There are a few different types of cremation services, and one of them is communal cremation. Communal cremation is a relatively new concept in the world of pet cremation.
It used to be frowned upon, but it’s now a viable option if you don’t have the funds to bury your loved one.
But what is it exactly? Where can you find it? And what are the benefits?
We’ll touch on all that and more. Keep reading to learn all about communal cremation and what it’s all about.
Table of Contents
Understanding Communal Cremation
Communal cremation, also known as group cremation, is a practice where multiple deceased individuals are cremated together. Unlike private or individual cremations, where a single body is cremated separately, communal cremation involves the simultaneous cremation of several individuals.
It’s about coming together even in the end. It’s a shared journey. The ashes are not returned to the families in this process. This makes it different from individual cremation.
The ashes are scattered or buried by the crematory staff. Often, they are scattered in a dedicated place. Sometimes, they may be scattered in a sea or a garden.
Communal cremation is often less expensive. It’s a viable choice for many families. But it’s important to consider everyone’s wishes. Every person’s goodbye should be respected.
The Communal Cremation Process
Communal cremation involves a meticulous process that respects the dignity of each individual. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how the procedure generally unfolds:
Identification and Documentation
During communal cremation, identification and documentation are crucial aspects to ensure respect and integrity. Each body is tagged with a unique identification number before entering the cremation chamber. This number corresponds to a record in the crematory’s system. This includes the name, date of birth, and other relevant details of the individual.
Preparation for Communal Cremation
Before the cremation services, several preparatory steps are taken to uphold the dignity of the deceased. Firstly, all personal belongings are removed. The bodies are then cleansed and dressed – often in a simple shroud.
It’s important to note that any special attire or items requested by the family must be environmentally safe and suitable for the cremation chamber. Despite the communal nature of this type of cremation, each individual is treated with equal care and respect during preparation and the subsequent process.
In simultaneous cremation, several bodies are placed together in a large cremation chamber. The process is the same as individual cremation but on a larger scale.
Once all of the remains have been placed inside the chamber, the temperature is raised to approximately 1600-1800 degrees Fahrenheit. The intense heat and flames reduce the bodies to bone fragments and ash. These remains are then mixed together, unlike in individual cremation.
Ash Collection and Processing
After the communal cremation process, the next step is the collection and processing of the ashes. Due to the communal nature of the cremation, the remains of the individuals become indistinguishable and are collected as a group. Care is taken to gather all the ashes, ensuring no remains are left behind.
The collected ashes then undergo a process known as “processing”. This involves the transformation of the fragments into a fine, sand-like consistency. It’s achieved through a machine called a ‘cremulator’, which grinds the bone fragments into ash.
Memorialization in Communal Cremation
Memorializing a loved one after communal cremation can take various forms. Remember, the ashes from communal cremation are not returned to individual families, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a meaningful tribute.
One common approach is a collective memorial at the crematorium. This could be a plaque, statue, or a dedicated area in a garden.
Families or friends may choose to plant a tree or create a communal garden in memory of their loved ones. These living memorials offer a place to reflect, remember, and connect with the deceased.
Ceremonies or gatherings can also play an important role in memorialization. These events can provide closure and a sense of community among the bereaved.
Considerations and Factors to Know
When contemplating communal cremation, several aspects must be considered.
The cost of a funeral can be overwhelming for many families. Communal cremation serves as a cost-effective alternative. It is less costly because it utilizes shared resources. This makes it an attractive option for families on a budget.
No Individual Ashes Returned
Unlike private cremation, where families can receive the individual’s ashes, communal cremation does not provide for the return of specific ashes. This is an important consideration for those who desire a tangible memorial.
Communal cremation, like all cremation processes, has environmental implications. The high temperatures required for cremation release carbon emissions. However, some crematoriums are adopting eco-friendly practices to minimize their carbon footprint.
Emotional comfort plays a significant role in the grieving process. In the context of communal cremation, it takes on a unique dimension. Many people find solace in the thought that their loved ones are not alone during their final journey. The idea of multiple individuals embarking upon the same path together can provide a sense of community and shared experience.
In the end, the most important aspect of communal cremation is that it respects the spirit of togetherness, even in letting go. This sentiment plays a pivotal role in shaping the emotional comfort derived from the process.
Lack of Personalization
Since the ashes are scattered in a communal area, there is a lack of personalized memorialization for each individual. Families seeking a more intimate and customizable memorial option may prefer other alternatives.
Additionally, it is common for communal cremation to be carried out without any family members present.
The Shared Journey of Communal Cremation
While communal cremation may offer a more affordable option for end-of-life services, there are several factors to consider before making this decision. It is important to weigh the pros and cons and discuss them with family members to ensure that they are comfortable with this type of service.
So, it is essential to be well-informed about the process, considerations, and factors of communal cremation before making a decision. Ultimately, the most important thing is to choose an end-of-life service that best reflects the wishes and values of the deceased and their loved ones.
Did this article help you? If so, take a look at some of our other blog posts for more informative reads.
Last Updated on November 16, 2023