Please review a list of questions we frequently receive regarding our services and other activities related to funerals in Forest Lake and Minnesota. If you don't see the answer to your question here, please contact us at (651) 464-4422 or submit your question through our online contact form.

What is the difference between a funeral, a memorial, and a celebration of life?

Funerals, memorials, and celebrations of life are ceremonies that consist of a gathering of people who share a common loss. The three ceremonies have much in common, yet they often appear very different.

  • Funerals: A funeral is a classic, traditional ceremony to remember the dead and to lay their body to rest. Generally speaking, a funeral will be more formal, more circumspect, and more somber than a celebration of life. Typically, the body of the deceased is present, and the casket may be open or closed.
  • Memorials: In many ways, a memorial service is similar to a celebration of life. We like to consider a memorial service as a hybrid between a funeral and celebration of life. Memorial services are often less formal than a traditional funeral service.
  • Celebrations of life: A celebration of life differs from a funeral in that it’s often a more casual and less structured service. Many families consider a celebration of life to be more of a relaxed and party-like atmosphere with guests attending to celebrate a life well lived. A celebration of life may or may not include elements from a traditional funeral service, although the choice is left up to the family.
What is a viewing, and is it important to have one?

A viewing — also known as visitation, wake, or calling hours — can involve an open or closed casket, and historically has been considered a vital part of the grieving process. A viewing can be public and incorporated into the funeral or memorial service, or can take place separately in a private setting, including only family or chosen family. The decision to have a private or public viewing is a highly personal, intimate decision. Our team will help you navigate your options so that you feel confident in your decision.

What is the purpose of embalming?

Embalming is a process used to sanitize and temporarily preserve the body of a person who has passed away. It can also enhance the appearance of a person that has suffered damage from an accident or illness. Embalming became popular in the United States following the American Civil War. This method of preservation is often chosen by families who wish to have a public open-casket viewing or require additional time in planning their loved one’s services.

Is embalming required by law?

No. Except in rare circumstances, embalming is not required by law. If you opt to not use embalming, refrigeration, techni-ice or other cooling methods would be used to temporarily preserve the body for the duration of time leading up to final disposition.

What can I do to support people who are grieving?

The grieving process doesn’t end with the funeral, and it can take time for the bereaved to adjust to their new normal. 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. Don't hesitate to reach out to the family on special occasions, like their loved one's birthday or on holidays, 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 or 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.

Can I personalize my service?

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 grateful for the opportunity to work with you and will support you in planning a service that truly reflects and celebrates your loved one’s individual life journey.

What do I do when my loved one dies while they’re out of town or away from their home?

It’s important that you contact your local authorities first, and then call us 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! Choosing cremation only indicates you or your loved one’s wishes for final disposition 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.

How can I be sure that the remains I receive are those of my loved one?

Cremation of multiple people at the same time is illegal in the US and many other countries, so the cremation chamber is not designed to hold more than one person at a time. In addition, cremation is a regulated process with strict procedures 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.

Where can I scatter my loved one's cremated remains? Are there any restrictions?

In general, the government does not regulate the scattering of ashes. Minnesota does not have a state regulation prohibiting the scattering of ashes, however local regulations may be in place so make sure you check with your local municipality prior to scattering. If you wish to scatter the ashes on private land, it’s good practice to consult the landowner first.

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.

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