So, yesterday (16th June) saw me going to the Aberdeen Crematorium to meet Angus and his team.
I felt so nervous going up to reception as this was my first step in my new vocation.
The contents of this blog will contain the questions I asked, some photos of the two chapels and some background information relating to the process.
Meet and greet
I met Angus in the small reception area which is in the middle of the two chapels. Its very spacious with a waiting area, a reception (which isn’t manned at the moment) and an area for the bereavement services to meet clients.
COVID Restrictions at the crematorium.
When you arrive at the Chapel you will be asked to use the QR code to register your details or they can be given to an attendant as you enter the Chapel.
Sometimes the Funeral Director will provide these details on behalf of the family.
How many chapels do they have?
There are 2 chapels at the aberdeen crematorium, East and West.
East has seating for 96 and West has seating for 270 mourners. However, due to the restrictions the following are the numbers.
East is the smaller of the two which has a capacity of 42, but due to the regulations it is current 25-30 to allow for single mourners.
West being the larger has a capacity of 100, but due to the current situation it is set up for a maximum of 70, also to allow for single mourners to attend.
Can the family be seated in Chapel?
Yes, the family can be seated in the Chapel, however, the deceased is already in-situ as they will have arrived earlier.
Are the curtains left open?
After the refurbishment 2.5 years ago there are now no curtains, only LED lights which can be dimmed during reflection.
What music system do you have?
Aberdeen Crematorium have their own bespoke system which the attendants will look after. (phew no buttons to press 😅)
The crematorium can receive the music on CD, USB via email, Google share etc. However, the format has to be MP3, WMA or MP4.
They do request the music at least 48 hours before the funeral.
Should you require a slideshow, this can be done by the attendants or they can receive a ready made one as long as it is in MP4 format. PowerPoint slides are also accepted.
However, myself as celebrant or the funeral director can assist with this.
With the change in regulations singing of Hymns are now permitted but you MUST wear a face covering.
Behind the scenes
Some people find the subject of death is still a taboo subject but over the years this is slowly changing.
I, however, am fascinated with the whole process and wanted to know more so I can help my client.
Angus kindly took me on a tour of the facilities so I can see for myself what happens after a service.
I was shown the waiting room where the deceased waits until the time of their service.
The deceased is brought through a private entrance, which in my opinion is grander than the one the mourners enters through.
I was shown where the cremations are held and was privileged to be advised of the process.
From a personal point of view knowing the journey my father would have made and how much he was looked after made me smile a little.
Angus made a point of telling me what happens with the remains of a baby. I was taken to an area which had coloured bricks on the wall. I think after the issues the crem had several years ago, it was really poignant to see and hear how much extra care is taken with baby ashes.
After 2 hours I came out feeling drained but very privileged to know what goes on behind the scenes.
Hopefully this gives me the tools to help my clients.
Thank you for reading, until next time.