What is a Cremation?

The technical definition of a cremation, taken from the Cremation Association of North America (CANA), is:  "The mechanical and/or thermal or other dissolution process that reduces human remains to bone fragments."

So what exactly does that mean? After a death, the body will be taken to our crematory and put under refrigeration (which significantly slows the decomposition process). All bodies are carefully labeled and given metal tags with unique numbers that stay with the body throughout the cremation process. After the death certificate has been filed with the county, the body is placed in the cremation chamber. The burners will be ignited and the body will then be reduced to small bone fragments over several hours. The remains are then taken from the chamber and placed in a small receptacle where they are allowed to cool. Once the temperature has been brought back down they can then be placed into a machine that refines them into ash and then placed into an urn.

Why would I want a Cremation?


There are many reasons people choose cremations. Below is a list taken from CANA that shows the most common reasons:

  • People are dying older and choosing cremation for themselves

  • Migration to retirement locations is increasing

  • Cremation has become acceptable

  • Environmental considerations are becoming more important

  • Level of education is rising

  • Ties to tradition are becoming weaker

  • Regional differences are diminishing

  • Religious restrictions are diminishing

  • Greater flexibility in memorialization services

According to the funeral industry-sponsored Wirthlin Report from 2006, the five primary reasons why cremation is chosen are as follows:

  1. Saves Money (30%)

  2. Saves Land (13%)

  3. Simpler (8%)

  4. Body Not in Earth (6%)

  5. Personal Preference (6%)

What does a cremation with Undertaking LA entail?

We want you to be as involved as you feel comfortable. Some people don't like the thought of going to a crematory, as modern crematories provide a fairly industrial environment. But others want to be involved, and we can schedule a time with our crematory where they can turn off the other machines so that you and your family may come in, say goodbye, and even push the button to initiate the process. We can also perform the cremation after a home funeral, viewing, or preparation of the body at our facility. Please note that due to the nature of a cremation that remains cannot be taken home the same day.

How long does the process take?

The process will take 7 business days. 

Undertaking LA has to work with the doctor (or coroner) signing the death certificate and wait for approval from the county and the state health agencies before the cremation can take place. This often takes several days to complete, and much of the timing is out of the funeral home's control. We always attempt to move the process along as quickly as possible for our families.

For more even more information on cremations you can visit CANA'swebsite here.