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Cremation

Studies show that the average person attends a funeral once every five years. Also, that the average person will make funeral arrangements twice in their lifetime. Given that information, we put together this booklet to provide information and express the views of this funeral home. As a funeral director I pledge to further the high standards of cremation on the highest level of integrity and to emphasize the importance of proper service.

Today more families are selecting cremation, but cremation isn't the only decision that a family has to make. As a funeral director I feel it is my responsibility to let you know all I can about cremation and your options. The following is the most frequently asked questions about cremation.

Is cremation a popular choice in the U.S.?

Cremation is the method of choice for a growing number of families in the United States & Canada. Cremation is the second most preferred form of final disposition in the U.S. The most common is earth burial. Cremation currently accounts for over 25% of all final dispositions. Cremation should be looked upon as simply an alternative to earth burial.

What is cremation?

Cremation is a heating process that reduces the human remains to cremated remains. Then the cremated remains are placed in an urn and buried or inurned in a mausoleum.

Why do people select cremation?

Cremation is simply a matter of preference and choice. People have various reasons for selecting cremation influenced by ethnic background or family tradition. The concept that cremation is selected because of perceived lower funeral costs or lack of land for earth burial is inaccurate. In rare instances land is a concern, most cemeteries still have 100- 150 years before land becomes a concern. Funeral costs are based on the fixed expenses and a family's selection of merchandise and services.

Do I need a Funeral Director?

Yes, in New York only a licensed funeral director can transport a person who has passed away, obtain necessary permits and authorizations and process legal documents required at the time of death. Your funeral director can also provide information about local laws and options. (Beware: some cemeteries try to mislead you to believe that you do not need a funeral director and sell you a cremation arrangement. Then when the death occurs you or your family are told that you need a funeral director.)
You should consult with a funeral director before doing anything.

What type of service can we have with cremation?

You can have a traditional service, contemporary service or a memorial mass. Please allow me to briefly explain each. A traditional or contemporary service can be had before the cremation of your loved one. This type of service offers a public viewing by both family and friends or a private viewing by family only. You also can have a closed casket visitation with no viewing. This type of service offers closure to the family, that chance to say good-bye. A memorial service or mass is held either at the funeral home or in your church with the cremated remains present in an urn. During this type of service the family will bring in photographs of their loved one and other mementos that will personalize the service. Your choices are unlimited. Every family should decide which type of service would help them cope with the loss.

How is a cremation service different from a traditional funeral service?

: It isn't. At least it doesn't have to be different. The extent and the content of a cremation service are entirely subject to the wishes of the family. They may choose as much formality or as little as they feel they want to have. They also have more options when cremation is chosen. Remember cremation is the alternative to earth burial and entombment.

What is the benefit of having a traditional funeral with cremation?

Visitation at the funeral home does have a great meaning and too often this is forgotten when cremation is being considered. We seem to think that if the body is not at the funeral home then there is no reason for family and friends to go there. In many cases, of course, the body is there. There is no reason why a body cannot be prepared for a viewing and then be cremated. Cremation should not have any bearing on the visitation. The family needs the presence of friends during this trying time. Most of the help you will receive during this time of grief will come from friends. A visitation provides a great time to talk about the loss and to celebrate the life that was lived. Our funeral home provides a quiet and restful setting for those visiting the family. The family home can become quite chaotic during the days of mourning. It is a wonderful respite to go to the funeral home for an uninterrupted time with family and friends.

What types of caskets are available with cremation?

There are a wide variety of options available with cremation caskets. If you have chosen to have a more traditional funeral then your choice of casket will become more important. The funeral home has a wide range of caskets made of several different types of material ranging from minimum metals to cardboard containers. Most cremation caskets come in a half couch. This is due to the fact that they are 98% combustible. Below are some pictures of cremation caskets.

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Is an Urn necessary?

