Helen Taylor asked that we not photograph the cremains she was working on at the East Tennessee Cremation Company. She has great respect for the people she cremates and treats their bones accordingly. Obviously, I was allowed to write about the process and describe how a body is reduced to a brittle skeleton that must be pulverized into “ashes.”
During our trip to Washington, my son and I took a quick look around the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History. They had an exhibition on the use of modern forensic anthropology to study bones from historic Jamestown. The display included a bin of bones that had been raked out of a cremator. The fragments had not yet been ground into the powder that most people think of as cremains. They looked just like the bones we saw at the crematory in Tennessee.