How are cremation services different from burial services? They're not necessarily. Services with cremation are the same as with earth burial, unless you prefer something different. You can have viewing and visitation arrangements, with an open or closed casket, or no casket at all, for as long or as short a period as you wish. Whatever you choose – casket and burial or cremation – family and friends need time to grieve and to say good-bye. This is the reason for funeral services – to support the living through the pain and loneliness of loss to acceptance and resolution.
Texas law allows a family to authorize the cremation of remains. The spouse alone is able to sign the authorization for this to happen. Otherwise, if there is no spouse, all of the adult children must agree and sign the authorization.
When delivered to the crematory, a body must be in a rigid container, which can be a casket or an alternative container. This casket or alternative container will be consumed during the cremation process.
Cremation is the process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using extreme heat (1600 to 2000 degrees F) and evaporation. The cremated remains are reduced to an unidentifiable consistency, about the texture of coarse sand, through a process called pulverization, and usually weighs between 6 and 8 pounds. Cremated remains, or cremains, are then placed into an urn, usually about the size of a shoebox.
Final disposition of cremated remains may include just about anything the family selects, including:
- Burial in a cemetery
- Keeping them at home, perhaps until final disposition with another future cremation
- A niche at a columbarium (a portion of a cemetery designated for above-ground interment of cremated remains)
- Scattering, although this should be considered carefully, as a place of memorialization may be lost
- Divided, with a portion scattered, a portion buried, and other portions divided among family members
- Or any combination