Frequently Asked Questions
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A funeral is a ceremony or memorialization for a deceased person prior to their burial or cremation. A funeral gives the opportunity for family and friends of the deceased to gather and mourn the passing of their loved one, to share cherished memories and celebrate their life. It is considered an important first step to help the bereaved heal.
The type of service is completely up to you. Services are usually held at a funeral home or a place of worship, but outdoor venues or a special place of your choosing may be accommodated. At Generations, we offer a variety of service options including celebrations of life, a less-traditional, but increasingly popular choice.
Just as every life is unique, every funeral service can be personalized to reflect the wishes of the deceased. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate somebody’s life. Share your thoughts with your funeral director and we will do everything in our power to honor your wishes.
Showing respect at a funeral is customary. We recommend that you dress conservatively and remember you may have to walk to the gravesite or stand for extended periods, so comfortable footwear is suggested. Here in Colorado, where weather can be unpredictable we suggest you consult the local Denver forecast to know what to expect and wear clothing appropriate for the weather.
Most funeral services last between 30 – 60 minutes, depending on the type of service, the number of people who may wish to speak, and other factors. Funerals tend to start on time, so try to be prompt.
It is highly recommended to have an obituary notice placed in a local newspaper, online and on the website of your chosen funeral home. An obituary lets the public know that a death has occurred and gives them information about the service. Obituaries generally include the deceased’s full name, age, city and date of birth and the city they were living in when they died. It also includes the name of the deceased’s spouse and anyone else significant in their lives, such as parents, children or grandchildren. Space may be limited in a newspaper obituary, but you may include a short blurb on the life and legacy of the deceased. An online obituary or memorial website offers the opportunity to add more details about the deceased. You can find an outline to help you write and obituary here.
No, but if you can, we recommend that you should. Being there can be a source of great comfort to the mourners. If driving in the funeral procession, follow the lead of the officials directing traffic. Turn your headlights on and stay in the procession to the cemetery.
Funeral directors are in charge of all the logistics following a death. They complete all the necessary paperwork, make arrangements for the transportation of the body, and put into action the choices made by the family in regards to the funeral service and the final resting place. Funeral directors also provide moral support and guidance for someone coping with death.
Generations is here to help, with funeral directors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
We can arrange to have the your loved one transported home from anywhere in the world. We will assume responsibility and make the proper arrangements to have the them returned home, to their community.
The cost of a funeral depends on the extent of your wishes. In the Denver metro area, the average cost of a funeral service and burial is between $4,000-$7,000. The cost includes all professional services, including transportation, preparation, the use of a facility for the ceremony, and the purchase of a casket or urn.
Funerals are labor intensive, requiring a lot of work from an experienced team of people. The cost of a funeral goes beyond merchandise such as caskets; it includes the services of a funeral director in making the arrangements, assembling and completing legal documents and dealing with everyone involved in the death, including doctors, lawyers and insurance companies. Funeral homes are a 24-hour operation, with extensive facilities that need to be maintained and secured, and the cost of operations is factored into the cost as well.
Let us know—we'll do everything we can to make it right. We strive to provide only the best service, delivered with genuine compassion. If you are concerned with any part of your experience, please get in touch with us immediately, so we can act quickly to address the issue.
In addition, funeral services in the United States is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, which can be reached at 1-877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357), or you can fill out a form online at www.ftc.gov. You may also contact the Office of Funeral Home and Crematory Registration, Division of Registrations, Department of Regulatory Agencies at 303-894-7800 or email at Registrations@dora.state.co.us.
Opening and closing of a grave are more than preparing the ground for burial. There are more than 50 different services provided. Typically, the opening and closing fee includes administration and permanent record keeping (determining ownership, obtaining permission and the completion of other documentation which may be required, entering the interment particulars in the interment register, maintaining all legal files); opening and closing the grave (locating the grave and laying out the boundaries, excavating and filling the interment space); installation and removal of the lowering device; placement and removal of artificial grass dressing and coco-matting at the grave site, leveling, tamping, re-grading and sodding the grave site and leveling and re-sodding the grave if the earth settles.
No. The actual opening and closing of the grave is just one component of the opening and closing fee. Due to safety issues which arise around the use of machinery on cemetery property and the protection of other gravesites, the actual opening and closing of the grave is conducted by cemetery grounds personnel only.
To remember and to be remembered are natural human needs. Virtually every culture throughout human history has memorialized the dead. Psychologists say that remembrance practices such as a funeral or memorial service, and creating a permanent memorial or marker all serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping them bring closure and allowing the healing process to begin. A permanent memorial in a cemetery provides a focal point for remembrance and memorializing the deceased, which fulfills the natural human desire to be remembered.
When a cemetery runs out of land, it will continue to operate and serve the community adapting to accommodate the communities needs.
We think of cemetery lands as being in perpetuity. There are cemeteries throughout the world that have been in existence for hundreds of years.
