Cremation: What to Expect

Today, cremation is a more popular choice than ever, but if you’ve never been through the process for a loved one, you may not know what cremation actually entails. We hope this guide to our cremation services helps to better prepare you, whether you’ve already chosen cremation or are still considering your options.

Pickup and Transportation

Once a person has passed and the proper authorities have been notified, a family member should call Anthony Funerals & Cremations to let us know. If your loved one is at a hospice or medical facility, they can contact us on your behalf. Once we receive the call, we send out a licensed funeral director to their location. They will first place a scannable ID bracelet on the deceased (we will scan this ID to verify their identity during every step of the cremation process). The funeral director will carefully carry the deceased out to an unmarked van and then to our facility. Upon arrival, their ID is scanned again before we transfer the loved one to cold storage in order to keep them safe and secure until cremation takes place.

We will ask for permission to embalm if the family plans to hold a traditional funeral or needs extra time to decide on final arrangements. Otherwise, embalming is not necessary.

Legal requirements

Up until this point, the process is almost identical to what happens before a traditional burial. With cremation, there is certain legal paperwork that must be filed before we can proceed. We take care of all this paperwork on behalf of the family—it typically takes a few days for us to secure the death certificate and all necessary signatures and permits. Once we take the deceased into our care, the family should expect to receive the cremated remains within one week.

Final Arrangements

Once the deceased is in our care, we work with the family to plan final arrangements. We encourage families to have some type of funeral, celebration of life or memorial service. Gathering together in grief is an important ritual that helps families and communities begin to heal after loss. Choosing cremation doesn’t limit a family’s funeral choices at all. You may still hold a traditional funeral with a public viewing before the cremation. After the cremation, many families opt to hold a service with the urn in place of a casket or hold a unique celebration of life. It’s also possible to have a graveside service and bury the cremated remains.

Aside from finalizing funeral plans, this is the time to select a wood casket or a cremation container (a simple vessel the deceased will be cremated in) and to consider what to do with the ashes. There are many options, whether that is selecting an urn, choosing a location to bury or inter the remains, or choosing temporary storage until the ashes can be shared or spread in a final resting place. You can find many beautiful urn selections online.

Private or public viewing

Whatever the final arrangements are, the family has the option to come in for a viewing. There are two types of viewings: a private viewing with only the closest family members in attendance, or a public viewing as part of a wake or funeral.

If the family decides not to have a funeral, or if the funeral is planned for after the cremation, a small private viewing is the final opportunity for the closest loved ones to say goodbye beforehand. The deceased is carefully prepared and dressed in clothes that are provided by the family. Many families find a viewing to be a worthwhile experience that has helped them come to accept their loss and begin to heal.

For a public viewing before cremation, the deceased is embalmed, dressed and placed in a casket for the wake or funeral.

Preparation and Cremation

Following the viewing, the deceased is placed in a cremation casket or alternative container, then transferred to the retort (cremation chamber). Throughout this process, we take care to verify the ID of the deceased several times. The actual cremation takes about two hours, after which only bone and metal fragments remain. The metal is removed and the remains are ground into a fine, sand-like powder. This powder is what we normally call ashes or cremated remains. We carefully package the remains into the urn (or a temporary container if the family has other plans for the remains). We hand the ashes over to a designated family member so they may take their loved one to their final resting place.

Where to Begin

Anthony Funeral and Cremation Chapels is a family-owned mortuary. We have served the Rochester and Webster, New York communities for over 60 years. We are available to answer your questions, guide you through your options, and arrange cremation services or preplan a cremation whenever you need us. Call us at (585) 244-0770 in Rochester or (585) 872-6380 in Webster.