon as possible.
What does the Bible say about cremation?
The Bible does not clearly define about cremation as a means to dispose of the dead. However, there is no scriptural prohibition of cremation in the New Testament. The Bible neither favors nor forbids the process of cremation.
Nevertheless, many Christians believe that their bodies would be ineligible for resurrection if they are cremated. This argument, though, is refuted by others on the basis of the fact that the body still decomposes over time after burial.
Moreover, as God is known to be all-powerful, it should not be impossible for Him to resurrect someone even after cremation. Besides, our concerns should not be about our physical bodies because it is the spiritual body that is allowed to enter Heaven, not the physical body. Let us concern ourselves with preparing for our eternal future.
1 Corinthians 15:35-55
“It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.”
There have been examples of burning the body, like in the case of Saul and Jonathan. Their bodies had been mutilated by the Philistines. Thus, they were cremated and their bones were buried to protect them from ridicule from the enemy.
In another instance, Achan and his family were stoned to death and then cremated when Achan deliberated committed the sin of taking the spoil of the battle of Jericho.
In general, the practice of cremation was taken more as a punishment than honor in the Bible. In fact, most people who were burned in the Bible were cursed.
Furthermore, the pagan belief emphasizes that burning tends to purify the spirit. Plus, it wards off evil entities and prevents the possible return of a ghost.
According to the Old Testament and New Testament, burial is definitely the standard practice adopted for disposing of a dead body.
So, it comes down to your personal choice as to whether you want to be buried or cremated. It is more of a cultural and philosophical issue rather than a Biblical one.
Basically, we should consider the body as a temple of the Holy Spirit. Thus, we should have great reverence for the human body. We just treat every body with the utmost dignity. We need to make conscience decisions regarging aftercare that reflects great love, tenderness, dignity and understanding.
“By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
1 Corinthians 13:3
“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”
1 Samuel 31, verses 11-13
“And when the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul; All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there. And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.”
“And Joshua said, ‘Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.’ And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.”
2 Kings 23:15-20
“Moreover, the altar at Bethel, the high place erected by Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, that altar with the high place he pulled down and burned, reducing it to dust. He also burned the Asherah. And as Josiah turned, he saw the tombs there on the mount. And he sent and took the bones out of the tombs and burned them on the altar and defiled it, according to the word of the Lord that the man of God proclaimed, who had predicted these things. Then he said, “What is that monument that I see?” And the men of the city told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted these things that you have done against the altar at Bethel.” And he said, “Let him be; let no man move his bones.” So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet who came out of Samaria. And Josiah removed all the shrines also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which kings of Israel had made, provoking the Lord to anger. He did to them according to all that he had done at Bethel. And he sacrificed all the priests of the high places who were there, on the altars, and burned human bones on them. Then he returned to Jerusalem.”
For more information feel free to check out the following video: Pastor John W. Schoenheit speaking on cremation and the Bible.
What do Catholics believe about cremation?
The Catholic church maintains that the cremated remains should still be treated with the same respect as the corporal remains. In fact, the remains should be treated with respect while handling and transporting them.
As for final disposition of the cremains, it requires interment or entombment of the remains in a columbarium, burial plot in a cemetery, or mausoleum.
Options like scattering the ashes from the air, on the ground, floating them on the sea, or keeping the cremation ashes at home are not considered respectful.
Besides, Catholics prefer that the funeral rites should be performed in the presence of the body of the deceased before it is cremated instead of direct cremation because the body “better expresses the values which the Church affirms in its rites”- (OCF 413). Nonetheless, it is now allowed to conduct the funeral Mass in the presence of cremated remains.
Basically, the Roman Catholics consider the body as a temple of the Holy Spirit and a member of the Body of Christ. Thus, they have great reverence for the human body. They believe that they would be raised up with the Christ at the end.
Consequently, the 1917 Code of Canon Law strictly forbade cremations except in times of natural disaster, plague, or other public necessities that required fast disposition of the bodies.
Later, though, it was modified to allow cremations if they were required by the law or some other reason not driven by a sectarian spirit.
Therefore, a cremation may be requested for hygienic, pathological, economic, and other justifiable reasons. It may also be considered if cremation is a national custom or specified by the deceased before death.
