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Cremation Services

When considering cremation, today's families are concerned with many complex issues: how cremation affects the environment (especially when compared to traditional burial), personal finances and faith being amongst the top three. If you, or a family member, are curious about cremation or wondering if cremation is the right option for your situation, we invite you to read the articles in this section. And of course, if you have concerns or additional questions, we ask that you connect with us by calling (412) 793-3000. We will be pleased to take part in your cremation conversation.

 


 

What is Cremation?

Part of making funeral arrangements on behalf of a loved one involves choosing between burial of the body, or cremation. Certainly this is a big decision, based on any number of factors: religious or spiritual beliefs, finances, or ecological awareness are just some of the reasons we've heard for choosing cremation. Before you can make the choice, you need to know exactly what it is you're considering. You can learn the basics below, however, if the content here raises additional questions for you, please give us a call. One of our cremation specialists will address any of your inquiries or concerns.

Cremation Explained

The Cremation Association of North America describes cremation as, "The mechanical and/or thermal or other dissolution process that reduces human remains to bone fragments". On our page, The Cremation Process, we offer a deeper look at the most common cremation process which uses extreme heat.

As we said earlier, people choose cremation over burial of casketed remains for any combination of reasons. Sometimes it's the simple fear of burial itself, which may stem directly from the Victorian phobia of being buried alive.

What is Required to Arrange for Cremation?

Once the cremation-over-burial decision has been made, all that's required is authorization. This is provided by the person who is the legally identified or appointed next-of-kin. Once all authorization documents are signed, and service charges are paid; the body can be transported from the place of death to the crematory and the cremation process can take place. However, there are some additional things you may wish to consider, such as:

  • Is there a special set of clothes (such as a military uniform or favorite dress) your loved one would appreciate the thought of wearing? This will be a focus of the cremation arrangement conversation, and you will be advised by your funeral director as to your best options regarding jewelry or other valuable personal items.
  • Are there any keepsake items you'd like to include in their cremation casket? Perhaps there's a special memento, such as a treasured photograph or letter? We sometimes suggest family members write cards, notes or letters to their deceased loved one, and place them in the casket prior to the cremation.
  • Would you or other family members like to be present for–or participate to some degree in–your loved one's cremation? Because we know how healing it can be to take part in an act of "letting go", we welcome the opportunity to bring interested family or friends into the crematory. Please discuss your desire to participate with your funeral director.
  • What will you keep the cremated remains or ashes in after the cremation or the service? Many families are simply unaware that they can purchase a cremation urn to be placed in a special place such as the family home. We offer a large selection of urns that will help memorialize your loved one. Ask one of our caring funeral director's to see the wide variety of urns.

Is it Time to Speak with One of Our Cremation Specialists?

We encourage open dialog about all end-of-life issues, and sincerely hope you reach out to us to dig deeper into the topics related to cremation and burial. Call us today to ask a question or to set an appointment (either in your home or our office). We look forward to the conversation.

Why Choose Cremation?

Everyone has their own personal reasons for choosing cremation over traditional casketed burial.

Cremation Costs are Only One Reason

Given the religious, ethnic, and regional diversity among us, there are many other reasons for the dramatic rise in the number of cremations performed each year. According to Tyler Mathisen of NBC, one of those reasons "is the softening of the Catholic church's views of the practice. For centuries—until 1963, in fact—the church outlawed it. The church's laws still express a preference for burial. But the outright ban is a thing of the past."

He goes on to tell readers that the decline in nuclear families is another reason. "As more Americans live far from hometowns and parents, and as family burial plots have waned in popularity and accessibility, millions have turned to cremation as a practical and cost-effective way to care for a loved one's remains."

Cremation also allows a family the flexibility they may need in planning and preparing for a memorial service, celebration-of-life, or a scattering ceremony. While the cremation process can occur almost immediately (once all the proper paperwork is complete), the decisions required in planning a meaningful memorial for a loved one can be made in a relaxed, rational way.

You can also be sure that concern for the environment ranks high among many who choose cremation. Casketed and embalmed remains take up cemetery space and can pollute the ground water but many still question the amount of atmospheric pollution created by the cremation process.

Are You Ready to Talk About Cremation?