Cremated remains are often returned in a small temopary continer constucted of either plastic or cardboard. Many people prefer to have the cremated remains placed into an urn. In some cases, these urns will have a very special meaning. People may elect to purchase urns that they consider approprite to, or symbolic, of the deceased. The O'Connell-Murphy Funeral Home has a wide variety of urns to meet the needs of our families. The urns range from the more decorative urn, designed to remain in the home, to those more appropriate for burial. You can add a personal touch to the urn you have selected. There are many designs to choose from. You can also add names, dates of birth and death, a special verse or favorite quotation to further enhance the urn. Medallions depicting the various branches of armed service are available as are appliques to further individualize your urn. This ornamentation can be used alone or in conjunction with an engraved name, dates or other personal information. We'll take the time to work with you to insure we create the personal memorial that immortalizes your loved one and highlights their unique lifestyle, interests or other aspect of their life. If you are planning to use a columbarium, urn garden, mausoleum or cemetery we will need to review any requirements they may have. There are many types of urns, from cast bronze to hardwoods to marble to sheet bronze to pewter to ceramic. Also, we offer single urns and companion urns. Below are a few of the urns that we offer ( if we were to show you all of the urns avaiable we would need at least 200 more pages to do so).

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Can we scatter the cremated remians?

While new York State has no law regulating the ultimate disposition of cremated remains, it is not appropriate to dispose of them upon public domain or upon the private property of another person. (public domain is any land owned by Federal, State, County or Municipal government and includes forests, lakes and streams). Also, the Federal Aviation Administration specifically prohibits throwing anything from an airplane. Essentially, the disposition of cremated remains may properly be done only upon one's private property or within a cemetery or mausoleum. Disposition on one's prpoerty should be avoided because, in due course, the propetry will one day be owned by someone else. If you do decide to scatter the remains on your own property, however, we recommend that it be done by a friend rather than a member of the immediate family. Cremated remains are not ashes. They are bone fragments (frequently recognizable) and scattering them may be an unpleasant emotional task for someone of close relationship to the deceased. New York State law does permit the retention of cremated remains in your home. If you should move to another state with the remains in your possession however, you will be subject to the laws of that state, which may prohibit such possession. Also, before deciding to keep the remains in your home you may wish to consider what will become of them after your own death. The recommended method of disposition of cremated remains is placement in a perpetual care cemetery or mausoleum niche.The cost is nominal and the placement is permanet. In addition to providing a lasting memorial for the deceased, it affords the surviving family an opportunity to visit as the years go by; to remember and reflect.

Can a person be cremated immediately?

Yes, in some instances. Many states have a forty eight hour waiting period from the time of death until the time a person can be cremated. This situation does necessitate embalming and/or refrigeration services when available. In all cases there is a time frame for obtaining necessary information and filing required permits and authorizations.

Does Cremation affect the Grief Process?

With any method of funeral or final disposition three aspects are important. The first is that survivors are comfortable with the choices made. Second, people often find it therapeutic to observe a death with some form of ceremony or memorial service. Third, many people find it helpful to have a place of memorialization of the person who died where they can visit later. As long as these three considerations are dealt with the form of final disposition should not affect the grieving process. Psychologically people need to deal with their grief at the time of loss. This therapy enhances one's capacity to cope with the adjustment period which follows.

How does the cost of cremation compare with the cost of burial or entombment?

The basic charge for an immediate cremation is somewhat less than a traditional burial. However, with so many items of service available to the family, both in the funeral service before and in the mode of final disposition, often it is not possible to make an accurate comparison. Again, the family has the option to select as much or as little as they want. With cremation there are many options.

What are the benfits of pre-planning my funeral wishes?

Pre-Planning your funeral is an act of love, caring and consideration to family members left behind. Pre-Planning alleviates painful decisions at a difficult time and also insures you that the funeral will be carried out according to your wishes and beliefs. The O'Connell-Murphy Funeral Home is well versed in medicaid irrevocable trust accounts and regulations. Also, having experience with Veterans Benefits and Railroad Benefits.

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