What to Expect When You Choose Cremation

Closeup of a funeral flower arrangement made of orange and yellow mums


Cremation is a common choice of disposition, or the final handling of a person’s remains. Unless you’ve helped plan the final arrangements for a loved one, however, you’re likely unfamiliar with what to expect when a loved one is to be cremated. Knowing more about cremation can better prepare you for what to expect when the time comes. If you are unsure of whether you’d prefer cremation for yourself, learning more about the process can be helpful in making a decision.


When Death Occurs

When a loved one passes, you should contact the funeral home.  We are available 24 hours a day/7 days a week.  When you call Chapman Funerals & Cremations, we will gather all the necessary information, and guide you through the next steps to bring your loved one into our care at one of our local facilities in Bridgewater, Wareham or on Cape Cod in Falmouth, Mashpee, Barnstable, Yarmouth or Harwich



When a member of our staff arrives, they will introduce themselves, answer any questions you may have and explain what will happen next. Our staff then carefully places the deceased on a transfer cot, covered with a sheet, and discreetly carried to our transport vehicle.


Arrival at the Funeral Home

Upon arrival, an identification bracelet is placed on the deceased, which will never come off. At every step in the process, the funeral home and the family know where the loved one is at all times. The deceased is immediately placed into a temperature-controlled, secured room. Based on the family’s request, preparation for viewing may or may not take place. In either case, basic sanitary care is typically conducted.


Final Arrangements

Soon after, the family will meet with a funeral director to discuss cremation options and memorial service details. The family may be asked to bring in specific clothing and accessories to dress their loved one in. A cremation casket or container will be chosen by the family after the funeral director guides them through their options. The purpose of the container or casket is to respectfully enclose the loved one’s body during a viewing, transportation to the crematory, and the final disposition. The funeral director will also help the family choose an urn if they prefer an alternative to the temporary container we provide.



If a family chooses to have a viewing, embalming is not required. However, it is recommended for certain arrangements such as an extended public visitation or a public funeral in which family and friends will have the opportunity to pay their respects. If the family requests a private viewing, a small number of people are allowed to view their loved one for up to 30 minutes.


Cremation Permits

Before the deceased can be cremated, an authorization must be issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which is obtained through the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. This ensures that a doctor has determined the cause of death and signed a death certificate, and that there are no other questions surrounding the circumstances or manner of death. Once all documentation has been obtained by us, the identity of the deceased is confirmed one final time.



Once the identity is confirmed, the deceased is brought to the crematory, where the cremation takes place. The family can choose to attend the cremation. If they do, family members will gather and can escort their loved one to the crematory and view in a special, private room. If the cremation is private, the deceased is escorted by the crematory staff with the same dignity. 


Before the cremation occurs, the crematory operator confirms the deceased’s identity one more time. The crematory office issues a metallic identification disk with a unique number on it, which is assigned to the loved one’s identity. This disk stays with the deceased during the process.


Following completion of the cremation, the remains are removed and the disk stays with the individual. The process is completed when the crematory operator breaks down the cremated remains. These are the “ashes” that people are familiar with.


Returning Remains to the Family

Shortly afterward, we will make an appointment to promptly return the ashes to the family. The remains are given back to an authorized person at the funeral home location (Falmouth, West Falmouth, Mashpee, Martha's Vineyard, Wareham, Harwich, Yarmouth, Marstons Mills, Nantucket, Bridgewater, or East Bridgewater).


If the family chooses, they may take a moment with the remains in a private room. We will also provide the family with any keepsakes they have chosen. Each member of the family can take some of the remains with them through jewelry or other items that hold the ashes. They are also provided with an affidavit of cremation to be able to transport the remains. The family may choose to bury the cremated remains at a cemetery with or without a service, or place them in a niche. Your funeral director will arrange for the committal at a day and time of your convenience.


Cremation services are a significant event, and are a deeply emotional experience for those saying goodbye to someone they love. We are always available to answer any questions you may have. Call us at any time at one of our funeral homes nearest you.

Feeling overwhelmed with the options and decisions that accompany a loved one’s cremation? We’re here for you.



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