While some religious traditions and customs encourage rapid burial—same day or next day—there is no secular law that states a specific time for burial. Considerations that will affect timeline include the need to secure all permits and authorizations, notification of family and friends, preparation of cemetery site and religious considerations. Public health laws may have limitations on the maximum length of time allowed to pass prior to final disposition. Contact Generations for more details.
No. Embalming is a choice which depends on factors such as if there is to be an open casket viewing of the body or if there is to be an extended time between death and internment. Public health laws may require embalming if the body is going to be transported by air or rail.
Some cemeteries offer interment in lawn crypts or entombment in mausoleums, and most provide options for those who have selected cremation. These often include placement of cremated remains in a niche of a columbarium or interment in an urn space.
These are the outside containers into which the casket is placed. Burial vaults are designed to protect the casket and may be made of a variety or combination of materials including concrete, stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper, bronze, plastic or fiberglass. A grave liner is a lightweight version of a vault which simply keeps the grave surface from sinking in.
Cemeteries in the Denver Metro area have regulations that require a basic grave liner for maintenance and safety purposes. Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements. Some smaller rural cemeteries do not require the use of a container to surround the casket in the grave.
With a green burial, the body is interred without the use of toxic chemicals common in embalming. The deceased is laid to rest in a wrapped in a simple cloth shroud or a simple casket made of natural, biodegradable materials. The idea is to put the body in contact with the earth. Without embalming, the body breaks down naturally over time.
New green options also include water cremation and natural organic reduction, which are much easier on the body, use less energy and emit far fewer, or no toxins than tradition fire cremation.
Depending on the cemetery or other approved burial site, a casket made of natural materials may be required or suggested. In others, no casket is required. Instead, the body is wrapped in a cloth shroud for burial.
No. It is actually against the law for a funeral home to advise you otherwise.
Yes. Just as with any other type of funeral service or celebration of life, we strongly encourage immediate family members to view the deceased prior to burial as it helps with the grieving process.
While laws vary state by state, typically, remains can be buried in a cemetery plot in cemeteries that accept green burials. Local laws will impact where you may bury a body outside of a cemetery setting, with rural settings often accepting more relaxed practices. Some jurisdictions permit burial on a property you may own, with restrictions. These restrictions may also apply to the remains from water cremation and natural organic reductions, so always check your local ordinances. In all cases, traditional headstones or markers are not used, replaced by naturally found stones, plantings and other natural materials that may be used to unobtrusively mark the site.
Green burial services are comparable to other burial services in terms of time.
Yes. We feel it is important to support our Denver community in their choice of cremation. We feel it is appropriate to discuss every option, educating and informing our families. With every decision made during the grieving process, we strongly recommend taking the time to understand each decision so you can make an informed choice.
Traditional cremation is the process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using extreme heat and flame. However, new options for cremation services have become available in Colorado that are far gentler on the body. These include water cremation and natural organic reduction. Cremation is neither the final disposition of the remains nor a type of funeral service
No, a casket is not required. However, most states do require an alternative container constructed of wood or cardboard. In some states no container is required, so we recommend you check your state should you be outside of Colorado.
No, it is not required and in fact, It is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise.
Yes. Not only do we allow, but we encourage immediate family members to briefly view the deceased prior to cremation. We find it is a helpful part of the grieving process.
Some Denver-area cremation providers allow family members to be present when the body is placed in the cremation chamber. In addition, some religious groups include viewing the body prior to cremation as part of their funeral custom.
While laws vary state by state, for the most part, cremated remains can be buried in a cemetery plot or a cremation garden, interred in a columbarium, kept at home or scattered. Many clergy across the Denver community suggest a family bury the cremated remains for a number of reasons. The most important is closure. Both current research and personal stories illustrate how important the burial of cremated remains can be for the surviving family.
All reputable Denver-area cremation providers have developed rigorous sets of operating policies and procedures to maximize the level of service and minimize the potential for human error. It is illegal to perform more than one cremation at a time, and most crematories can only cremate one body at a time.
It all depends on the weight of the individual. For an average sized adult, fire cremation will take two to three hours at a normal operating temperature of between 1,000- and 2,000-degrees Fahrenheit. Water cremation has a similar timeframe but uses a gentle alkali solution rather than fire to reduce the body in hours. Natural organic reduction occurs over about six weeks for an average sized adult.
Fire cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are light ashy gray in color. Water cremated remains resemble flour or powder and are whitish in color. The remains of an average sized adult usually weigh between 7 and 8 pounds. Natural organic reduction doesn’t return what are considered traditional “ashes”, instead reducing the body to a substantial quantity of soil.
With the exception of microscopic particles, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family. Because natural organic reduction produces a larger quantity of soil, arrangements can be made to return a lesser amount.
In Colorado, an urn is not required by law. However, if the remains are to be interred in a cemetary or if there is to be a memorial service, an urn is a lovely way to include the deceased in the service. If an urn is not purchased or provided by the family, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary plastic container.
Using a gentle alkali solution similar to that in liquid soap, water cremation, or alkaline hydrolysis, accelerates decomposition of the body inside a warmed, pressurized chamber. This green cremation method takes just a few hours, while consuming much less energy and releasing far fewer toxins as compared to fire cremation.
