Dismissing common fears of cremation

There are many horror stories about what happens at the crematorium when a funeral takes place.

For many people it might be the first time they have attended a funeral and so do not know what to expect. Their loved one has died and their lives have been torn apart by the loss.

Below are 4 of the most often asked questions that mourners have been told happens:

  1. The body is removed from the coffin before it is cremated.
  2. Any jewellery on a loved one is removed before it is cremated
  3. You don’t get your loved ones ashes
  4. Do they cremate coffins together

Where these stories originate from I have no Idea and they are all totally untrue, but once voiced to a mourning family, who know no better, it doesn’t require much imagination for the stories to sound very real for the families.

I know first-hand what happens at the crematorium because I worked there for 10 years prior to becoming a funeral director and as such I am in a position to comment of these misconceptions.

The crematorium like ourselves, have a strict code of practise that they must adhere to.

Section 3, article 2 of the code states: “subject to receiving the necessary Authority to Cremate, the coffin and its contents shall be put into the cremator, as soon as practicable, exactly as they have been received on the catafalque.” (The catafalque is the large raised platform that the coffin sits on during the service, which is eventually obscured by the curtain at committal).
As such any jewellery or personal possessions that have been placed with the loved one in the coffin will stay in the coffin and be cremated. The body is not touched at all by the crematorium staff and the coffin stays sealed.

Section 5 of the code states: “Each coffin given to the care of the Cremation Authority shall be cremated separately.” The crematorium ovens are only big enough inside to accommodate one coffin at a time. To ensure a good cremation there must be sufficient air around the coffin.
Each coffin must be identified with a name plate and the crematorium have the right to refuse any cremation if the coffin is not identifiable.

Section 8, article 1 of the code states: “The utmost care shall be taken to ensure that the Cremated Remains/Ashes, following their removal from the cremator, shall be kept separate and suitably identified. The Cremated Remains/Ashes shall be placed in a separate container awaiting final disposal.”
When the crematorium receive the coffin there is an identification process that follows the coffin from start to finish. At every stage this process is followed vigorously so there is absolutely no chance of a mix-up. The ashes you receive are the ashes of your loved one and nobody else.