Start With The Basics

By: Schilling Funeral Home & Cremation
Monday, October 14, 2019

There might be tons of cremation services in Sterling, IL all the time, but that doesn’t mean that everyone knows all about them. Cremation is a great option for body disposition, but its important that you know all the basic information about it before you make a decision for a recently deceased loved one, or for your own eventual passing.  

Let’s start at the beginning, before the cremation. There are a lot of steps before a body is cremated. First, a funeral director or crematory manager needs to obtain a cremation authorization document signed by closest surviving family members. The funeral director then goes through a series of checks to ensure proper body identification to make sure the remains are returned to the proper family.  

The body is then checked and processed to remove any items that cannot be cremated with the body. These items include jewelry and medical devices, especially pacemakers. Once prepared, the body is put inside a cremation casket and checked again for identification. A metal identification tag that won’t burn or melt is also placed inside the cremation casket as a final check for identification.  

Next comes the cremation itself, which takes places in a cremation chamber. This chamber, sometimes called a retort, is built from fire resistant bricks and special masonry compounds designed to stand up to extremely high temperatures. The body, inside its cremation casket, is placed inside the chamber.  

Cremation chambers generally get to at least 1800 degrees Fahrenheit with burners fueled by propane or natural gas. It usually takes 2 hours for a body to be reduced to bone fragments and ash, but the time can vary depending on factors such as the size of the body, type of cremation casket, or even the percentage of body fat to lean muscle.  

The remains are left to cool for about 30 minutes after the incineration. They are then processed and checked again for any remaining medical debris and for proper identification. Then, the remaining bone fragments go through a processor that grinds the fragments down into fine ash. This ash is what is returned to the family for funeral services or interment. There are lots of different things loved one’s can do with the deceased’s ashes after the cremation. Some are:  

  • Casting, or tossing the cremated remains into the wind.  
  • Raking, a process in which the ashes are poured over loose earth and raked into the soil.  
  • Trenching, or burying the ashes in a shallow grave.  Sometimes performed on a beach so the ashes are eventually carried out to sea by the tide.  
  • Water scattering, or simply scattering the ashes into a body of water.  

These are just the basics about cremation. If you have more specific questions on your Sterling, IL cremation service options, please reach out to Schilling Funeral Home & Cremation. You can visit us at 702 1st Ave Sterling, IL 61081, or give us a call at (815) 626-1131 to learn more about what we can do for you.  

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