When You Choose Cremation

Pink funeral flowers.

When the death of a loved one occurs, the stress can be overwhelming. It feels like there are so many things to do at one time all while grieving. We believe that informing families of what to expect can alleviate fears about the cremation process and help you make the right choice for your loved one and your family.

If you or your loved one has chosen cremation, you should know exactly how we care for your family member—from the moment they’re transferred into our care to when their remains are given to the family.

Traditional vs. Simple Cremation

A benefit of cremation is that traditional funerals must typically occur three to four days after death, but a cremation allows more time for a family to pause, gather their thoughts, and plan a meaningful service to honor their loved one.

For many, the decision then becomes what type of cremation: traditional cremation, simple cremation, or something in between. A traditional cremation is similar to that of a traditional funeral with a burial. The body is embalmed. There is an open casket visitation and a funeral service in the chapel or church. However, instead of being taken to the cemetery at the end of the service, your loved one is taken to our crematory. Afterward, the cremated remains, or ashes as they’re commonly referred to, can be placed in a columbarium, buried in a grave or given back to the family.

A simple, or direct, cremation takes place shortly after death. No services are planned, and the cremated remains are simply returned to the family.

Many families want some type of gathering or service to honor their loved one, and that can be planned soon after the death or months later. We offer visitation either prior to or after the cremation process, and cremation followed by a memorial service or reception, cremation followed by a graveside service.

Once we have the family’s or designee’s permission to perform cremation, several things must take place. First, the State of Virginia requires that a family member or close friend make a visual identification of the deceased. We encourage families to take this opportunity to gather for a private time to say goodbye to their loved one. We also obtain a cremation permit from a Medical Examiner from the state in which the death occurred. The Medical Examiner will need access to the certificate of death, which is completed by the deceased’s medical doctor, and will then review the cause of death and issue the permit.

This process can take from as little to 24 hours to a few days depending upon circumstances. The cremation will typically take place within 24 hours of acquiring all the legal paperwork.

Creating a Memory Picture

Prior to viewing your loved one for identification purposes, we take special care to bath them, dress them in the clothes you provide, and place them in a private room in the cremation container you selected. The last memory you have of your loved one should bring you peace of mind. Remembering them in their favorite sweater will bring more comfort than a hospital gown. We believe the last picture of your loved one should be as tranquil as possible.

Cremation with Confidence

It’s natural to have concerns about the care of loved one during the cremation process. Our standards of service ensure excellent care, dignity at every step, and strict procedures for ensuring the safekeeping and identity of the deceased. We use a meticulous process called Cremation with Confidence to put our family’s minds at ease.

By owning our crematory, we don’t contract services to a third party, and your loved one never leaves our care. We ensure our crematory equipment is clean and serviced  regularly, and that only licensed crematory operators complete cremation.

Our documentation process begins the very moment we transfer your loved one to our crematory, requiring two parties to verify the paperwork. We then assign them a metallic identification disk with a unique number embossed on it. This disk stays with them through the entire cremation process. After the cremation is complete, we attach the disk to the box or urn holding the cremated remains.

The cremation itself lasts from three to five hours. Afterward, if there are no services planned, we schedule a time that is convenient for the family to pick up the ashes. When they arrive, we go over an identification checklist with the family. The signatures of the person receiving the remains and our staff member releasing the remains are required before your loved one can leave the facilities. If someone other than the family member we have worked with is receiving the remains, we may require a driver’s license or other form of ID from that person.

Processing Loss and Honoring a Life

Whether someone is in hospice care or whether someone passes away unexpectedly in their sleep, an unfillable void is created. Through memorials and grief support, we can help your family process the loss of your loved one and honor their time here on Earth. We provide grief resources through referrals to bereavement support groups and grief education.

You’ve chosen to make this community your home, and so have we. For five generations, the Farris Family has had the honor to serve the families of Virginia during their most difficult times. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about cremation, our funeral services, memorial services or advanced planning, please reach out to us at any time. We are always available.


Forest Hills Memory Gardens | (276) 623-2717
19415 Lee Highway, Abingdon, VA

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