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Common Questions

We’ve provided a list of answers to questions we frequently receive regarding our services and other activities related to funerals. If you don’t see the answer to your question here, feel free to contact us for more information. We’d be happy to give you more information and clarify any of your concerns.

 

What is a funeral and why should we have one?
A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, honoring, and remembering the life of a person who has passed away. While specific customs, traditions, and practices differ across different cultures and religions, all funerals serve the key purpose of giving the bereaved a special time and place to say goodbye and find comfort and healing in one another.

As difficult as it is to discuss death, grief, and funerals, it is ultimately more difficult to avoid the topic. The funeral gives us permission to grieve, and may be as simple or as elaborate as the family wishes. The funeral ceremony:

 

  • Helps us acknowledge that someone we love has died
  • Allows us to say goodbye
  • Helps us remember the person who died and encourages us to share those memories with others
  • Offers a time and a place for us to talk about the life and death of the person who dies
  • Provides a social support system for us and other family members and friends
  • Allows us to search for the meaning of life and death
  • Offers continuity and hope for the living

 

Funerals recognize a particular life, and make real the fact that life has ended. It’s impossible to progress through grief without first facing the fact of loss.
 

What is the average cost of a funeral?
Like other professional services (legal, dental, medical) the costs depend on the services, merchandise and final disposition methods selected by the family. Cherished Memories caters to the unique, individual needs of each family. Associated costs include services provided by the funeral home and selected merchandise. Once all variables and options have been determined a detailed breakdown of costs can be provided.

What is a Certified Funeral Celebrant?
A Funeral Celebrant is trained and certified to provide a funeral, memorial or celebration of life service that is highly personalized to reflect the personality, lifestyle and beliefs of the deceased. Celebrants encourage participation by family and friends in helping create a meaningful ceremony. The Celebrant then writes and facilitates the ceremony for you. Lynda Gawryluk is Cherished Memories’ Certified Funeral Celebrant who offers a flexible, family-centered funeral celebration to families who do not want a traditional religious funeral.


Should we view the body?
Family members may wish to view the body in a private or public visitation. Viewing the deceased can provide reality, a healthy step toward the resolution of grief. It can be helpful in accepting the fact that death has occurred, especially for the immediate family. Each person has a different point of view and must make the choice for themselves. Leaving the option of visitation open to an individual’s own emotional needs is in many cases the most favorable response to viewing the deceased.

What is the purpose of embalming and is it mandatory?
Embalming is a surgical technique used to disinfect, preserve and restore the human body. The foremost reason for embalming is to protect the public health. Contrary to the old belief that the “germ dies with the host”, human remains begin to decompose almost immediately, offering an ideal environment for microbial growth. Embalming is not mandatory in the province of BC, but may be recommended in some instances (i.e. public viewing, transportation by Air).

What should I say when I run into the bereaved in public?
What you’ll say depends upon whether or not you’ve already had contact with the bereaved. If you’ve already offered your condolences, or attended the visitation or service, simply greet the bereaved warmly and express an interest in their well-being. If this is your first meeting since the death and you’re in a public setting, it’s kinder not to bring up the death directly. Instead, say something like, “I understand these must be difficult days for you,” and perhaps ask about when might be a good time to visit, or suggest that you meet for lunch.

What can I do to help later?
The grieving process doesn’t end with the funeral, and it will take time for the bereaved to heal. The family will need your support for months to come, so make sure to check in on a regular basis. Drop a note, make a phone call, and continue to invite them when you make social plans; they’ll let you know if and when they are ready to participate. Reach out to the family on special occasions, like birthdays or anniversaries, especially during the first year following their loss.

Should I bring my children to the funeral?
You should use your judgment to determine whether your child is old enough to comprehend death, whether attending the funeral will be meaningful to them. It’s important for children to be allowed to express their grief and share in this important ritual. If you bring young children, explain beforehand what they will see and experience, and make sure that they know the importance of being on their best behavior. If your child becomes cranky or noisy, remove them promptly to avoid disturbing those who are mourning.

What do funeral directors do?
A funeral director is a licensed professional who specializes in all aspects of funerals and related services. They provide support to the family, guide the arrangement of visitations and funeral ceremonies, prepare the body according to the family’s wishes, and ensure that everything goes according to plan. They also arrange for the removal and transportation of the body throughout the process, and assist families with any legal or insurance-related paperwork they might need to file. They’re experienced at recognizing when an individual is having an extremely difficult time coping with a loss, and can provide extra support and recommendations for professional help if needed.

Can I personalize my service? (“Is ____ okay?”)
Absolutely! Our staff has years of experience getting to know families and incorporating their loved one’s hobbies, activities, interests, and unique requests into meaningful and memorable services. Don’t hesitate to make a request because you think it might be too “out there”—we’re honored to work with you to create a service that truly reflects and celebrates your loved one’s individual life journey.

What do I do when a death occurs while out of town or away from home?
It’s important that you contact the local medical authorities first (as well as the police, if appropriate), and then make sure to give us a call as soon as possible. We will work with you to make the necessary arrangements to get you and your loved one back home as quickly and easily as possible. Calling us will also help you to avoid duplication of efforts and fees.

