Cremation is a method of final disposition where the deceased's remains are reduced by intense heat in a device called a "retort" until only bone fragment is left. The bone fragments are processed into smaller pieces called cremains. Cremains may be buried in the ground, entombed in a mausoleum, scattered or kept by a family member/ members.
In most states, the county coroner or medical examiner's office must authorize a cremation. This authorization assures the deceased did not die for any reason other than natural causes or accident. If the death was not for those reasons, the medical examiner will authorize a cremation but only after all legal and/or physical evidence has been secured.
Individual or companion (two people) urns are available in hundreds of designs made from wood, glass, cast or sheet bronze, ceramic, plastic, marble, copper, marbleon or cultured stone. Many urns have the ability to be engraved or an engraved plate may be attached to them.
Being cremated does not prevent one from having traditional funeral services. Whether the visitation and funeral service is one day or over a two-day period in the funeral home or at a church, the cremation can take place after the services. Cremation caskets are available but are not required by state law. A rental casket is available for visitation purposes or a casket may be purchased.