Cremation; End of Life Preparation Among Different Faiths


Though very painful, everyone should be aware that the life we live will come to an end it is only that we neither know the day nor hour when that will happen. For Christians preparing for the crossing of the final line, death is not the end of life but a pass way to eternal life. The hope eternal life overrides the fear of death but the reality is that everyone has his or her last day as a living being. The issue that arise when someone approaches sunset days is how they would wish to have their corpses disposed.

There are many ways of treating someone’s body when he or she has departed with life. For once, one has the opportunity to instruct those who are left behind on how to deal with the lifeless body. Some people, just before their last breadth, propose their body either for burning or burial. In some special case, someone can write a will that when he or she dies, his body be preserved in the lab for learning in medical schools. Such practices are common with doctors who had great passion in their career.


Cremation is a form of cadaver disposal where the body is burnt to ashes. The family or and individual may propose cremation as the last ceremony, while some religion does it as a routine or the recommended way of doing away with the body of our loved ones. The ashes, which are the product of cremation can be applicable in making of sparkling diamonds seen on finger rings, or nestled among the colorful underwear creatures such as artificial coral reef bank.  In a broader sense, cremation is the process of reducing a dead body to ashes at a very high temperature. The ashes can be treasured, burred, scattered or made into memorable objects as the last rites of the deceased.

As out-fashioned as it might seem to be, cremation is somewhat finding its way back in the recent past. It is on the rise as many people prefer it to burial on the account that it is more practical and cost effective as it is easier to deal with the ashes than the dead body, especially where the distance is a factor to be put into consideration. Some people find it to be in agreement with their religious beliefs. Whatever the case, cremation is on the rise.

Preparation and Cremation Process

What the families of the deceased receive after cremation is a grayish, coarse material composing of ground-up bones. A cadaver pass through various processes before finally faced fire as the final stage. The body stays in a temperature-controlled room till it becomes suitable for cremation process. Upon approval by the specialists, removal of some body organs follows. Pacemakers which explodes in the heat, prostheses and silicone implants are some of the body components that should be separated from the body. The removal list also consists of radioactive cancer seeds just in case the deceased had been treated of cancer in his or her life. Body ornaments such as jewelry or glasses may be removed but that depends on one’s geographical location and culture. As a final stage, the dead body is placed into a casket made of flammable material preferably plywood.

The incinerator is pre-heated to a temperature of about 1100 Fahrenheit, and then the casket with the body rolls quickly into the primary cremating chamber and then the door is sealed. There is a window where the family members can use in viewing the whole cremation process. Once the door is sealed, the fire starts and a jet-engine like flame is directed towards the torso region. The heat sets the casket ablaze and the body dries up as body tissues lose water. The muscles char, flex and extend limbs. The muscles, which are the last to face the wrath of the fire, start to crumble (Pope, 2004). On average, human body takes about two to three hours to burn to ashes producing three to nine pounds of ashes on average (Ellenberg, 2008).

In the burning process, a second flame starts in a secondary chamber purposefully to burn any particles or dust that comes from the first chamber. That is to remove any bad smell and the smoke which comes from the first chamber. Some modern retorts have moist scrubbers in the emission stack that aids in trapping escaping particles (Sullivan, 2008). When the body has been reduced to ashes completely, the chamber is cooled and skeletal remains are swept into a tray. A hand magnet is passed through the collected ashes to remove any metal such as plates and hip replacements which are often used in surgery. The metals are disposed while the other remnants are ground and then presented to the family (Ellenburg, 2008).

Though cremation is on the rise, not everyone is for it. There are factors which fall under either of the following: culture, religion, economy or region. These factors influence the way people opt for cremation. Cremation is dominant in some countries but is almost non-existent in some regions. It is a rare practice in Cristian community as it conflicts religious belief such as life after death and everyone will have to resurrect on the judgement day. A research shows that cremation is dominant due to the influence of Buddhist in China and Korea. Cremation thrives well in India. It is even a unique scenario in India as Hinduism religion believes that cremation is one of the 16 life rituals. They even conduct open-air- cremation.

A cremation-based funeral is much less expensive compared to a burial funeral, which costs $10,000 on average (Harris, 2007). Though the cost of cremation varies from place to place, it costs less $ 1,000 depending on the type of cremation chosen. A direct cremation which will include transportation, brief storage of the body, basic casket may cost $700 to $1,300, excluding document processing or permit fees. The full cremation fee factoring document processing is about $2,100, as charged by In special cases where embalming is necessary, a fee of $200-$700 may be charged for the service. The total cost of cremation is also a subject of method of disposing the ashes which can introduce other expenses. As compared to burial ceremony, it is the most cost effective and it is preferable especially where long distances are involved. It is easier transporting ashes as compared to transporting the body over long distances.

Though not bad doing a research on topics such as end of life preparation, it arouse emotions. As one presents the results and facts about celebrating someone’s life, the somber mood automatically takes over. You find yourself mourning and grieving inwardly and anyone passing by can easily notice the change in your mood as expressed on the face. All the same, it is the reality of life that no one will live to eternity. You will have to part with your life and as believed by Christians, there is life after death. We must just accept that death exists and gather courage to present facts about it. Raise awareness. Let those with ears hear and prepare all that they have to do while they can still go about their daily duties.

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