«Return to Blog List Cremation Witnessing Can Lead to Closure


If you’ve ever watched a movie featuring a funeral scene, you can likely summarize them all using the same old clichés. Funeral goers gathered around a casket in a cemetery. It’s usually cold outside, so they all wear wool coats over their dress clothes. An older minister reads the same passage from Psalms. At the end, somebody presses a button, lowering the casket into the grave and sending the mourners ambling toward their black vehicles.

Obviously, this is a Hollywood montage. Life is by no means Hollywood. This common scenario, however, captures some important lessons about how America believes a funeral should unfold. Apparently, when someone close to us dies, Americans feel that family and friends should gather together, hold a formal ceremony where words of remembrance and prayers are spoken and end with a physical reminder that our loved one’s life has indeed come to an end. These are certainly clichés, but I believe this process plays an important role at any funeral.

As a cremation specialist, I work with families each day to help them navigate what can often be a difficult process following a death. Families work together to finalize the legalities, reach conclusions about countless details and eventually decide how the cremated remains of their loved one should be handled. All these things are very important; however, so many families end the process without an experience that brings them an immediate sense of closure.

Cremation witnessing is an option families can choose that allows people to share a similar experience to that of a graveside burial. During a cremation witnessing, families and friends can opt to spend time with their loved one at the chapel located at Sunset Memorial Park. After this period of viewing the loved one, participants are allowed to watch and assist as their loved one is transported into the crematory, located adjacent to the chapel. Families and friends can decide if they want to be a part of placing their loved one into the cremation machine or spending time in the crematory during the beginning of the cremation process.

Family members and friends can decide precisely what parts of the cremation witnessing are best for them and can tailor the process to match their comfort level. After being a part of many cremation witnessings, I have found that there is something important that takes place for people mourning the loss of a loved one. A cremation witnessing leaves us with a visual reminder that a life has reached its end. Most importantly, a cremation witnessing provides us with the ceremony that we expect when searching for closure at a funeral. People gather. Words are spoken. A button is pressed.

A cremation witnessing provides a family with the opportunity to be with their loved one and participate in the moments leading up to their final disposition. It allows them to see their loved one for the last time and experience the process as a family. I believe that being able to be a part of this process can bring closure and peace to loved ones during what can be an extremely difficult time.

Alyson Richmond

Alyson Richmond

Cremation Specialist, CSNM

Interested in learning more about a cremation witnessing? Feel free to reach out. I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me via e-mail at AlysonR@cremationsocietyofnm.com, or by calling 505-323-9000.

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