Can I still have viewing and funeral services with cremation?
Definitely! In fact, we encourage you to do so. Choosing cremation only indicates how you’d like to care for your loved one’s physical remains, and doesn’t exclude you from celebrating and honoring their life in any way. Whether you’d like to have visitation beforehand, arrange a funeral service before cremation, or wait and hold the service after the cremation, we’re happy to help you design a meaningful service to accompany the cremation.

What is cremation?
Cremation is where the body is prepared for final disposition. Over a 2-3 hour period the body is transformed by intense heat (1600 – 2000 degrees Fahrenheit) to a state of small skeletal fragments and not fine ash as some believe. Following the cremation process, the cremated remains are removed from the chamber and placed in a cooling tray. They are processed to their final reduced consistency and placed in a small cardboard box or urn. Cremated remains weigh between 4 – 8 pounds.

How long does the cremation process take?
This usually depends upon two things: the size of the individual and the type of casket or container used. A thin person in a cardboard container will take approximately 3 to 4 hours while a heavier person in a wooden casket could take approximately 4.5 to 5 hours.

How can I be sure that the remains I receive are those of my loved one?
First of all, cremation of multiple bodies is illegal in Canada and many other countries, so the cremation chamber is not designed to hold more than one body at a time. In addition, cremation is a regulated process with strict procedures we follow to ensure we’re holding our services to the highest standard possible. All necessary paperwork and fees must be completed with local authorities, and then a checklist is completed at the crematory. A metal disk with a unique ID number accompanies the remains from the time we receive the body throughout the cremation process, and after cremation occurs we attach the metal disk to the bag containing the remains. Knowing the level of respect and meticulous care with which we treat your loved ones physical remains, you can rest assured that you are receiving only your loved one’s remains.

Where can I scatter my loved one’s cremated remains? Are there any restrictions?
There are no provincial regulations that prohibit scattering of cremated remains by land, sea or air, though some municipal by-laws may prohibit. Scattering is a decision that needs to be carefully considered. Cremated remains should never be scattered on private property without permission. Although the act of scattering may have idyllic appeal to some, it is an irreversible decision.

What is an autopsy & is it always required?
An autopsy is the medical examination of the body following death. The Coroner can order an autopsy to investigate the death to determine cause of death; the manner of death; to continue the clinical study of the case; investigate problems of physical, chemical, bacteriological, pathological and anatomical conditions. The Coroner has the authority to order an autopsy without consent of the next of kin. Attending physicians or family members may also request an autopsy, however an autopsy is not necessarily required.

Can we have a viewing if my loved one has donated organs or had an autopsy?
Yes. Autopsies and organ donation do not affect your ability to have an open-casket visitation.

What is a columbarium?
A columbarium is a place for the interment of urns containing cremated remains. They’re often located in mausoleums, chapels, or memorial gardens, and contain numerous small compartments, or niches, designed to hold urns.

Does Cherished Memories have a crematorium?
Yes. Cherished Memories Crematorium is located on Kutenai Road in the Ghostrider subdivision.

I just want the deceased picked up from the place of death and cremated. Can this be done?
By law, the deceased cannot be cremated until 48 hours after the death has occurred. Vital statistics information must then be obtained in order to secure the necessary permits for the cremation to take place. If the deceased had a pacemaker, this must be removed by the funeral home staff. A person can be buried or cremated with simplicity, however, there are a certain amount of administrative duties and physical preparation of the deceased that may need to be performed prior to cremation taking place.

Are we running out of burial space?
No. There’s more than enough ground space available to bury everyone in Canada

Why is it important to have a Will?

The purpose of a Will is to outline your wishes. Everyone needs a Will but almost half of Canadians don’t have one. Many people avoid making a Will because it makes them feel uncomfortable to think about the prospect of death or they recoil from making decisions about beneficiaries. However, if you die without a valid Will, your estate will be administered and your property distributed under the appropriate provincial legislation. You will have no say in how you would like your assets dealt with. 

What are the benefits of having a Will?

  • A properly drafted Will is the cornerstone of estate planning and provides peace of mind and control
  • There is comfort in knowing that your wishes will be respected after your death
  • Ensures that support for family members, dependents or charities that you wish so support occurs
  • Means you have done your best to minimize taxes and probate fees payable out of your estate
  • Gives you control over the details of the distribution of your estate
  • Makes it easier and often less expensive to administer your estate and reduce strain on your family in a difficult time
  • Allows you to appoint the most effective representative, either an individual or a trust company to administer your estate

 

When should I change my Will?

  • Your financial circumstances or the nature of your assets changes significantly
  • You move to another country, marry, separate or divorce
  • Assets (especially real property) are acquired outside of Canada
  • An executor named in the Will dies or is no longer able to carry out their duties
  • The circumstances of the beneficiaries change or you wish to make provision for additional people or charities
  • Legislative changes occur which will affect your estate

 

What happens when there is no Will?

The Estate Administration Act says how your estate will be divided if you die without a Will. A court will have to appoint someone to handle your estate. That person is called the Administrator. The Administrator is similar to the Executor who would have been named if you had made a Will. Usually the Administrator will be one of the people who will share in your estate. Sometimes people will disagree about who should be appointed and the Court has to decide whom to appoint. This can take a lot of time and money. If no one is willing to be the Administrator, then the Public Guardian the Trustee can do the job. The Court will also appoint a Guardian if you have children and their other parent is not alive. In most cases your survivors will have a much easier time if you make a Will. A Will is the best way to ensure your estate will be divided the way you want and that your children will be taken care of by the person you want.