About Cremation : Q&A

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There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding cremation.

What is the difference between Burial and Cremation?


When buried in a grave or tomb, the human body becomes reduced to just bones by a slow process of decomposition.  Cremation does basically the same thing through evaporation with the use of intense heat from flame.  The process has been referred to, poetically, as purification by fire, where the mortal takes on immortality.

The cremation process takes a few hours as opposed to several years.  What is left in the chamber after this process is completed are bone fragments.  The fragments are removed from the chamber, further processed and reduced to fine particles.

The human body, reduced to its basic elements after this process, is then referred to as human cremated remains.   Since the end result is the same, both the body and the human cremated remains should be treated with equal respect and dignity regarding their final resting place.

Cremation, therefore, is a first step in the process of preparing the body of a deceased loved one for its disposition to a final resting place.  Cremation is the transition process that permits us to memorialize human cremated remains through the employment of a clean and economical method with environmentally friendly use of land providing dignity and reverence to the memory of the deceased through each step.

“Cremation:  A means to a beginning,
                  Not a means to an end.
                             Healing through Memorial Niches”


What is a Columbarium?


The word ‘columbarium’ is derived from the Latin word columba, meaning ‘dove.’  Doves nest in box-like openings in walls known as ‘niches,’ therefore, a building containing niche spaces is called a ‘columbarium.’  At U.S. Columbarium, human cremated remains repose in various types of niche spaces recessed into the walls of two     neoclassical architectural style buildings decorated with Tiffany style stained glass windows and skylights.
 
Why would I want to choose Cremation?

•    Cremation offers the most beautiful, most poetic means of paying our first respects after death to the memory of those we have loved in life.

(Click here to see what an artist has said.)
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•    Some people prefer cremation for a variety of personal reasons. 

•    Cremation presents a simple way through the funeral process.

•    Through cremation the deceased body becomes one with nature right away.

•    Cremation has become a more acceptable funeral practice and is becoming a part of newly developing family traditions.

•    Various religions prefer cremation as a part of their tradition and hold ceremonies centered on it.

•    Cremation is convenient

•    Human cremated remains are easily transported for a journey home to the country where the deceased was born, compared to the procedure and expense of sending a body home. 

•    Memorial services and ceremonies can take place either at the time of cremation over the body or anytime thereafter over the human cremated remains in an urn. 

•    After the cremation process human cremated remains can be held temporarily, allowing the family extra time to plan a meaningful, personalized memorial service and gather more members, according to their schedules, to celebrate the life of the person they lost. 

•    Families can have more time to make their best decisions as to when and where the human cremated remains of their loved one will be memorialized.

•    Cremation focuses honor on the memories of the deceased person rather than on the body of the deceased as a first step in the process of transition from death to memorialization.

•    The overall cost of cremation can be more economically feasible for families with limited financial resources than traditional funeral services and burial arrangements.  

•    Cremation memorials use minimal land space.  Our two Columbarium Buildings are situated on less than one acre of land and contain over 16,000 niches.  Fresh Pond Crematory and Columbarium has been in existence for more than 125 years and is estimated to contain over 40,000 human cremated remains memorialized in its niches.  There continues to be plenty of space available at U. S. Columbarium for additional human cremated remains for many years to come. 


What type of Memorial Service can I have?


You can have a traditional memorial service at your funeral home and church and then follow the human cremated remains to our Crematory Chapel for an additional brief service or farewell tribute.


For those families who do not wish to have the traditional funeral home or church memorial service, our stained glass windowed Chapel provides an excellent alternative for a brief memorial service or farewell tribute just prior to cremation.  Our Chapel Service aids family members in their process of grief transition. 
(For more details about our Chapel click here)


We can also provide a Final Committal Memorial Service over a dignified urn containing human cremated remains in our Chapel or Columbarium just prior to placement for repose in a niche.  Memorial services over the urn allow family members who were not able to attend the funeral or cremation service the ability to participate at a later date.


