Planning a funeral is a very emotional event whether you are arranging a funeral for a loved one who has just died or pre planning your own funeral. It is important to understand that services such as a viewing, graveside service or memorial service are intended to help friends and family after the death of a loved one. They are an important step in the grieving process.
A funeral can and should be as unique as the life that is being celebrated. Don't feel that you have to have a traditional type of service or that your ideas for a special ceremony are foolish.
At Heritage, we offer memory boards, memory tables and other ways to personalize a service. Ask questions and make suggestions, we want to assist you in any way we can to ensure that your loved one is memorialized in a meaningful way.
You shouldn't feel pressured or rushed to make a decision. Heritage funeral directors are caring, dedicated professionals willing to help you make the arrangements that you want. Our check list may help you gather information that you need, and may help you to make informed decisions about funeral arrangements.
Making Funeral Arrangements
Contact Heritage Funeral Home (845-526-3000 or 800-924-7454). Your Heritage funeral director will assist you in making funeral arrangements, arranging a service, contacting clergy (if applicable) and pallbearers as well as handling any paperwork such as placing obituaries, obtaining death certificates and working with insurance and veteran's organizations.
Before meeting with the Heritage funeral director, it's a good idea to think about whether you would like to have a traditional burial or cremation. Both burial and cremation can be accompanied by a viewing and/or funeral/memorial service or they can be done directly without any type of service. If you are unsure about burial or cremation, your Heritage funeral director can assist you in making your decision.
At Heritage, we offer funeral arrangements that include services of the funeral home staff, transportation of the deceased to the funeral home, bathing, embalming (if viewing is desired), dressing and other care of the body such as hair dressing and cosmetic application. Arrangements may also include use of funeral home facilities for viewing or memorial service, transport of the deceased to the church and/or cemetery, hearse and limousine use, acknowledgment cards, register book and/or memorial or prayer cards.
All funeral homes are required to furnish you with a printed copy of their General Price List (GPL). This will detail their product and service options. But pre-designated packages are not the only option. If you would like a specific type of service, don't be afraid to discuss it with your funeral director. We are here to help you make funeral arrangements that are comforting and meaningful to you and your family.
Burial and cremation are two means of final disposition. Both burial and cremation can be accompanied by a viewing and/or funeral service. Or, if the family prefers, the burial or cremation can take place directly without any type of ceremony beforehand. A memorial service, however, can be held at a later date. At Heritage, we will explain your various options for a viewing or ceremony and can make arrangements that will best meet your family's needs.
There are two types of burials - inground burial and entombment. Following the service at a funeral home or church, family and friends proceed to the cemetery for a brief ceremony followed by an inground burial. Families can also choose between a mausoleum and an above ground crypt when available. If you have not already purchased a burial plot or crypt, your Heritage funeral director can make those arrangements on your behalf.
If you choose an inground burial, you may be required to purchase a burial vault or grave liner. This is usually required by city ordinance or by the cemetery. A burial vault protects the casket from the pressure of the surrounding earth and prevents casket collapse due to the heavy machinery used by cemeteries for maintenance. Burial vaults are constructed of steel-reinforced concrete and lined with plastic or metal. A grave liner is made of reinforced concrete and is less expensive and less visually appealing than a burial vault.
Education on Burial
Families can choose to have a grave site ceremony or a ceremony in a designated gathering space at the cemetery. If you have chosen an in-ground burial, it is very likely that you will have chosen a grave liner or burial vault. If a grave site service is to be performed, the grave will have been opened and the burial vault or grave liner will be placed inside of it prior to the start of the service.
At the Grave Site
When the funeral procession has arrived, all will be directed to the grave site where the casket has already been delivered. After the ceremony has been performed, the casket will be lowered into the ground and the grave liner/burial vault lid will be placed on top of the vault. Grounds personnel will then close the grave and place a temporary marker on the site which has been provided by your funeral home.
There are several different types of cemetery lots. Single depth lots are used for a single or a companion burial at a six foot depth. Companion lots allow for two side by side burials. Double depth lots are available in which the first burial is placed at a depth of eight feet and the second burial is placed on top at a depth of six feet. There are also burial and cremation combination lots which allow for a casket burial as well as the interment of one or more urns.
Cremation is an alternative to the traditional ground burial. When selecting cremation, consideration should be given to the type of services that one desires to celebrate the life lived. The same services that are available for a traditional burial are also available for cremation. It is possible to still have a viewing, a funeral ceremony, and/or a memorial service. Once the services are determined, you can choose the casket and urn which is best suited for your needs. At Heritage, we offers choices to personalize the services, casket or urn as a further memorial to your loved one.
Cremation may take place before or after the funeral ceremony. Cremating the body following the funeral service allows for viewing, and also allows the body to be present for the funeral service. If a family decides on cremation before the service, the cremated remains are placed in a cremation urn, which may be present at the memorial service.
The cremation urn may be buried, placed in a columburium or taken home as a memorial. The cremated remains may also be scattered in accordance with local and state ordinances. Appropriate urns are available for whichever disposition of the remains is chosen.
Keepsakes are smaller urns that hold a very small portion of the cremated remains. The concept of the keepsake urn is to allow each family member to have a small amount of the cremated remains with an appropriate container thus creating a personal memorial to the deceased. In today's mobile society, many families live far apart and are not able to visit an out-of-state cemetery or mausoleum. Keepsake urns allow for a nearby memorial. Many cremation urns offer matching keepsakes with styles ranging from subtle memorials to exquisite works of art.