What does witnessing mean?
Witnessing is simply another way to say a final goodbye to a loved one in a comfortable, spacious environment prior to the cremation. Many of us think of cremation as taking place in very old, dark places using industrial equipment. At our four witnessing centres, families and friends are able to be part of the process in bright, well-lit and welcoming rooms. Here they can witness the casket entering the cremation enclosure, which is an often overlooked opportunity to be part of the final journey of their loved one.
What happens at a witnessing ceremony?
Witnessing feels a lot like a memorial service or graveside service. At our funeral and cremation centres, family and friends can gather in the bright, well-lit, modern and comfortable witnessing rooms. There the casket is placed on a special lift in front of the cremator doors. A faith leader, celebrant or officiant will share a few comforting words with the group and then, at the appropriate time, a button is pressed by a designated family member or one of our staff, automatically opening the doors and gently pushing the casket directly into the cremation enclosure, where the cremation process begins.
Why do people want to witness the cremation?
For many, especially those of the Hindu, Sikh and Jainism faiths, being present during the cremation is an important part of their faith and traditions. For others, it’s a respectful way to say a final goodbye. But until recently, North American crematoriums weren’t suited to accommodate witnessing. Most are old, cramped and very hot. We have upgraded all of our crematoriums with state-of-the art equipment and entirely new, welcoming environments that completely transform the experience. Now families and friends can witness cremation in a dignified space in comfort.
Are there benefits to witnessing?
The benefits of witnessing are largely personal. For some people, being present when the casket takes its final journey into the cremation enclosure is comforting or may be part of their traditions. For others, it may demystify something that they weren’t able to be part of in the past. But the cremation equipment that makes witnessing possible also has other benefits. Once we put witnessing at the center of the cremation process, we needed specially designed equipment that would accommodate the witnessing room concept. This allowed us to incorporate the most advanced, cleanest and most environmentally responsible cremation equipment in the world.
For a deeper dive into frequently asked questions relating to cremation click here.