Do I still need a Funeral Director?


Yes, in New York State a licensed funeral director is required to obtain the necessary cremation permit, as well as to help prepare the body for cremation.  A funeral director can also assist you if you wish to have a traditional wake in a funeral home prior to cremation.


Is any special preparation of the body required?


Embalming is not required for cremation.  However, embalming may be desirable or necessary depending on timing or arrangements for display of the body of the deceased.


Do Pacemakers and other Battery Powered Devices need to be removed before cremation?  
 


Yes, your funeral director will need to remove any implants, such as pacemakers, and any battery powered mechanical devices.  These devices are not designed to be exposed to extreme heat and can explode during the cremation process causing a safety hazard for the operator of the crematory.


Is a special casket needed for Cremation?


Any combustible casket or alternative container can be used.  The container should be rigid enough to support the body of the deceased.  Containers range from elaborate hardwood caskets to simple wood boxes or cardboard containers.  No matter what type of container is selected, the family still has the option of having a dignified brief Committal Service performed in our Chapel just prior to cremation. (See Chapel picture)


Is the body removed from the casket?


No, the casket and all of its contents are placed in the chamber and cremated in their entirety.


Can my family witness the Cremation?


Yes, as part of the Extended Service we offer in our Chapel, Fresh Pond Crematory has a safe viewing area where you can witness the casket being placed into the chamber. 
This service is an integral part of certain religious customs or beliefs.  At Fresh Pond Crematory, we are able to satisfy many religious and cultural needs.


Aren't Catholics discouraged from Cremation by the Church?


Cremation has been permitted by the Catholic Church since 1963 as long as the choice is not made for the purpose of denial of Christian teaching.  It is still recommended that a Church Service or Rite of Committal take place. 


The Catholic Church does not, however, permit scattering of human cremated remains.  They have a firm respect for the dead, whether in the form of body or human cremated remains.  Reverent disposition of human cremated remains in a grave, tomb or niche is required.


Placement of human cremated remains in a niche in a nonsectarian columbarium is permitted.
(Click here for more information on our Columbarium.)


What about scattering the human cremated remains?

When human cremated remains are scattered, the United States Environmental Protection Agency laws provide that the scattering take place three nautical miles from land.  A burial permit or cremation certificate must be filed and sent to the EPA within 30 days and must include the details of the scattering.

( Click here to see detailed Government Regulations)

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For public or private land scattering, please check with your local towns and cities for updated laws on scattering in these areas.

It should be noted, however, that many families, who have scattered human cremated remains report having been left with a void in the healing process.  Families considering scattering are advised to wait for a period of time to reconsider the results of their actions prior to scattering.  For once scattered, there is no turning back.

Instead of scattering, memorializing the memory of the deceased by placing their mortal cremated remains in a personalized niche, leaves behind a special place where the next generation can visit to learn about, remember and honor the memories of the deceased. 


As an alternative which honors the wishes of  both the deceased and the nearest of kin, many families have taken a small portion of human cremated remains for scattering or for saving as a keepsake and have placed the remaining portion in a Memorial Niche.


Scattering is not sanctioned by the Catholic Church.

Is an urn needed for human cremated remains?

We provide a temporary plastic utility container designed to hold human cremated remains until an appropriate permanent urn is secured.

The final resting place of the human cremated remains should be the deciding factor as to the type of urn used since they vary widely in size, style and material.  Recommended examples are:

•    Wood urn for human cremated remains being carried on a plane for the journey home - Wood urns can be x-rayed by airlines for security.  

(Click here for further details from the TSA website)
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•    Biodegradable urn for scattering a small portion of human cremated remains for burial services at sea

•    Bronze urn for placement in a glass front niche

•    Keepsake urn for a holding on to small portion of the remains     

Remember that selecting an urn is an important step in the healing process. The urn should reflect honor and preserve the memory of the deceased with dignity.

