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Podcast: #37 Kilie Crowley – What Is Cremation?

Join Kiley Crowley from Solace Cremation as she and I discuss cremation. How does it work and where does it happen? What does it cost? Why might someone choose cremation? And what are some of the new ways that even this “tried and true” method of body disposition are changing in the current landscape of the U.S., with dispersed families and rising costs?  

Transcript Below

[00:00:00] Diane Hullet: hi, I’m Diane Hullet, and welcome to the best life. Best death podcast today. I’ve got a special guest Kylie Crowley and Kylie works for solace cremation. High-cost.

[00:00:21] Kilie Crowley: Hi, Leanne. It’s so nice to be here. Thank you.

[00:00:24] Diane Hullet: I’ve been offering this once a month podcast about different kinds of body disposition. And I think it’s really interesting for people.

[00:00:31] I feel like, you know, there may be were more traditional, typical ways that people just automatically did. And I think one of the things that’s happened in the U S is that now there’s just a lot of options.

[00:00:45] Kilie Crowley: There really are. It’s become quite, um, and a lot of people would think that I’m strange for saying this, but it is kind of exciting.

[00:00:56] And thank you for making people aware of it.

[00:00:59] Diane Hullet: Absolutely. [00:01:00] So Kylie is the outreach director for solace cremation. That’s S O L a C E. And you can find out more about her work@solacecares.com. So I asked Kylie to come and talk about cremation because cremation is one that people are more familiar with. It is something that is not uncommon.

[00:01:19] And my understanding is it’s increased since nine 11 in the U S. Tell us, like, what is cremation and how did you get into.

[00:01:30] Kilie Crowley: So cremation in, I mean the most basic definition is that it is an alternative form of disposition to burial in a casket that uses heat to break the body down to its most basic components, which become gases ashes and mineral fragments.

[00:01:48] So it’s, it’s, uh, it’s definitely gained in popularity and. Mostly because it is more economical and it’s, it’s a little bit [00:02:00] easier for families and loved ones to then honor their loved one after their passing. So you have a little bit more flexibility with having like the celebration of life and, and it just gives more, it just allows for more options.

[00:02:18] When

[00:02:18] Diane Hullet: you say that, like, what I think of is, is like, you know, back in the olden days, we had a family plot at the local cemetery with a headstone, but I wonder if part of cremation’s appeal is it’s like portability. Like you can keep the ashes and take them to different places, whether you spread them or.

[00:02:39] Bury some of them, or keep them in an urn somewhere in your house. There is this portability to it. That’s really different than the solidity of a headstone.

[00:02:50] Kilie Crowley: Oh, yeah. Then it just becomes more like you’re able to, you’re able to take your loved one with you everywhere you go. Nearly. I, you know, we, [00:03:00] we see, we have these lovely things that are being done now where folks can have their loved ones, cremated, Preston, uh, records and marbles, and these beautiful cremation stones and put it into jewelry.

[00:03:13] And it’s. And you get to keep them

[00:03:18] Diane Hullet: it’s really changed. Hasn’t it? I think this idea that you can make something that’s like a piece of art with the cremated remains of your loved ones or a few, a little bit of the remains is, is, is new. Yeah. Well, um, what does, what does your company offer? That’s different?

[00:03:34] Like what is solace cremation’s, um, approach and where are you located?

[00:03:39] Kilie Crowley: So we are, we are actually an online digital platform. So our headquarters is in Portland, Oregon, and we support Seattle, Metro Portland, Metro Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside orange county, and San Diego. Um, and I guess, I [00:04:00] wonder if you have ever heard of direct

[00:04:01] Diane Hullet: cremation.

[00:04:03] Well, tell us about that. What is direct versus whatever the other kind would be? So

[00:04:09] Kilie Crowley: there’s a couple of different ways that people can make these plans for this position. When it comes to cremation, the traditional funeral homes almost always have a package that offers direct cremation, but it’s going to be their least expensive package.

[00:04:24] So it may not be the first one that they put forward with the direct cremation service. It is. Exactly that it is a direct cremation, usually that entails no viewing, um, and no one bombing. And what happens is solace comes and we, we take your loved one into our care. The whole process takes about, um, 10 to 14 days.

[00:04:53] So we’re usually there to you within about 90 minutes. And then our care team [00:05:00] is just very high touch and extremely communicative. So they’re letting, they’re letting you know, throughout every step of the process what’s happening with your loved ones. So you never have to reach out to us to ask. So. In our coverage areas, we are able to bring your loved one back to you.

