Understanding the Burial Process – Some FAQs
The burial process can seem confusing, especially at a time of grief.
Please know that we are here to assist you through every step of the funeral and burial arrangement process. So that you may better understand each aspect, we’ve put together some helpful definitions and information.
If you do not find the answers that you were looking for or if you need more information, please do not hesitate to contact us today.
The Burial Process: A Glossary
- Traditional Service
- The casketed body is present during the service which is followed by a cremation and/or burial. Caskets may be purchased or rented for this type of service.
- This is the disinfection, preservation, and restoration of human remains for the purpose of viewing. This is done solely at the family’s discretion.
FAQs About Burials
Embalming serves 3 primary purposes. First, embalming is a disinfecting procedure. With the internal and external application of antibacterial soaps and chemicals, infectious agents are reduced or eliminated. Even if the deceased did not suffer from an infectious virus or bacterial infection, there are pathogens that can be acquired in the hospital and/or morgue. These pathogens can present a significant danger to the living and so it is necessary (but not by law) to embalm when a visitation is requested. For the safety of family, friends, and staff, most funeral homes require that a body be embalmed if an open casket viewing is to take place.
The second reason people choose to embalm is to restore the body to a lifelike state. Following death, natural processes occur that change the way a person looks. Blood stops flowing which causes discolouration and muscles cease to work which means that the eyes and mouth cannot stay closed on their own. Through embalming, a funeral director is able to restore some of the deceased’s appearance as well as diminish the appearance of cuts, bruises, or any other signs of trauma.
The third reason to embalm is for preservation. Following death, the body begins to decompose, a process that can be slowed by embalming. In instances where a family requires a delayed funeral service, embalming can help ensure that their loved one’s appearance doesn’t undergo significant change.
No. Embalming is not required by Canadian law for any part of the burial process. Some funeral homes require embalming for certain services as a policy. Basic Funerals is one of the few funeral establishments that offers alternative preparation for viewing
It is worth noting that in the instance of shipping a body, embalming is a legal requirement. All countries, including Canada, will refuse to accept a body that has not been embalmed. Due to extended periods of time that may elapse between death and ship out, it’s important to ensure that the body is preserved. Additionally, the risk of infection needs to be mitigated.
When making arrangements, a funeral director must always obtain consent prior to embalming. With a direct burial or cremation, embalming is unnecessary.
Whether arranging for a burial or cremation, you will have to decide between a container or casket. So what differentiates one from the other?
A container is a simple version of a casket. Made of cardboard (only available for cremation) or wood, it does not feature a lining. Because of their uncomplicated nature, containers are ideal for direct cremation or burial.
A casket can be made of wood or metal and usually features ornamentation and a fabric lining. Caskets are more expensive than containers because of the materials used and labour required during production. They are usually chosen by families opting for burial but it is worth noting that wood caskets can also be cremated, provided they feature no metal.
Choosing between a container or casket comes down to personal preference. Cultural beliefs, matters of faith, budgetary concerns- these are all things to consider when making a decision. Do not allow yourself to feel pressured into purchasing something that doesn’t feel right and insist on being presented with the entire range of options.
A burial vault is a solid, protective container that surrounds the casket. They are usually made of concrete and lined with layers of metal or polymers. Contrary to popular belief, a burial vault is not intended to preserve the casket but rather to protect it from the weight of the earth and any heavy equipment that may pass over it.
Some cemeteries require the purchase of a vault or grave liner for a burial. This is a safety precaution aimed at ensuring that the earth doesn’t collapse due to unstable ground.
If your chosen cemetery does not require the use of a grave liner or burial vault, the choice is yours whether or not to purchase one.
If you have any questions or would like more information about burials, please do not hesitate to contact us.