We want you to know that no matter your reasons for choosing cremation, we're here to help you explore your options. When you're ready, call us to set an appointment or simply drop by our office. You can also send us an email via our online contact us form.

Sources:

  1. What is Cremation, Cremation Association of North America
  2. Mathisen, Tyler, "Cremation is the Hottest Trend in the Funeral Industry"

 


 

Cremation Options

We are caring cremation experts who promise each family we serve the highest level of:

  • Courteous, professional service. Our dedicated staff will take care of all details, including prompt filing of required permits and notifications. Accurate completion of these essential documents not only ensures their acceptance by local or state agencies; it guarantees your loved one's cremation will not be delayed.
  • Respectful care of the deceased and timely completion of cremation process. Your loved one will be attended to by certified crematory operators; each of whom has been trained to provide both compassionate care for the deceased, and conscientious attention to detail throughout the cremation process.
  • Safekeeping and prompt return of cremated remains. We know it's important for the families we serve to know their loved one will be coming home as soon as possible. That's why we promise to notify you as soon as their ashes become available, and safeguard their urn until the time you are ready to receive them.
  • A memorial service to celebrate the life of the deceased. There are many advantages to taking some time to remember the life lived, share stories and laugh about all of the memories. Our team can help you plan a fitting memorial service with or without the cremation urn present, at our facility or in a place of your choosing.

We offer three cremation options; each can be modified to meet your needs:

  1. Traditional cremation services. These are much like a traditional funeral. The body of the deceased, placed in a specially-selected cremation casket or a rental casket, is the focal point of the service. A visitation can take place prior to the funeral service and the cycle is completed with the cremation rather than a traditional burial. Once the cremation has occurred, the cremated remains are returned to your family. You can then decide to scatter, bury, or retain the cremated remains in an urn.
  2. Memorial gathering after the cremation has taken place. This can occur at any time after the cremation process. The urn is usually on display at the service, which can take place in any setting preferred by the family.
  3. Direct cremation. This involves completion of all required paperwork and the transportation of the deceased from the hospital, home, nursing facility, or coroner's office to the crematory.

Why You Should Think of Us as Your Trusted Cremation Services Provider

We've had years of experience serving many families, so we understand and respect your decisions. Not only that, we will take all the time you may need to make an informed decision. Call us today or email us through the Contact Us form. We encourage you to contact us to discuss the cremation services we offer and to explore cremation costs. We are here to help you make an informed decision. Simply call to ask any questions.

 


 

The Cremation Process

Cremation has been a part of the human death experience for a very long time. If you would like to understand more about the cremation process we invite you to read this section. We'll also take a look at cremation costs that will help you with your decision.

Traditional cremation is the process of reducing a body at very high temperatures until it is nothing but brittle, calcified bones. These are then processed into what we commonly call ashes. Returned to the family in a temporary urn (or a more personal urn selected by the family), these ashes can be kept, buried, or scattered. Some families even choose to place a loved one's cremated remains in a hand-crafted piece of cremation art.

The container housing the remains, which can be a casket or an alternative container, is placed in the retort or cremating chamber. It takes anywhere from two to three hours to reduce an average adult to skeletal remains. When the cremated remains are cooled, they are processed to a uniformly-sized pebble-like substance and placed in an urn or temporary container. The funeral director then returns the cremated remains to the family.

Cremation Costs

Cremation costs vary dramatically depending on the services selected. Some cremation services can be priced comparable to that of a traditional burial. Visit our page, Our Cremation Options to see all the options available. While it's true that cost is a big factor for many families, it's important to remember that cremation is simply a form of dispostition, an alternative to burial or entombment, not funeral services as a whole. Coming to terms with the death of a loved one is important and can be achieved with a memorial service. Bringing family and friends together provides everyone with the opportunity to share memories and receive support.

Spend Time with Us

Sit down with us to discuss your cremation options. We appreciate the opportunity to share our insights and experience to fully support you in making end-of-life decisions for you and your family. Call us at (412) 793-3000 to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

Soxman Funeral Home
Phone: (412) 793-3000
Fax: (412) 798-9897
Email: staff@soxmanfuneralhomes.com
7450 Saltsburg Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15235


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