The funeral home removes the body and embalms and prepares it for burial. Once embalmed, the body is stored in a casket. A funeral gathering or memorial service usually occurs. Some families elect to have the body present for viewing at this gathering.
Following the gathering, the casketed body is placed in a burial vault and buried in a cemetery.
The grave is marked with a headstone or other type grave marker.
Cremation is the act of reducing a corpse by burning, generally in a crematorium furnace or crematory fire. The remains (called cremains) are not "ashes" in the usual sense; they are dried bone fragments that have been pulverized in a device called a cremulator. Most every funeral home now provides cremation as a service option.
Body donation is the donation of the whole body after death for medical research and education. Institutions that take such donations use whole bodies to teach anatomy to medical students. Some institutions accept embalmed bodies and some do not, potential donors must ask before proceeding.
Most medical schools will cremate and inter or scatter ashes of cadavers at the completion of studies. In some cases the ashes are returned to the family.
A green burial is a burial of an unembalmed body in a biodegradable casket without a burial vault or a grave liner.
A shroud wrapped or casketed body is loaded on a boat and taken out to sea. At a certain distance and depth the body is deposited into the water and sinks to the ocean floor.
There are several private companies that provide full body burial at sea services. The US Navy also provides this service to qualified service members and their families.
Cremation by funeral pyre or "open-air cremation" is currently only available to people who live in Crestone, Colorado.
A funeral pyre is one of the world's oldest cremation traditions. A body is placed upon a structure packed with flamable materials and ignighted. The pyre is designed to burns at a very hot temperature in order to reduce a human body to a few pounds of ashes.
Promession is a new alternative to cremation and uses a special freeze-drying technique to reduce the body to a power substance.
Resomation is a process that dissolves the body to its chemical components. The end result is a small quantity of green-brown tinted liquid (containing amino acids, peptides, sugars and salts) and calcium phosphates. These are easily crushed in the hand to form a white-colored dust. Both the liquid and the dust can be returned to the deceased's next of kin and may be buried or applied to a garden.
Cryonics is the speculative practice of using cold to preserve the life of a person who is legally dead but not brain dead.
An esoteric organization by the name of Summum introduced "Modern Mummification," a form of mummification that Summum claims uses modern techniques along with aspects of ancient methods. The service is available for spiritual reasons. Summum considers animals and people to have an essence that continues after the death of the body.