The age-old question, cremation or burial? When considering their final wishes more people are choosing cremation as their preferred final disposition, yet many people still don’t fully understand the details and options surrounding it. In this section we’ve provided helpful information, so you can make an informed decision. While reviewing our content, if you have any questions please feel free to contact us, either by our form on our website or by telephone. We’re always here to help.
What is Cremation?
Author Michelle Kim, in How Cremation Works, details the cremation process: "In modern crematories, the body is stored in a cool, temperature-controlled room until it's approved for cremation. The body is prepared by removing pacemakers, prostheses and silicone implants. The body is then put into a container or casket made of flammable materials such as plywood, pine or cardboard."
Traditional Wooden Caskets can be used in the cremation process. Prior to entering the cremation retort the steel fixtures are removed by the crematorium staff.
The container is placed in the retort or cremating chamber. It takes anywhere from two to three hours to reduce an average adult to ash. When the cremated remains are cooled, they are processed to a uniformly-sized pebble-like substance, which we call ashes, and placed in an urn. The funeral director then returns the cremated remains to the decedent’s loved ones.
Things to Consider Before Choosing Cremation or Burial
When considering your final disposition there are several factors that can help you come to that important decision:
- Religious beliefs
- Spiritual beliefs
- Financial costs and considerations (affordable cremation or burial options)
- Ecological awareness (green burials, land space constraints etc.)
Why Choose Tompkins Funeral Home?
When choosing a cremation provider in the Kingston and 1000 Islands area for yourself or a loved one, you should be sure you feel comfortable with the staff and their processes. Below are some important questions you should ask:
- Is there a Transportation Fee if the person dies outside a designated area?
- How many kilometers are included within your designated area?
- Will there be two people for the removal of my loved one?
- Is there an extra cost for the cremation container?
- If no, what is included as the base container for my loved one?
- Do you work with a third-party crematorium to complete your cremations?
- If so, where do you keep my loved one while waiting for the cremation to happen?
- Is paperwork (CPP funeral benefits and death certificates) included in your cremation package fee?
- What is the cost for the paperwork to be completed by your firm?
- How many death certificates will be supplied?
- How much for extra copies?
- Is the Obituary Notice included? If so, where will it appear?
At Tompkins Funeral Home we always provide two people to complete the removal of your loved one from the place of death.
When you put your trust with Tompkins Funeral Home to look after your loved one we will be with them from the time we pick them up at the place of death, to the end of the cremation. Our funeral home, along with a few other local funeral homes, own our own Crematorium (Gananoque Cremation Services). Our crematorium is managed by certified staff from our funeral home and is a video surveillance building 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Understanding Your Cremation Service Options
While choosing Cremation as your final disposition there are several service options that are available to you to choose from:
- Direct Cremation Service – No Services provided, immediate to crematorium for cremation. This is the most inexpensive option provided by our funeral home.
- Cremation Service with Memorial Service – Immediate cremation with church/chapel service following cremation. If you are looking to have a memorial service or a celebration of life service after the cremation takes place this would be a perfect choice.
- Cremation Service with Visitation & Church/Chapel Service – Cremation takes place after the visitation and church/chapel service. If you’re looking to have a more traditional funeral service with cremation this would be the best choice for you. Instead of a burial at a graveside following the church/chapel service, the deceased is transported to the crematorium for cremation.
Disposition Options for Cremated Remains
After you choose the cremation service options, you can now choose the disposition method for the cremated remains. Your options are:
- Keeping at Home – A very common disposition method for a loved one by many families is to have their loved one close by in a cremation urn that reflects their loved one’s life. These days there are endless options for urn designs from traditional to something completely unique.
- Keepsake Jewellery – Some families are starting to choose an option of splitting up the ashes and providing family members with a part of their loved one to keep forever in the form of keepsake jewellery.
- Burial Options – Whether you wish to keep your loved one in the crematorium provided cremation urn or upgrade to a cremation urn more fitting to your loved one’s lifestyle. You may choose to bury the cremation urn in one of the following places:
- In Ground Burial
- Scattering of Ashes – Perhaps your loved one always had a dream of being scattered in the ocean or at one of their favourite places. With the proper directions by your funeral director, we can assist in helping you get your loved one scattered legally and respectfully.
