10 Frequently Asked Questions About Cremation

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Making the decision to choose cremation for someone you love isn’t something you do every day. Most people don’t know much about it, even though it’s a choice almost everyone will inevitably have to make one day. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions and concerns families have about cremation, answered by our experienced funeral directors.

1. Will my loved one be embalmed before cremation?

Embalming is only performed if the family requests it. It is not necessary for cremation. Many families choose embalming before cremation if there is to be a traditional funeral or viewing before the cremation takes place.

2. Can I have a funeral or memorial service with cremation?

You most certainly can have a service if you choose cremation. Cremation does not limit what kind of service you may have. It is just a method of disposition, or the final handling of the body. Traditional funerals, wakes, rosaries, celebrations of life, and other types of memorial services are all options when you choose cremation. You can even hold a graveside service and bury the cremated remains in a traditional grave. We encourage all families to plan a memorial service of some kind for their loved ones. Gathering together as a community has significant healing benefits for those grieving.

3. Can more than one person be cremated at a time?

No. It is illegal for more than one person to be present in the cremation chamber at the same time. Every person under our care at French Funerals & Cremations is given the privacy and dignity of individual cremation services.

4. Can the family be present during cremation?

Yes. If the family chooses, a maximum of 10 immediate family members may gather for a half-hour before the cremation takes place for a private viewing and to share their final goodbyes. They may then escort their loved one to the cremation chamber, where the family is welcome to assist in placing their loved one into the cremation chamber and even starting the process. Many families find this experience to bring them peace, knowing they were able to be with their loved one every step of their goodbye.

5. What happens with the ashes after cremation?

Once the cremation is complete, the cremated remains, also known as ashes, are returned to the family in the urn that the family has purchased. If no urn is purchased, the ashes are returned in a simple, temporary box. Once the remains are returned to the family, they decide what is to be done with the ashes. Most commonly, families choose to scatter, keep, or bury the ashes in a gravesite. However, nowadays there are countless creative options a family has when it comes to handling cremated remains.

6. Can my loved one’s ashes be shipped out of state?

Yes. Cremated remains may be shipped via United States Parcel Service using their Cremated Remains Kit. Cremated remains may also be transported by air with a traveling passenger. Most airlines will not allow ashes to be placed in checked bags, requiring them to be carried on with a passenger. Learn more about going through airport security with cremated remains.

7. Is it legal to scatter ashes in New Mexico?

Yes, it is legal to scatter cremated remains in the state of New Mexico. However, special permission (in many cases a permit) must be granted by the organization or owner of the property if you do not own that property. At French Funerals & Cremations, we offer a beautiful scattering garden for families to place their loved ones’ remains. We also offer niches or graves that can be personalized.

8. What do I do if my family can’t agree on what to do with the ashes?

A benefit to choosing cremation is that the cremated remains can be divided among family and friends. Each individual may do what meets their needs in grief most, whether it’s keeping their loved one’s remains close by in an urn, keepsake jewelry or piece of art; scattering them in a place that held significance; or holding on to them until they’ve had time to think about what they’d like to do with their portion of the ashes.

9. I want to be cremated but my family strongly believes in burial. How do I ensure my wishes are carried out?

An individual’s final wishes are extremely personal and important. To make sure your wishes are carried out when you’re unable to advocate for yourself, we encourage people to create a funeral preplan. By stating your wishes in writing and paying for your arrangements ahead of time, you can help make certain your wishes, whether they’re cremation, burial, or all the details of your service, are honored. Learn more about French’s advanced planning.

10. I want to be cremated. My spouse wants to be buried. Can we still be buried together?

Most certainly. As we stated earlier, cremated remains can be buried in a traditional grave. If you prefer, a separate gravesite is not necessary to bury cremated remains, and can be placed in the grave of a significant other.

If you have more questions about cremation or any of our other services, we are always here to answer them. Reach out any time, day or night, at 505-843-6333 or at one of our locations nearest you in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.

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