What is Cremation?
Cremation is a process in which intense heat is used to transform the body back to its basic elements. The remains are placed in a cremation container (see cremation casket) and burned, thereby vaporizing all of the soft tissue. What remains is not ashes, but bone fragments usually weighing about 5 pounds. These fragments are then contained in a cremation urn in preparation for final disposition.
Cremation is performed by certified entities (crematories) that are governed by state law. Crematories are often affiliated with particular funeral homes or cemeteries but can also be separate specialized entities.
The decision to cremate should be thought of as independent of what type of service is appropriate. Funeral services (see Ceremony) are ways for the living to share memories and express the significance of the person passed. They allow families to express their grief, find closure and move on with their lives.