If you have any questions, whether it be about choosing a Cremation Package or a Disposition Method, please feel free to contact our funeral home any time and our licensed funeral directors will be glad to assist you.
When selecting Cremation as your method of disposition there are several options available to you to choose from when considering your Merchandise options. Let’s look at what Cremation Merchandise is available:
Cremation Ready Caskets & Containers
By law in Ontario, to cremate a body they must be wrapped in a shroud or container/casket for the cremation to take place. These are our options for cremation containers and caskets.
- Cardboard Cremation Container
- Particle Board Container
- Wooden Caskets
We have many Cremation Urns available to you, either by selection from our show room or through our manufacturer catalogues. Here are the types of Cremation Urns we have available:
- Wooden Cremation Urns
- Metal Cremation Urns
- Marble Cremation Urns
- Cloisonné Cremation Urns
- 3D Printed Cremation Urns
- Keepsake Cremation Urns
A lot of people are starting to select Jewellery that will be a keepsake of their loved one. Whether filled with cremains from the cremation or stand-alone piece. Check out all of our Cremation Jewellery when you come to the funeral home.
- Picture Frames
Frequently Asked Questions about Cremation
How long must we wait after their death before we can cremate a family member?
Unlike burial, cremation is irreversible. This requires us to be extra diligent in obtaining cremation authorization from the legally identified next-of-kin, as well as those from any necessary agencies (such as the medical examiner). During these 48-72 hours (depending on provincially mandated requirements); the deceased will be held in a secure, camera surveillance, refrigerated environment.
How much will I have to pay for the cremation?
When you enter a discussion with us about the cost of your loved one's cremation, whether on the phone or in-person, we are legally obligated to share our General Price List, or GPL, with you. That list details the actual cost of our cremation services, which is a combination of our basic professional services fee, the fee charged by the crematory for the use of the facilities, and any additional charges related to the transportation and safekeeping of the deceased prior to the cremation. It is impossible for us to quote an accurate cost for cremation here; so we urge you to speak candidly about cremation costs with your funeral professional.
Can I participate in the cremation?
The answer to this question is dependent on the specific crematory responsible for the care of your loved one, but generally speaking, the answer to this question is "yes". The degree to which you can participate may differ from crematory to crematory (depending on their facilities); please speak with your funeral director to get the details on this.
Can I purchase an urn from another source, or must I buy one from you?
The FTC's Funeral Rule guides funeral directors in the ethical and fair presentation of funeral service options. The purchase of a cremation urn (or a casket, for that matter) from a second or third party sources is one of the rights it guarantees. Your funeral director cannot prevent you from, nor can they charge you an extra fee for, the purchase of a third-party cremation urn. And they cannot demand you are present for its delivery to the funeral home.
What should I do with my loved one's ashes?
There are many things you can do with their ashes, including simply taking them home with you for safekeeping. There may come a time when you know exactly what you'd like to do with them, but it may not be right now. Be patient; the right way to care for them will surface in time. After all, there are a lot of options: scattering them on land or sea is one of the most common; but you can also keep the cremated remains in keepsake jewelry or create meaningful pieces of art with the remains. As we said, there is no have-to-do; there's only a want-to-do (and you are in complete control of it). If you have any questions about your options, give us a call, we’ll be happy to help.
If we choose cremation, does my loved one have to be embalmed?
The short answer is "no", but there are exceptions. Let's say you want to have a viewing or visitation. If that's the case, it may be prudent to embalm your loved one, so they look their best for the event; the funeral home may require that you purchase the service so be sure to ask beforehand. With that said, under the FTC's Funeral Rule, we cannot: provide embalming services without your permission, and may not lead you to believe embalming is required by law. In addition, we must provide you with written disclosures related to the embalming of your loved one.
How long will it take to cremate my family member?
Naturally, this question is best answered when we talk specifics: why type of cremator will be used? How large an individual was your loved one? Usually it takes 2 - 2 1/2 hours for the process. A cool-down period follows, and then the cremated remains are processed for a uniform appearance. Certainly, if the issue is important to you, we urge you to speak to your funeral director.
What kind of fuel is used in the cremation?
