What is cremation?
To begin with, it is probably easier to describe what cremation isn't. Cremation is not the final disposition of the body, nor is it a type of funeral service. Rather, it is a process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame.
Don't most funeral homes have a crematory?
No. Most funeral homes subcontract this delicate procedure to a third party provider. Often, the family incurs additional transportation expenses and needless delay. By contrast, we own our cremation equipment at our Mulford facility which is operated by our fully licensed and highly trained staff.
So, I've decided on cremation. Can I still have a funeral or a viewing?
Yes, quite often some sort of viewing precedes the actual cremation. Your Funeral Home can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral with a cremation following or a memorial service.
Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?
No, cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the body's final disposition and often follows a traditional funeral service.
How long does the actual cremation take?
It depends on the weight of the individual. For an average size adult, cremation takes from two to three hours at normal operating temperature between 1,500 degrees F to 2,000 degrees F.
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.
Is a casket needed for cremation?
No, a casket is not required for cremation. All that is required by state law is an alternative container constructed of fibreboard or wood which is cremated with the body. The only time a casket is required is when the family chooses a public service with the body present prior to cremation. For these occasions we offer a selection of cremation caskets as well as economical rental caskets.
Is it possible to have a funeral before cremation?
Yes. A common misconception is that cremation is an alternative to a funeral rather than an alternative to burial. In all cultures outside America, where practiced widely, cremation is highly ritualized and done with ceremony at which the deceased is present. Today we find people choosing cremation simply as one step in the overall process and not as a substitute for the funeral. It is one of the reasons Fitzgerald Funeral Home offers ceremonial (rental) caskets for the funeral prior to cremation.
How are the cremated remains returned?
The cremated remains are placed in a plastic bag and cardboard box for temporary containment. Most often they are put into the urn of your choice from our large selection of urns.
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.
Can the family witness the cremation?
Yes. Our state-of-the-art cremation facility is set up to allow family members to be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. In fact, some religious groups include this as part of their funeral custom. There is a viewing window through which this may be observed.
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 Fitzgerald personnel to operate our cremation equipment.
What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
A funeral director is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You should feel free to call us at any time.
Will someone come right away?
If you request immediate assistance, yes. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good bye, that is also acceptable. We will come when the time is right for you.
What purpose does a funeral serve?
The funeral ceremony is a customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are recognized rituals for the living to show respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grief process.
What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters, caregivers and administrators. They make the arrangements for transportation of your loved one, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Funeral directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty coping, and recommend sources of professional help. Funeral directors also link survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the community.
Do you have to have a funeral director to bury my loved one?
In most states, family members may bury their own dead although regulations vary. However, most people find it very trying to be solely responsible for arranging the details and legal matters surrounding a death.
Why should we have a public viewing?
Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity voluntary.
What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.
Does a dead body have to be embalmed, according to law?
No. Most states, however, require embalming when death was caused by a reportable contagious disease, when remains are to be transported from one state to another by common carrier or if final disposition is not to be made within a prescribed number of hours.
Why are funerals so expensive?
When compared to other major life cycle events, like births and weddings, funerals are not expensive. A wedding costs at least three times as much; but because it is a happy event, wedding costs are rarely criticized. A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.), these expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral. Moreover, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. Our funeral homes are independently owned and operated with a modest profit margin.
If a loved one dies out of state, can Fitzgerald Funeral Home still help?
Yes, we can assist you with out-of-state arrangements, as well as transferring your loved one to/from another state.
What government agencies help defray final expenses?
Usually, Funeral Directors will help gather the necessary information to apply for funds that may be available (typically around $200) from Social Security, Veterans, retirements and any others.