(Click here for more information on urns.)  (click here to visit the Columbarium page.)


Should I keep human cremated remains at home for the final resting place?

When it comes to death, we need to leave our mortal remains in a resting place with dignity and reverence.  Doing so allows the survivors a designated place to mourn in privacy and peace.

All too often has a relative uncovered human cremated remains of a deceased wife or husband abandoned in a dark closet at the home.  The question then becomes what to do with the human cremated remains.  The relatives are then burdened emotionally and financially with revisiting funeral arrangements even though the person may have been dead for many years.

If a family desires to take human cremated remains home, it is recommended that they do so for a limited time only and make arrangements for future placement in a final memorial resting place.  It is important to plan a date for the eventual placement into a memorial.

Remember that by keeping human cremated remains at home you will always be reminded of the death instead of the good memories that have been left behind.  The family members need to move on with their lives. 

Finalizing the placement of human cremated remains into a niche completes the final cycle of life.  This enables the family members to focus on their lives going forward and not on the death in the past.

Why would I want to choose to have human cremated remains placed in a Columbarium Niche?


There are several reasons why many families prefer cremation and inurnment with placement in a niche and at U.S. Columbarium in particular.  Here are some reasons that have been reported to us:

  1.  The placement of human cremated remains in a memorial resting place, identified by the name, birth and death dates of the deceased satisfies a basic human need of remembering and being remembered.
  2. A Columbarium Niche at Fresh Pond Crematory provides family members with a real satisfaction in the knowledge of a means of final earthly disposition that harmonizes with the most ideal conceptions of life and of what lies beyond.
  3. Human cremated remains are honored here, reposing truly at rest under reverent perpetual care in a dignified columbarium niche, permanently memorialized with the utmost dignity and respect which they deserve.  
  4. Final placement in a niche, as opposed to keeping the remains at home, is a signal to family members to emotionally resume their lives, remove their focus from the remembrance of a death to a place of tribute to a life lived so as to allow the healing process to begin.
  5. Niche placement preserves memories for families.  It offers future generations a permanently maintained place of dignified serenity to visit, reflect on the lives of their loved ones and feel connected with their ancestors.
  6. The burden of having to find a final resting place for the remains, after some time has passed, is lifted from the family members.
  7. Environmentally speaking, a columbarium niche takes up less space to memorialize a loved one.
  8. With regard to economic cost, the available variety of columbarium niches at U.S. Columbarium can satisfy the financial needs of everyone.
  9. Your loved ones can visit comfortably in any weather since the niches are indoors and climate is controlled.
  10. Viewing a bronze urn through a glass front niche in our beautiful and serene Columbarium setting gives families a more personal and close feeling as well as a peaceful place to come to and reflect on the honor the memory of their deceased loved one.

Where will my family visit my remains?


Fresh Pond Crematory’s U.S. Columbarium, where niches are available for purchase for individual, companion or family inurnment, is located in an historic and architecturally significant building listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It has been serving the community for over 125 years and continuously by the same family for over 50 years.  The Columbarium is permanently maintained and the facilities are alarmed, monitored and secure at all times.

The urns are secured in their niches by glass or bronze fronts.  The memorial urns and niches can be personalized by selecting one of our many memorial options using your family pictures or personal items.

(For more information click here to visit the Columbarium page.)


Are advanced arrangements for cremation advised?


The choice for cremation should certainly be discussed with the family in advance so that the wishes of both the deceased and the family can be honored.  A visit to Fresh Pond Crematory is recommended to learn first hand about the options discussed above, to see the facilities and the niches available for memorialization.


Advance arrangements can relieve an emotional and financial burden from the family members at one of life’s most difficult times.  


At Fresh Pond Crematory and U.S. Columbarium we honor, respect and embrace the many diverse cultural needs presented to us.  Please contact our bereavement specialists should your group have special requests.

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Tour our historic columbarium with it’s Tiffany stained glass windows and neo classical architecture.

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