Furthermore, cremation may be accepted as a viable option in case an individual dies a great distance from home because shipping the cremated remains less troublesome than transferring a human body.
Hence, the Church still strongly recommends traditional burial as it was done for Jesus Christ’s body, but it does not reject the process of cremation.
According to the Order of Christian Funerals (OCF 412), “This is the body once washed in baptism, anointed with the oil of salvation, and fed with the bread of life. This is the body whose hands clothed the poor and embraced the sorrowing. Indeed, the human body is so inextricably associated with the human person that it is hard to think of a human person apart from his or her body.”
North Bay Roman Catholic Cemeteries, Cremation And Catholics
Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries, Cremation In The Catholic Church
Catholics United For The Faith, Catholic Funeral Rites- Common Questions
What if all the ashes do not fit in the urn?
The amount of ashes is based on bone density. Therefore, the older we become the less ashes there will be. Ashes almost always fit in the tempoary urn. If they do not, you will be called by the funeral director. Decisions will need to be made regarding the additional amount. Perhaps a family would choose to buy a larger urn, have two urns or just have an extra bag.
What can a family do with an urn in the State of Nebraska?
Cremation is considered final disposition and a family can do what they choose with an urn. There are various options for the final disposition of the cremated remains.
You can choose to scatter the ashes on land or from the air. Besides, you can float the ashes in water or bury them in a burial plot. You can select a biodegradable urn for this purpose.
Spreading the ashes at sea, however, shall include the cost of yacht services as well. Similarly, you will have to consider the charges of getting the cremated remains scattered by air being cast from a private plane. More often than not, this is done by professionals who also provide certificates of the place and time of scattering the remains.
Furthermore, the cremains can be entombed in a crypt within a mausoleum, or placed in a columbarium. Many local cemeteries and churches have columbariums.
Those who prefer to store the ashes or just a portion of the cremated remains of their loved ones can place the remains in an aesthetic urn and display it on a shelf or mantle at home.
Jewelry has become very popular with a very small portion of ashes encased in a piece and worn.
You can simple scatter the ashes yourself at a public city park indescretely, or a place that your loved one liked to visit.
Another thoughtful yet meaningful option is to bury the remains in cremation garden of a cemetery. Check with your cemetery for more information.
Can I scatter cremation remains on a private property?
You can scatter the ashes on a private property if the owner gives his or her permission. Just remember, if your family owns the land it might emotionally be difficult to sell it in the future. Please weigh all options before making this choice.
Do ashes pose any health hazards?
Cremation remains are not toxic and do not present any health hazard. In fact, human ashes are considered as a sanitary, natural substance. You can dispose of them by burying the ashes, scattering them on ground (or from the air), or floating them in water.
Should we cremate or bury?
Nowadays, most people choose cremations over traditional burial because it helps save money.
Basic cremation, in particular, is considered least expensive as it avoids costs associated with visitation and funeral service. Plus, it is a preferred choice in the present times as it saves land space.
Nevertheless, it is a personal decision made by the individual or family members. Moreover, take your deceased loved one’s wishes, feelings, and beliefs into consideration. Certain individuals, for example, have a fear of decaying or being buried alive.
Religious and cultural beliefs also play an important part in this decision. Except for Orthodox Judaism, Eastern Orthodox Church, and Islam, most religions accept the process of cremation.
In fact, this system has been practiced in Hinduism since time immemorial as it believes that not only does a cremation serve as a means of disposing of the body but also helps the departed soul in its journey into the next world. Ground burial, on the other hand, symbolizes the burial and resurrection of the Christ.
Cremations are being promoted now because of social, technological, and philosophical reasons. For instance, due to rapid industrialization, there is a need for more land. Thus, there are concerns about public hygiene because of corpses buried near the surface of the earth.
In addition, technological advancement has led to the creation of modern cremation equipments that can help reduce the body to its basic elements. Nevertheless, there are environmental concerns associated with emission of gases released during cremations.
Cremation Vs Burial
Cremation reduces the body to cremated remains within a matter of hours whereas traditional burial follows the process of slow and natural decomposition.