Most cremators use natural or L.P. gas, or in some cases diesel oil; a fact which troubles some who want to see cremation as an "environmentally-friendly" alternative to burial. If you're concerned about the impact of cremation on the environment, speak with your funeral director. There are alternatives, such as burial in a "green" or environmentally-pristine cemetery.
Are people dressed when they are cremated?
You'd be surprised how often we hear this question! Some people might choose to be undressed to 'go out' the same way they 'came in' to the world; but most of the time, the deceased is dressed in the clothing they've selected prior to their death or an outfit that is chosen by family members after their passing.
Can we put special items in their cremation casket?
It depends on the item, but we do our best to accommodate the wishes of surviving family members. Most commonly, families will ask to place notes, children's drawings, or other personal messages of love; but we've certainly had some unusual requests (such as the inclusion of a cherished pet's collar or treasured keepsake). We encourage you to speak with your funeral director to learn the regulations of the specific crematory responsible for your loved one's cremation.
Does this mean we don't need to plan a commemoration service?
Certainly not. Cremation merely describes the type of physical end-of-life care you intend to provide your loved one. A commemoration service is for the living; the individuals emotionally impacted by the death deserve the same level of compassionate attention. One of the benefits of cremation comes from the larger "window-of-opportunity" in which to plan a meaningful celebration-of-life it provides the surviving family members. Of course, a service isn’t required so if you or your loved one chooses to forego it, that is fine as well. Your funeral professional can guide you in making all the necessary service arrangements.
I'm thinking of placing my loved one's ashes in the care of a local cemetery. What is the difference between a columbarium and a mausoleum?
Think of the Taj Mahal in India and you'll know exactly what a mausoleum is: it's free-standing building (in this case not in India but on the grounds of a local cemetery), which is intended as both a monument as well as the burial location for casketed individuals. A columbarium is the same in purpose, but not in design; instead of crypt spaces large enough for a full-size casket; it features smaller niche spaces, large enough for one (or maybe two) cremation urns.
Can you tell us which type of service is right for us?
Your funeral director will be pleased to guide and advise you to make the best choice for a service. They will explain the differences between service formats (traditional funeral, memorial service and celebration-of-life), and share stories of meaningful services they've been a part of–all with the intention of empowering you to make the decision for yourselves.
What "extra" fees or charges will I need to pay?
It's difficult for us to answer this question without knowing the specifics of your proposed cremation arrangements. Yet with that said we can tell you there will most likely be extra charges for anything that involves a second-party purchase (such as the publication of your loved one's obituary in a local newspaper). If you select a decorative cremation urn and would like to personalize it with an engraved nameplate; there could be a small fee.
What are Cash Disbursements?
When you arrive to make the necessary cremation service arrangements on behalf of a loved one, we will provide you with a copy of our General Price List; a section of which discloses the exact price (or a good-faith estimate) of the most commonly-requested "cash disbursements". A cash disbursement is defined as "payments made by the licensed funeral establishment or transfer service operator on behalf of of the consumer. A cash disbursement may include items such as newspaper notices, clergy honoraria, or flowers."
Why must I pay for these items at the time of arrangement?
The answer to this is simple: we must pay for these second-party services or merchandise at the time we make the purchase on your behalf. This requires us to ask for payment for all cash advance items at the time the cremation service contract is agreed to and signed by the responsible family member. For more specific information about our payment policies, please call us to speak with a member of our staff of cremation service professionals.
Can we arrange to bury their ashes on cemetery grounds?
Yes, you can. The burial can be in-ground, or your loved one's cremation urn can be placed in a columbarium niche. Speak with your funeral director to learn more about your specific cremation burial options.
What must I bring to the funeral home?
You'll need to provide the documents/information required to complete your loved one's death certificate and obituary. If you are planning to have a service, you may also wish to bring in a collection of family photographs to be used in making a tribute video or in the decoration of the service location. Other items may be needed at some point, depending on the arrangements made. Your funeral director will provide you with an exact list of the things he or should would like you to bring along to the arrangement conference.
If you have any questions about our Cremation Services, or looking for additional funeral-related information please do not hesitate to contact us or schedule an appointment to come to the funeral home and talk with our funeral directors.
63 Garden Street
Phone: (613) 382-3088