Frequently asked questions
Cremation involves the use of intense heat to reduce the deceased’s body to mineral fragments which may then be buried, scattered or retained in a commemorative urn. It is thought that around 75 per cent of all UK funerals are now cremations rather than burials.
The cost of a burial is usually much higher than the fee charged for cremation but the funeral director’s charges will be similar for both.
Service options are also much the same for either burial or cremation. The service may take place in one’s own church or chapel, with a short committal service at the crematorium, or the service may be conducted entirely in the crematorium chapel. You can arrange for your own minister to conduct the service, or you can opt for a civil ceremony or none at all.
The coffin is usually brought into the chapel, followed by the mourners in procession. The service commences and, at the moment of committal, the coffin may be obscured from view by curtains, withdrawn through a gateway or lowered to a committal room below. At the end of the service, mourners leave the chapel and may read the floral tributes before leaving.
The Code of Cremation Practice* requires that the cremation takes place on the same day as the cremation service and so, where possible, the cremation immediately follows the service.
*The Code of Cremation Practice is the code adhered to by members of the Federation of British Cremation Authorities.
Yes. The Code requires that nothing be removed from the coffin after it has been received from the chapel. For this reason, we recommend that any jewellery or other personal items be removed from the deceased, unless it is intended that they should be cremated.
Only one coffin is cremated at a time, except in special circumstances when next of kin request that two coffins be cremated together.
It is possible for up to two people to witness the committal of the coffin to the cremator but the superintendent should be advised in advance.
Cremation ashes are reduced to a fine, white powder which may be scattered in the crematorium’s Garden of Remembrance or removed for burial in a family grave or for scattering in some favourite location.
Rigorous procedures are in place to ensure you receive the right ashes.
Bereavement is the feeling of loss for something or for someone we have loved or cherished. It can be the result of moving house and leaving friends behind, losing a much loved pet or even the loss of a favourite possession that we have kept for years for sentimental reasons.
Sometimes bereavement shows no signs whatsoever at first – its onset can be unpredictable. When we lose someone close, we may not feel anything because we simply cannot accept that they’ve gone. Some people cry all the time, some not at all. Some have severe shock, feel cold and shake, while others think they’ve not been affected by bereavement because they don’t experience any feelings of sadness – it’s different for everyone.
After the funeral
It is often only after the funeral, when family and friends have returned to their normal routines of life that the reality of what has happened sinks in. We may feel anger at God, the doctor or even our loved one for leaving us. We are often left with a sense of guilt about something we did, or something we should have done but never got the chance to do. Don’t worry, all of these feelings are perfectly normal.
There is no definite answer to this question – feelings can last for days, weeks, months or even years after a death or loss. The very intense feelings will fade as time goes on and, although it is true that time can heal wounds, both physical and emotional, we will never completely forget.
The passing of time
The passing of time will help to ease the pain and make our feelings more bearable, allowing us to live our lives with happier and more comfortable memories. Bereavement, however, is not a regulated process and no two people are exactly the same – bereavement will take as long as it takes.
Yes! In some way or another, whether it be short or long, very painful or just slightly emotional, we will all be touched by the feelings of bereavement.
However you feel, go with your feelings. Don’t bottle your emotions up; share them and let others around you know how you are feeling. If you feel like crying, cry. If you feel like laughing, laugh. It is important that you deal with bereavement in your own way, no matter how it might look to others. Never be ashamed of the way you cope – do what you feel is best for you.
The only way in which we can avoid ever suffering bereavement is not to love – but what an empty and lonely life that would be.
Traditionally, the chapel of rest used to be furnished to resemble a chapel in church, stained glass and Christian symbols being the norm. Today though, the chapel is simply a tranquil room, although the term chapel is still commonly used.
For most people, visiting the chapel of rest is an opportunity to say goodbye. Coming to terms with the loss of someone close can be very painful and a visit to the chapel will often mean a peaceful image stays in the memory. It also confirms the fact of death, a necessary part of the grieving process.
For various reasons, guilt can often compel people to visit the chapel of rest. Maybe harsh words had been exchanged with the deceased and bad feelings left unresolved. Maybe there’s guilt about not having visited often enough. Whatever the reason, the opportunity to express one’s remorse, even though there will be no response, is a valuable way to heal old wounds.
The confirmation that death has really occurred, helps the grieving process. Until that final proof of death is faced, there remains the unbelievable idea that the lost person may still reappear, alive and well.
If the death has been traumatic, there are fears that the person may have suffered great pain, or may be badly scarred or injured. A visit to the chapel of rest is a great relief in the circumstances, a peaceful and pleasant final memory of someone who looks as they always did.
A visit to the chapel of rest can often be an aid to the release of emotion which may otherwise be held in check, to the detriment of the bereaved person’s physical and mental wellbeing.
It has been said that, until someone expresses their physical feelings and emotions, they cannot start the journey to acceptance of their loss.
The chapel of rest provides a peaceful and private place in which to express feelings you might not want to show in front of others.
Before someone visits the chapel of rest, they have generally created a mental picture of what they hope to see – their loved one looking much as they knew them in life, peaceful, familiar and comforting. Death can sometimes alter the face, taking away familiar lines and smoothing contours. What they actually see may not be exactly what they expect, but still an acceptable image to stay in their memory even so.
Contrary to popular belief, modern embalming is not ancient Egyptian mummification but the process of hygienically treating the deceased person with specially formulated chemicals, injected through the arterial system of the body.
Modern embalming consists of the injection of a preserving and disinfectant chemical solution through the arterial system of the body. The solution, by means of a pump, travels through the arteries until it enters tiny vessels called capillaries. These vessels are perforated and allow a certain amount of solution to seep through and preserve the tissue.
As the tissue only allows a small amount of solution to be absorbed at any one time, the remaining solution continues through the circulatory system and is released through a vein.
No! In the vast majority of cases, the artery and vein required for embalming can be accessed through one small incision. Modern embalming today can almost be described as a keyhole surgical operation.
Embalming is carried out to address three main issues and has beneficial results for both the funeral director and the client.
After death, nature begins to take its course and the effects become increasingly obvious as time goes on. This natural process alters the way the deceased person looks but, by preserving the body temporarily, it is possible to delay the onset of these inevitable changes.
Today there are many new and virulent infections which would prove extremely harmful to anyone coming into contact with them. Fortunately, the embalming process clinically cleans the body, destroying any harmful bacteria that may be present. This reduces any possible risk of infection to the deceased’s family.
This perhaps the only result of embalming the family will ever notice or appreciate. Because of the special chemicals used, embalming will restore a natural and restful appearance to the deceased and this can be of great comfort to those visiting their loved one in the chapel of rest.