Why Choose a Closed Casket Funeral

Depositphotos_41363957_originalA couple months ago we discussed why some people choose an open casket funeral, and the benefits of that decision. This post, conversely, will illustrate why some people choose closed casket funerals. If you have these difficult decisions ahead of you, whether because you are completing your own pre-need planning or because you are planning for a loved one, take a look at both posts to weigh the pros and cons.

When we try to understand why someone would choose a closed-casket funeral, the mind often jumps to the state of the body. The body may be disfigured from a fire or a chemical accident, maybe water was involved as it often has adverse effects on a corpse. However, this is actually very rarely the case. Many people choose a closed casket funeral out of respect for the dead, regardless of the state of their body. Some see open casket viewings as an invasion of privacy, whether of the family or deceased person or both. This is a matter of personal opinion and can cause disagreements within families dealing with funeral arrangements. A good way to anticipate these problems is pre-need funeral planning dictating your own wishes and preferences.

Another reason one may choose a closed casket funeral is religious. Many religions leave the option of holding a viewing or wake up to the family members, but some religions do not typically encourage open caskets. Jewish funerals do not hold a viewing but instead have a rite known as “keriah” and a small family gathering before the service. The Muslim faith also does not include an open casket viewing, as bodies are buried as soon as possible after death. A Quaker funeral is the last religion that outlines restrictions on viewings and wakes. If religion is not your reason for feeling hesitant about an open casket, there are plenty of other valid reasons as well.

For example, some people feel uncomfortable with the embalming process and do not wish to be displayed. This is a natural reaction, even though undertakers are highly trained professionals and can present the deceased in very lifelike and natural ways. Choosing a closed casket funeral may be in consideration of the guests present, as cadavers sometimes cause adverse reactions with some people who would prefer to not lay eyes on the corpse. Perhaps the desire for a closed casket is a psychological one. Though many people believe an open casket funeral brings a therapeutic opportunity to bid a loved one goodbye, some studies disprove this theory as only a nice sentiment. The opposite could be said, then, about closed casket funerals—perhaps they give guests a sense of finality that allows them to accept death and let go.

Whatever your reason for considering a closed casket funeral, the important thing is the wishes of your loved one and your own level of comfort with the proceedings.

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8 thoughts on “Why Choose a Closed Casket Funeral

  1. Both of my grandparents are over the age of 90 and are showing signs of aging. Hopefully they live a while longer, but I like that you point out that it is a good idea to do some pre-need funeral planning before anything happens. I’ll have to talk with my mom to see if she has talked with her siblings about what they are going to do for when they pass on.

  2. I like your point that a closed casket can provide a sense of finality. Personally, I don’t like open casket funerals just because I don’t like corpses. They always look quite different than they did while living in my experience.

  3. It’s interesting to read about why you might want to choose a closed casket funeral. It makes sense that it could not only make it easier but appeal to some religions or situations better. I’ll have to keep this in mind for my mom to see what she thinks would be best just to make sure it’s done how she’d want it.

  4. I think open cask to are better,because then you know that they are peaceful.When I went to my great great grandmother,her casket was open.When I went to my neighbors funeral,her casket was closed.You,can chose whichever.But in opion,i think open caskets are better.

  5. I like that you talk about how some people just feel uncomfortable with the embalming process. This is something my mom has mentioned in the past but I didn’t pay much attention to it until recently. I’ll have to talk to her about what she want’s most out of her funeral and what sort of services she thinks would be best.

  6. The belief that I was raised with is that if it is possible, do an open casket so that all who may come may find peace themselves with one final good bye while seeing the corpse in peace, itself. I am a veteran and have seen my share and quite honestly I have always been at peace with families’ decisions with open or closed with 1 exception. When my father-in-law passed, he was such a good man that we had to have 2 wakes in 2 different states before the actual funeral. He was not a politician or anyone that society would consider important but there were so many who loved him & showed up at both funerals that it was quite expensive. He chose in his pre-funeral to have a closed casket and I was extremely emotional about that situation. For 1 thing, I felt robbed of being able to come to terms & peace of his passing. I just needed & wanted to assure myself that his physical body appeared at peace, it seems to help me heal & grieve in a healthy way. 2nd issue was with all the transportation and it being a military funeral, I felt that an inspection needed to be considered. Now the 2 funeral home directors appeared to co-operate well with each by phone but how would we know any different. Anyway, the funeral was massive & overwhelming by how many ppl this man had an effect on that being able to see his face 1 last time and make that connection would have brought peace to so many there that day but alas it was his decision.
    He was a devout Roman Catholic, he had old Catholic school memories of the nuns being quick with those rulers slapping the hands..lol but he told us his reason years ago and I just couldn’t argue with it. His reason for a closed casket was simply because he did not want anyone but primarily us kids & his grandkids having that final moment of him in that casket as our last visual memory of him. He wanted us to be able to celebrate that last memory of whatever it was that we we’re doing together to last so it would overlap the funeral which would keep him alive even more, in our hearts and not his face in a box, with no soul.

  7. I’ve attended many funerals in my life time. With my father being a preacher it seemed to be in our monthly schedule when I was growing up. I was never comfortable with the veiwing process. My husband passed away 3yrs ago and for the first time there wasn’t a viewing. I’m able to see and remember him the way he was in life not death. His funeral even though the hardiest was the most peaceful one I had ever attended.
    Saying goodbye to your loved ones is heartbreaking, but I know in my personal experience I remember his smile now instead of the body his soul once laid in.

    1. I agree closed. I wanted to always remember the happy smile and laughter in my wife’s very pretty face when she was alive.

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