End of Life Preparation: Cremation Funeral

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Vanderbilt University
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Though very painful, everyone should be aware that the life we live will come to an end it is only that we neither know the day nor hour when that will happen. For Christians preparing for the crossing of the final line, death is not the end of life but a pass way to eternal life. The hope for eternal life to override the fear of death but the reality is that everyone has his or her last day as a living being. The issues that arise when someone approaches sunset days is how they would wish to have their corpses disposed of safely.

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There are many ways of treating someones body when he or she has departed with life. For once, one can instruct those who are left behind on how to deal with the lifeless body. Some people, just before their last breath, propose their body either for burning or burial. In some particular cases, someone can write a will that when he or she dies, his body be preserved in the lab for learning in medical schools. Such practices are common with doctors who had great passion in their career.


A cremation is a form of cadaver disposal where the body is burnt to ashes. The family or an individual may propose it as the last ceremony, while some religion does it as a routine or the recommended way of doing away with the body of our loved ones. The ashes, which are the product of cremation can be applicable in making of sparkling diamonds seen on finger rings or nestled among the colorful underwear creatures such as artificial coral reef bank. In a broader sense, cremation is the process of reducing a dead body to ashes at a very high temperature. The ashes can be treasured, buried, scattered or made into valuable objects as the last rites of the deceased.

As out-fashioned as it might seem to be, cremation is somewhat finding its way back in the recent past. It is on the rise as many people prefer it to burial on the account that it is more practical and cost effective as it is easier to deal with the ashes than the dead body, more so where the distance is a factor to be put into consideration. Some people find it to be in agreement with their religious beliefs. Whatever the case, cremation is on the rise.

Preparation and Cremation Process

What the families of the deceased receive after cremation are a grayish, coarse material composing of ground-up bones. A cadaver passes through various processes before finally faced fire as the final stage. The body stays in a temperature-controlled room till it becomes suitable for cremation process. Upon approval by the specialists, removal of some body organs follows. Pacemakers which explodes in the heat, as well as prostheses and silicone implants, are some of the body components that should be separated from the body. The removal list also consists of radioactive cancer seeds just in case the deceased had been treated for cancer in his or her life. Body ornaments such as jewelry or glasses may be removed, but that depends on ones geographical location and culture. As a final stage, the corpse is placed in a casket made of flammable material preferably plywood.

The incinerator is pre-heated to a temperature of about 1100 Fahrenheit, and then the casket with the body rolls quickly into the primary retort chamber and then the door is sealed. There is a window where the family members can use in viewing the whole cremation process. Once the door is sealed, the fire starts, and a jet-engine-like flame is directed towards the torso region. The heat sets the casket ablaze, and the body dries up as body tissues lose water. The muscles flex and extend limbs. The muscles, which are the last to face the wrath of the fire, start to crumble (Pope, 2004). On average, human body takes about two to three hours to burn to ashes producing three to nine pounds of ashes on average (Ellenberg, 2008).

In the burning process, a second flame starts in a secondary chamber purposefully to burn any particles or dust that comes from the first chamber. That is to remove any bad smell and the smoke which comes from the first chamber. Some new retorts have wet scrubbers in the emission stack that aids in trapping particles that escape (Sullivan, 2008). When the body has been burnt to ashes, the chamber is cooled, and skeletal remains are put on a tray. A hand magnet is passed through the collected ashes to remove any metal such as plates and hip replacements which are often applicable in surgery. The metals are disposed of while the other remnants are ground and then presented to the family (Ellenburg, 2008).

Cremation Dominance

Though cremation is on the rise, not everyone is for it. There are factors which fall under either of the following: culture, religion, economy or region. These factors influence the way people opt for cremation. Cremation is dominant in some countries but is almost non-existent in some areas. It is a rare practice in Cristian community as it conflicts religious belief such as life after death and everyone will have to resurrect on the judgment day. Research shows that cremation is dominant due to the influence of Buddhist in China and Korea. Cremation thrives well in India. It is even a different scenario in India as Hinduism religion believes that cremation is one of the 16 life rituals. They even conduct open-air- cremation.

Cost of Cremation Funeral

A cremation-based funeral is much less expensive compared to a burial funeral, which costs $10,000 on average (Harris, 2007). Though the cost of cremation varies from place to place, it costs less $ 1,000 depending on the type of cremation chosen. A direct cremation which will include transportation, brief storage of the body, necessary casket may cost $700 to $1,300, excluding document processing or permit fees. The full cremation cost, factoring document processing is about $2,100, as charged by cremation.com. In exceptional cases where embalming is necessary, a fee of $200-$700 may be charged for the service. The total cost of cremation is also a subject of the method of disposing of the ashes which can introduce other expenses. As compared to burial ceremony, it is the most cost-effective, and it is preferable in particular where long distances are involved. It is easier transporting ashes as compared to transporting the body over long distances.


Though not wrong doing research on topics such as the end of life preparation, it arouses emotions. As one presents the results and facts about celebrating someones life, the somber mood automatically takes over. You find yourself mourning and grieving inwardly, and anyone passing by can easily notice the change in your condition as expressed on the face. All the same, it is the reality of life that no one will live to eternity. You will have to part with your life, and as believed by Christians, there is life after death. We must just accept that death exists and gather the courage to present facts about it. Raise awareness. Let those with ears hear and prepare all that they have to do while they can still go about their daily duties.


Pope, J. (2004). Exploding skulls and other myths about how the human body burns. Fire & Arson Investigator. Retrieved from https://www.burnedbone.com/downloads/ExplodingSkulls.pdf

Harris, M. (2007). Grave matters: A journey through the modern funeral industry to a natural way of burial. Scribner. Retrieved from http://www.gravematters.us/

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