Does your family need more time at the Crematorium?
Does your family need more time at the Crematorium? A rushed service is not a good experience for anyone. In fact, our research shows, when you feel you have not had enough time to say goodbye – it can upset, enrage, distress even traumatize someone.
BUT, you can often avoid this happening if you know how.
How long do you get at the crematorium?
Well as you might expect, it does depend. Different crematoria have different time slots and they can vary considerably.
At one end of the spectrum you can be given as little as 40 minutes: 10 minutes to get in, 20 minutes to say good-bye, and 10 minutes to get out again.
At the other end of the scale you can have an hour in the chapel if you wish. Some also offer ‘double’ slots.
Don’t bother with a funeral for me laddie
‘No fuss, no fuss, no fuss – put me in the bin and be done with it’. I have heard this or something very similar so many times over the last ten years. Or to paraphrase an old Scottish Uncle of mine: ‘Och the’ll be no one there laddie, sayya sel some money, ya dini even need to turn the wee lights on’. He was politely ignored, not because he wasn’t loved, he was. And that was the point. He was modest and we (the funeral organisers) do try and carry out our loved one’s last wishes. But death is a funny old thing. In my humble opinion I just don’t think that funerals are for the dead, they are for the living – the mourners,the grieving friends and family, the ones left behind. They want to say goodbye in their own way, and I think you should let them.
I have been to a quite a number of funerals; some with whistles and bells and some more modest affairs and more time is not necessarily better – you just want the right amount of time. You need to be practical. Unfortunately making practical decisions in this situation is difficult. So get someone to help, this may be a friend, a relative, or your funeral director.
How long will ‘we’ need at the Crematorium?
Does your family need more time at the Crematorium? Here are some things you might want to think about to gauge the amount of people who will attend and the amount of time you might need::
- was the deceased well known or highly regarded in the local or wider community?
- perhaps they involved in a club or society?
- did they come from a big close-knit family?
- were they married more than once or were part of a wider step-family?
- will their work colleagues want to attend?
- were they ‘young’?
- was the death sudden?
- is the funeral only being held at the crematoria?
If the answer is ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions then you might want more space and/or more time. Why? Because if more people are going to attend then you will need more time to move people physically in and out of the crematoria. There might also be more people who want to saw a few words so the service could be longer. If the person was young or the death was sudden them you might want to give people more time to be able to arrive & leave in privacy without having to encounter the ‘next’ funeral.
How can I make sure we have long enough for the cremation?
If you think you will need longer than the standard allocation at your crematorium then you do have a couple of options:
Speak to your funeral director about what other crematoria are within striking distance and what their scheduling is like. Some crematoria offer longer slots as standard, some you have to ask (and you may be charged extra). You can then make an informed choice that suits your funeral.
Consider holding the funeral somewhere else. Crematoria were traditionally only designed for immediate family, the main service was usually held at a church. These days very few of us use a church prior to the crematorium. People are opting to have the whole service at the crematorium and many older buildings were simply not designed to do this and have not properly adapted to it. So consider another venue, again your funeral director or celebrant may be able suggest somewhere. You can then hold the service and the wake at the same venue, easing the time pressure considerably…