[00:05:18] After the process over is, is complete. Um, by, by hand we hand deliver, or if you are outside of our coverage area anywhere. It’s we, uh, we bring you your left one back via USBs priority mail.

[00:05:34] Diane Hullet: Interesting. So, so in a way, the idea of direct is that it’s, um, the, the deceased person is taken directly to the cremation site and the S the service is a different, um, part of that, like, whatever you want to arrange it’s.

[00:05:49] So this is like a funeral home. This is more like, uh, just the service of cremation. I am guessing that makes it less expensive.

[00:05:59] Kilie Crowley: [00:06:00] Yes, it is significantly less expensive. And that’s another thing that sets all us apart, even from other direct cremation companies, is that our commitment to keeping everything as transparent and simple as possible is that we have that one price of 8 95.

[00:06:17] And this includes everything except for the destination. Coming to get yeah. 8 95, that’s it. So we’re, you know, we’re coming to the home, the, the, you know, the assisted living facility, the hospital, wherever your loved one is to take them into our care. And then, you know, there’s no extra charge for any mileage.

[00:06:42] There’s no extra charge for any of the, you know, return of your level. It’s all included in that.

[00:06:49] Diane Hullet: My guess is, I mean, the funeral industry has this reputation of upselling, right? Like the, the idea that, um, in your, in your state of grief, you that’s, I think one of the [00:07:00] challenges is if that’s, when you’re making these decisions, you are in this state of grief and you’re not always thinking clearly.

[00:07:06] So. There’s this idea that you can be upsold, right? That I think I’ve typically heard cremation has more like 2000 or 3000. Right? So it is kind of interesting that there are places where it is 8 95, like that simple. And how do you recommend people? Like how can people deal with this? Say they don’t live near a solace location and there is.

[00:07:27] Crematorium in their small town in, you know, Ohio or New Hampshire or something. Um, how, how do you recommend kind of approaching this financial, um, challenge? You know,

[00:07:42] Kilie Crowley: it’s, it’s really, it comes down to being an advocate for yourself and. It’s it’s helpful to know what questions to ask. Right? So if you are calling around to try to make arrangements for a loved one, that I, [00:08:00] as a, as an, as a doula, I always suggest that you call at least three or four.

[00:08:05] Just because you want to have a really good, accurate idea of how much this is going to cost you. Um, so, and then you want to take into, you want to take into consideration if there’s any specific requests that you would like to be honored. Um, is it important that you have a Memorial service or, you know, do you want to have a celebration of life?

[00:08:29] Would you rather have to send in a funeral home? Do you want to have a viewing and a casket? Is that important to you? Do you know, is everybody able to gather together in one location quickly? Or is this something that is going to take, you know, maybe months of preparation and then, you know, even, and especially during the pandemic, we’ve done so much virtually that having, having the option of the [00:09:00] direct cremation has really just given families that, uh, ability to.

[00:09:06] To celebrate their loved ones in the way that they want to. So, yeah, it really just comes down to like knowing, knowing what you want and having a plan. Right. And

[00:09:16] Diane Hullet: knowing what you want, either as the person who’s died and having communicated that ahead of time or the family having, knowing what they want and being on the same page and talking to people.

[00:09:27] So in, so it sounds like direct cremation is the phrase. If you don’t want the bells and whistles, you just want the bottom handled. Um, and, and it sounds like that is available in a lot of places, but there might often be this kind of yeah. But don’t you also want the such and such a package or something.

[00:09:45] Kilie Crowley: Yeah. So it, it really does come down to either you and your family know what you want, or, you know, you’ve left a very detailed plan for your loved ones, which, you know, gosh, we, we kind of hope that everybody does that now. Um, [00:10:00] Yes. It’s there, there are definitely questions that you

[00:10:04] Diane Hullet: need to ask though. Yeah.

[00:10:05] Yeah. On your website, you had a great, there’s a great frequently asked questions section. And I thought the question about witness cremation was really interesting. Can you describe that would not be for everyone, but some people might really find that powerful.

[00:10:20] Kilie Crowley: So it is exactly that I have never been present for a witness cremation.

[00:10:25] We, we do not offer that as an option, uh, for solace, but, um, I know that there are a lot of, um, there are cultures and, you know, spiritual cultures that. They observed that as, uh, as a practice, it’s a ritual for that for death care and for memorializing and saying goodbye. And it really is just the process of watching.