Some people respect the process of allowing the body to decompose naturally and consider cremation merely as hurrying the process while others believe that cremation denotes reverence.
Direct cremations are more cost-effective than direct burials as they do not require embalming. Plus, you have the option of keeping the body in a alternative container instead of a casket.
Cremation is a simpler process that also helps save ground space, but it is not so in case of burial. Nevertheless, both are regarded as safe ways of dealing with the dead body.
As people nowadays live away from their family roots, cremation provides more flexibility in terms of memorialization as compared the method of burying in a cemetery or graveyard.
The cremated remains can be stored in a cremation urn and displayed on a shelf or mantle at home, scattered on land, scattered from the air by plane, floated on water, placed in a columbarium, buried in a burial plot (does not require a full-sized plot), or entombed in a crypt within a mausoleum. So, you can carry the cremated remains of the deceased with you if you are moving elsewhere but this not possible in case of burial.
However, as cremation is an irreversible process, it is essential to make up your mind and be clear as to whether you want to go for a cremation or burial.
Moreover, keep in mind that cremation is not a substitute for funeral as the final disposition of the remains is still required.
Besides, you can still hold a funeral service before the cremation or a memorial service afterwards. When opting for cremation, the ashes of the loved one can later be scattered, buried, or entombed.
If you have decided that you want to be cremated, you can place your request in writing and provide the copies of instruction to your relatives. Preplanning the cremation is also helpful for your loved ones as it is cost-effective.
How do we explain cremation to a child?
It is difficult to explain death, funeral, and cremation to young children. Nonetheless, it is essential to tactfully make the child understand these issues, depending on his or her stage of development.
Try to remain comfortable, calm, and composed while explaining this sensitive topic to a child or else he or she may pick up on your emotions.
As the author, educator, and grief counselor Dr. Alan Wolfelt puts it, “Any child old enough to love is old enough to grieve.”
You can simply make clear to the child that in the process of cremation, the deceased, enclosed in a casket or container, is taken to a crematory and placed in a room where it is reduced to soft, fine particles like white or grey sand. Thus, the process helps the body return to dust.
In case the child wants to have a look at the cremated remains, you may consider looking at the ashes yourself, give its description to the child. If the child still insists then let him or her see the cremation urn and its contents.
Sharing information about the process with your child can help him or her heal. When bothered about the extent of details that you should share, just answer his or her questions honestly and give only as much information as the child asks for.
Do not withhold all the information as it is not going to help the child in the long run as he or she may image much worse and scarier explanations.
Keep the following tips in mind while telling a child about cremation.
- * Do not use complicated words and language; just use the words that the child can understand easily and keep the explanation simple.
- * Each child has a unique lead, follow that lead. For instance, some kids can be extremely curious about the process whereas some might be scared of it.
So, listen to child’s questions carefully and pay attention to his or her behaviors. Do not explain things that the child does not seem interested in.
- * While explaining, avoid using the words such as ‘burned’ and ‘fire’as they may have a strong impact and frighten the child.
* Plus, your explanation should make it clear that the deceased is not hurt in any way during cremation as the dead body does not feel pain.
- * Give general information like- the funeral director and cremation staff handle the body with reverence and respect, there is no smell and no smoke during cremation, after cremation, the remains resemble kitty litter or fishbowl rocks, the process good for the earth or so on. Do not give too information to young children, though.
- If you believe in the concept of soul or afterlife then comfort the child with these beliefs to help him or her accept the fact that your loved one is no longer in the form of a body.
You can make the child feel better by explaining that deceased individual has returned to God, and his or her body has been returned to the earth respectfully.
Consider letting the child witness the scattering of ashes, especially if the child has lost a parent or someone very close. Similarly, involve the child in the process of final disposition. Let them assist you.
As for viewing of the body, let the child decide whether he/she wants to view the body or not. When allowing the child to view the body, make sure he or she is under care of a guardian or close relative who can answer the child’s questions or take the little boy or girl away in case he/she is overwhelmed.
Viewing the body of the deceased can help the child accept the reality of death. If you are doubtful and uncomfortable explaining cremation to a young child, you can consult a child guidance counselor.