When a person is buried, family gathers at the graveside. They might offer a prayer, read a poem, sing a song, or tell stories of remembrance. Tears are shed and then together, they watch as the casket is lowered into the ground, the final resting place for the person they love so dearly.
With the rise in cremation rates, the last one to see a person is often the mortuary professional or cremationist. Each person is treated with dignity and care as they are placed into the crematory retort, but it is a bit less ceremonial than the graveside scene described above.
However, what many people don’t know is that they can take the ceremonial tradition into a cremation space. When we host a witnessed cremation at Goes Funeral Care, we look to a family for guidance on what types of traditions to incorporate.
Many faith traditions, including the Buddhist faith and Sikh traditions, specifically include cremation. For others, they may be participating in witnessed cremation for the first time. In either case, we are here to facilitate, support, and guide.
What does a witnessed cremation look like?
Here’s how we often describe it: “A witnessed cremation is very similar to a burial, except for one key difference – the person moves horizontally instead of vertically.”
The crematory at Goes Funeral Care is in a small room, designed to look and feel like a sanctuary rather than an industrial space.
When you arrive, the person’s body will be laying in a cremation container. This might be a box draped with linens, which is a simpler version of a casket, or family may have chosen a willow basket, or a cremation casket.
Before the cremation, people may want to spend time with the deceased, or even have a funeral service. Then, when everyone is ready, we prepare the crematory. Together, we gather around the person and place them into the crematory retort. The door is then lowered, and the cremation begins.
After the cremation starts, we allow families to have some private time in the crematory sanctuary, just like many families spend a few final moments at the graveside.
This ceremony is not for everyone and is not a requirement, but please feel free to reach out to us if you want to learn more or if you would like to come and see our crematory sanctuary.