[00:10:50] I know from, um, some places your, uh, the family member may even be the one to push the button.

[00:10:58] Diane Hullet: Right, right. [00:11:00] So powerful. That is

[00:11:01] Kilie Crowley: extremely powerful.

[00:11:03] Diane Hullet: Yeah, it was really I’ve read Kaitlin’s Caitlin Dowdy book from here to return. And that was such a, um, interesting read about just the range of what people do worldwide, you know, because you really do kind of get in your culture and you think, well, this is just what’s done, but it was fascinating to read worldwide all the variety of death care and end of life practice.

[00:11:28] You said that you’re a doula. Tell me more about.

[00:11:32] Kilie Crowley: So I actually trained to become an end of life doula during the pandemic with, uh, Marilyn Rush at the dying year. And it’s something that I’d wanted to do for a really long time. I worked for many years in assisted living, um, as a caregiver and in memory care as a CNA.

[00:11:53] And have always felt very drawn to those liminal spaces where [00:12:00] people, they just kind of need someone to sit with them and be present. And then, you know, The, the lead, the lack of hesitation to have the hard conversations.

[00:12:12] Diane Hullet: It’s, it’s,

[00:12:14] Kilie Crowley: it’s something that just needs to be done and it can be done with sensitivity and it can be done, you know, with, with humor even, and you just have to be open to what the person sitting in front of you needs.

[00:12:29] And I think that I just became drawn to it for so many reasons. My family needed one when my stepdad was dying and they didn’t exist then. And you know, for the, for, for the same reason, that’s all is what’s created basically like I, I had a less than ideal experience.

[00:12:50] Diane Hullet: Yes. Tell us about that. How was, how was solace, um, founded?

[00:12:55] So

[00:12:55] Kilie Crowley: solace solace is founded by two Nike [00:13:00] creative design. David ODA, Sonia and Keith Crawford. Uh, both that they also are a business we’re business partners. Um, both of them had lost a parent, Dave or David lost his mother in the UK. And Keith lost his dad here in the state. And all though, both of their parents had made arrangements for direct cremation prior to their passing.

[00:13:22] When, uh, when they went in to make the final arrangements, it was, it was. And it was a less than ideal experience. Interesting. So when they shared that,

[00:13:34] Diane Hullet: yeah, it was less than ideal experiences come new businesses sometimes. Yeah.

[00:13:40] Kilie Crowley: Well, you know, that’s the thing about creative folks, right? Um, they are able to take these experiences and maybe like assess the need and see what needs to change.

[00:13:53] And that’s, that’s exactly what we’re doing with. We’re going in and just [00:14:00] doing what we can to support families and ease the, ease, the pain points through this process and make it as simple as possible.

[00:14:08] Diane Hullet: Um, it’s like, it’s like taking something cremation. That’s pretty familiar to most people in the U S and then I’m saying, how do we make it even.

[00:14:17] Like this is a service industry. How do we offer the service in the clearest most transparent, most direct way. Um, and I wonder, you know, that’s such a, kind of a disruptor. I love that.

[00:14:29] Kilie Crowley: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that’s probably, it, that’s what drew me to solace. I wanted to be part of something. That was, uh, making the world better.

[00:14:41] Diane Hullet: Yeah. Yeah. Just kind of improving it one little piece in one way. I think it’ll be really interesting to see if solace, um, you know, stays sort of west coast or does it begin to be a model in other places? Cause I assume it’ll take them. Of the public, choosing it to say, we prefer [00:15:00] this over some of these other options.

[00:15:02] And I always think of the small towns. I always go, well, how’s this going to play out in smaller places than Denver, Seattle, or Portland, or, you know, the big cities. Um, so interesting. What are there, is there anything you’d leave listeners with in terms of final thoughts about cremation?

[00:15:21] Kilie Crowley: It is. It’s a beautiful form of disposition. It really is. And it, it allows your family, your loved ones, the opportunity to keep a piece of you with the.

[00:15:38] Diane Hullet: Beautiful. Well, thank you so much, Kylie. I really appreciate your time. You can find out more about Kylie’s work and the work of solace cremation@solacecares.com and you can find out more about my work at best life, best death.com.

[00:15:54] Thanks for listening and thanks for joining me. Yeah. [00:15:57] Kilie Crowley: Thank

Diane Hullet

Diane Hullet

End of Life Doula, Podcaster, and founder of Best Life Best Death.

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