What is a Cremation

Cremation Process and Options

Francisco Rivero

Licensed Funeral Director #FDR76

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2 minutes

Cremation Explained

In times of loss and grief, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the options available for honoring our departed loved ones. One increasingly popular choice is cremation. As a full-service funeral and cremation business in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, Pacific Interment is dedicated to providing compassionate support and guidance during these difficult times. In this post, we will explore what cremation entails, its process, and the various memorialization options associated with it.

What is Cremation? Cremation is a dignified and respectful alternative to traditional burial, which has gained significant acceptance in recent years. It is a process that involves the reduction of the deceased’s body to its basic elements through high-temperature flame-based or water-based methods. Once the cremation process is complete, the remains are returned to the family for final disposition according to their wishes.

The Cremation Process:

  1. Documentation and Authorization: Before cremation, the funeral home obtains the necessary legal permits and completes the required documentation, ensuring compliance with local regulations.
  2. Identification and Preparation: A unique identification system is employed throughout the entire process to guarantee the correct identification of the deceased. Any personal belongings or items to be cremated with the individual are carefully documented.
  3. Cremation Chamber: The body is placed inside a cremation chamber, often called a retort or cremator. It is heated to temperatures ranging from 1,400 to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (760 to 1,090 degrees Celsius). The intense heat and flame reduce the body to bone fragments through a process called combustion.
  4. Cooling and Processing: After the completion of the cremation process, the bone fragments are allowed to cool down. Once cooled, they undergo a process called processing or pulverization. This involves the use of specialized equipment to reduce the fragments into a finer, sand-like consistency known as cremated remains or “ashes.”
  5. Final Disposition: The cremated remains are carefully placed in an urn or container selected by the family. Families can choose to keep the urn in their homes, place it in a columbarium or mausoleum, scatter the ashes in a meaningful location, or opt for other memorialization methods, such as creating memorial jewelry or incorporating the remains into an artificial reef.

Memorialization Options:

Cremation offers a wide range of memorialization options that allow families to personalize their loved one’s farewell. Some of these options include:

  1. Traditional Memorial Service: Families can hold a traditional memorial service, similar to a funeral, where the urn or container is present. This service can include eulogies, music, prayers, and the sharing of memories.
  2. Scattering of Ashes: Scattering the ashes in a location that held significance to the deceased or their family can be a meaningful way to say goodbye. It could be a serene natural setting, the ocean, or any other location that holds special meaning.
  3. Columbarium or Mausoleum: Placing the urn in a columbarium or mausoleum provides a permanent and accessible place for loved ones to visit and pay their respects.
  4. Memorial Jewelry or Keepsakes: Cremated remains can be transformed into beautiful memorial jewelry or keepsakes, allowing family members to carry a tangible reminder of their loved one close to their hearts.

Cremation is a deeply personal and increasingly popular choice for honoring and remembering departed loved ones. Understanding the cremation process and the various memorialization options available allows families to make informed decisions during a difficult time. Pacific Interment is committed to providing compassionate support and guidance to families in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, ensuring their loved ones’ final wishes are respectfully fulfilled.


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