When a loved one dies, the grieving process begins. Along with mourning the physical loss, you must also make crucial decisions about the deceased’s final arrangements. One of the options you may have is cremation. Here are 7 things to consider when preparing a loved one for cremation.

1- Funeral or Memorial

A funeral generally takes place before cremation and soon after a death. You may choose to have a visitation time or “wake” with the family the evening before the funeral or the hour before the funeral. Or you may decide not to have visitation at all.

Often families will use a funeral home chapel as the venue where the funeral takes place. Many funeral homes provide all-inclusive packages that allow the use of the chapel for the wake and the funeral as part of their services.

With cremation, you also have another option. You can choose to have your cremation provider carry out the cremation and then later have a memorial service for your loved one. This option may give you more flexibility if you have family from out of town who need time to plan a visit.

2- Where to Meet With Your Family to Remember

If you choose a memorial service, you may decide to meet almost anywhere. There is no need for a casket or a flower-filled sanctuary. You could rent a park shelter and have a picnic in their honor, rent a museum and look at art to remember their favorites, or even take a memorial cruise with family members and scatter the ashes at sea.

If you choose to have a funeral, you may decide to hold a wake and funeral at a community center, church, or another religious facility. Top-of-the-line funeral homes include moving the deceased as part of their all-inclusive packages.

3- To Embalm or Not to Embalm

If you plan an open-casket wake, it’s crucial to allow for embalming if a significant amount of time passes between the death and the wake. 

Embalming is unnecessary if you object to the chemicals or choose green burial. However, time is of the essence in going ahead with your funeral arrangements if you choose not to embalm.

You may also not need embalming if you move forward with cremation early in the funeral or memorial process. There is no need to wait for cremation if you are not planning a wake and funeral before the cremation. In this case, you can plan the cremation soon after death without embalming. Later, you can schedule the memorial service at your family’s convenience.

4- Open or Closed Casket

If you have a wake or funeral service, you may opt for an open casket. An open casket allows family and friends to pay their respects one final time by seeing the deceased person’s face and saying goodbye in their own way. It also provides for a more tangible connection to the death for young children who may not understand what has happened. Seeing their loved one in a casket helps give them a sense of finality.

A closed casket can still be part of a beautiful memorial service that celebrates your loved one’s life. In this case, you can place photos or mementos from the person’s life on or around the casket. You may also choose to have a video presentation of pictures and memories as part of the service.

If you decide on cremation, you may still choose a wooden casket in place of the particleboard or cardboard provided by many funeral homes. You may like the idea of making a wooden casket yourself. Or, you could pick out a casket you believe your deceased loved one would appreciate.

Some funeral homes offer a cremation tribute area for you to see the deceased and participate in the cremation process to an extent. You may even decide to have a small ceremony around the body in the moments right before the cremation, 

5- Cremation Urn Choices

When the cremation center returns your cremains to you, they will generally be in a temporary cardboard box or plastic bag. You then need to decide what type of container, or urn, you want for the permanent housing of the remains.

You can find many different types and styles of urns. They range widely in price, from economic and straightforward models to ornate and expensive choices. The sky is the limit in how much you want to spend on an urn for your loved one’s ashes. Just remember that the focus should be on celebrating their lives, not on the urn that will eventually hold their cremated remains.

6- Clothing, Jewelry, Makeup, & Hair Before Cremation

Suppose your family plans an open casket wake and funeral before cremation. In that case, you may want to let the funeral home place their favorite clothes and jewelry and do makeup and hair similar to how they wore these items while alive. You’ll most likely want your loved one to look similar to how they did while alive so that you can say your goodbyes in a meaningful way.

7- Personal Items to Place in the Casket or Urn

You may want to place a sentimental personal item in the casket or urn with your loved one. You could choose a favorite book, toy, article of clothing, or piece of jewelry and also want to include a letter expressing your love and grief. These items stay with your loved one through their cremation and into the urn or other disposition of ashes.

Final Thoughts on How to Prepare a Loved One for Cremation

These are only a few of the decisions you’ll need to make when choosing cremation for your loved one. By being prepared and knowing what to expect, you can focus on celebrating your loved one’s life and grieving together as a family.

Cremation is an increasingly popular choice for many people. The decisions you make surrounding your loved one’s cremation are personal ones that only you and your family can make. Consider all of the factors involved to choose what is best for everyone. With careful planning, you can create a beautiful tribute to your deceased loved one, celebrating their life and bringing you comfort during your grief.

We Can Help

Making the decision to cremate a loved one is never easy. But knowing what to expect can help make the process a little bit easier. If you’re considering cremation as an option, let us help make a plan at our cremation tribute center. Our compassionate and understanding team will work with you every step of the way to ensure that your loved one’s final arrangements are exactly how you want them. We understand that this is a difficult time, and we’re here to help. Contact us today for more information about our cremation services.