How to Prepare for a Cremation Service

I only met Pepe once.  Our moms were best friends since high school. I would hear about him on and off through life. He’d graduated from law school, past the bar, fathered a child, and was a motorcycle enthusiast. 

My mom asked me if I remembered Pepe?  Absolutely I replied. He just passed two days ago from a self-inflicted gun wound. His daughter and mom were both present in the house.

The family chose cremation over traditional burial. Here’s what happened next.

Pepe was an organ donor.  His body was first taken to the hospital and placed on life support for the organs to be donated.  He will stay on life support until organ recipients are identified.

From there he’ll go to the medical examiners where an autopsy will be performed. The medical examiner will then issue a death certificate. The certificate is needed for arranging a funeral and for legal and financial purposes. Reasons for getting a death certificate include accessing pension benefits (e.g. social security and VA), claiming life insurance, settling estates, and getting remarried proving a previous partner has passed.

A certificate of disposition of remains also known as a burial or cremation permit is also needed and generally issued at the same governing agency. The crematory, mortuary or cemetery can provide assistance in getting both permits.

It was Thanksgiving weekend and we called to check on Pepe’s mom.  Thankfully she was surrounded by her five other children.  My mom asked her to clip a lock of his hair. The hair can be placed permanently in a keepsake memorial pendant or ring.   It takes 4-6 weeks to fulfill the order.  The hair is sent to our manufacturer for memorializing. The same process is involved to memorialize a small portion of the cremated ashes in our other encapsulated pendants as well.

The remaining ashes can be placed in a cremation urn.  The urn is taken to the crematory and they fill the urn with the cremated ashes. We can ship the urn directly to the crematory as well.

A memorial service can follow anywhere after.  It can be done at the mortuary, a church or even a yacht club.  It is nice to have the urn available for viewing for the service but not necessary, a framed portrait picture with a bouquet of flowers can be used as well.

Pepe’s memorial service will be at Christmas when the family is all together again.

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