Natural organic reduction involves wrapping the body in organic materials such as hay or straw, which accelerates decomposition. In a few weeks, the remains are reduced to compostable soil, using a tiny fraction of the energy of fire cremation and with virtually no toxic emissions.
Finding the right words to say after someone has died is difficult for most people. We tend to be nervous and do not want to say the wrong thing. The best approach we find is to keep the conversation short and remember why you are all there. Showing sympathy and understanding in a few words is respectful and acceptable.
Words to consider
- "There are no words to tell you how sorry I am."
- "Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers."
- "I am so sad to hear about your loss."
- "If you feel like talking, please don't hesitate to call me."
- "[Name] brought so much joy to everyone around [pronoun]. [Pronoun] will be missed by many."
- "I can't even begin to express how my heart aches for you. I am so sorry for your loss."
Words to avoid
- "He’s in a better place now"
- "Did you see this coming"
- "I Know How You Feel"
- "Don't Cry" or "You Need to Be Strong"
- "She Looks So Natural"
No words can truly take away grief, so it is often best to just listen. Your presence and acceptance is often more important than your advice. Do not attempt to change topic or divert mourners from speaking about the painful feelings. If they wish to cry, let them. Never attempt to stop the tears with statements like “be strong”. Tears are not a sign of weakness; they are simply an indication of grief, and the funeral and subsequent mourning periods are the time for grief.
Ask questions that will allow the mourner to talk with you about their grief. Freely reminisce and reflect on the life of the person who has recently died. Do not hesitate to talk about the deceased—their memory is very much alive in the hearts and minds of loved ones. Share your own stories. This is an ideal time to bring out family photographs which evoke many pleasant moments of the past. Memories are treasures for the mourners who long for the dead person.
If you are feeling sad, share your tears. If you see humor in a certain memory, laugh. Laughter is a good way to regain energy, but do not use it as a distraction or to undermine the importance of grieving.
The paradox of being in mourning is that often the very person who would provide comfort in such a time of emotional distress is the very person who is so badly missed. The person who would hug, hold and console the mourner is no longer available and neither are the hugs. If you have a close relationship with the bereaved, do not hesitate to hold, hug or at least touch them. Holding helps an individual feel temporarily safe and secure; a touch can be worth more than words.
Dress appropriately: There's no need today to dress up in all black for a funeral, but jeans and a t-shirt aren't exactly acceptable either. Dress respectfully, avoiding bright or flashy colors. Wearing what you would wear for a wedding or a job interview is most appropriate. And always dress for the weather.
Sign the register book: The family will keep the register book as a memento for years. Include your full name and please print, so that your thoughts can be easily read.
Make a donation: Giving a donation to the charity of the family’s choice is a thoughtful option—the amount doesn't need to be excessive. Alternatively, you could make a commitment of service to the family at a later date. This commitment of service can be something as simple as cooking them dinner, or offering to help clean up their house, any of the little things that may be neglected while a family deals with death.
Keep in touch: Certainly, the family will need space and time to grieve, but a simple phone call or note after the funeral lets the family know you care. Social networking makes leaving a quick note simple. And remember, the months following a death is when grieving friends and family need the most support; be there for them whenever you can.
We don’t often know what we need when we are grieving. It is often best to ask specific questions of ways to help. Consider asking if you can go to the market for them, run any errands or bring them food. It makes it easier to say yes to a specific question.
If you don’t have a chance to ask before visiting, consider bringing:
- Food, so the family doesn’t have to plan for meals
- Paper goods, such as napkins, tissues,paper towels and toilet paper, because visitors use all of those in quantity
- Gift cards for local restaurants and merchants, to ease the financial and emotional burdens
But mostly, bring your memories and stories, bring your compassion, and be generous with your time and attention.
There are no religious requirements. The only imperative is that there be a clear, visible demarcation of the gravesite. Of course, good taste and dignity should be in mind when selecting a monument. The cost of the monument is usually determined by the lettering and symbols, the amount of carving required, and the ornamentation and finish, not simply by size alone.
- The name of the cemetery and the exact location of the plot
- The deceased’s full English names
- The date of birth (optional)
- The date of death (and the approximate hour of death if death occurred near twilight to determine the exact date).
- The relationship to family: mate, parent, grandparent, friend, etc.
The term "celebrant" simply means the individual who will lead the funeral service or celebration of life. Celebrants are typically selected when the family wishes a non-denominational service. Effective celebrants are often highly trained professionals who have a great understanding of how to conduct a meaningful service. Just as with a clergy member who officiates at a funeral service, the celebrant will wish to know about the deceased, so that they may create a service that appropriately honors their memory.
Generations can help you find a celebrant to officiate, or you can provide your own celebrant for any type of funeral service performed with Generations.
Everyone is welcome at Feldman Memorial.
It will be our sincere honor to help you care for your loved one and celebrate their life and the love they shared with others. Our experienced and compassionate funeral directors are ready to help you design a funeral service or celebration of life to meet the unique needs of any type of relationship, family, religious belief or community.