When funeral arrangements are being made, there are many moving parts that have to be planned and coordinated by family and friends. This planning process brings about difficult decisions and, sometimes, uncomfortable questions. One of these questions is whether to have an open casket viewing as part of the funeral services. This post will discuss some of the compelling reasons to make this choice with confidence.
Why choose an open casket?
Open casket services can include an additional gathering like a wake, viewing, or vigil. Allowing funeral guests to come to terms with the death of your loved one is an essential opportunity that they will appreciate. Seeing the body helps guests recognize that death has truly occurred and that there is no longer pain or suffering. It is a peaceful experience that helps loved ones through the grieving process.
What to expect in an open casket service?
For open casket viewings, the body is often embalmed, dressed up in the person’s own clothes, and an effort is made to restore the person’s appearance to what it once was. It can be a blessing to say goodbye to your loved one in this way. Many people pass away hooked up to machines in a hospital or hospice bed, so it is preferable to see the person for the last time looking peaceful and like themselves. If your loved one died suddenly or unexpectedly, it is especially important that you and your guests have the opportunity to come to terms with what happened. Viewing the body brings acceptance, understanding, and peace to those who are grieving.
Should I be concerned about religious restrictions?
Different religions prescribe different things when it comes to embalming and open caskets. Most Christian religions leave funeral decisions up to the family and friends planning the service, but it is common to hold a viewing before the funeral services. Catholic funerals in particular hold what is called “The Vigil,” which is a prayer service much like a viewing before the funeral services commence. In Judaism, open caskets are discouraged and a viewing is not held. In both Buddhism and Hinduism, open caskets are permissible with some specific prescriptions of custom and aesthetic. In the Muslim tradition the deceased is buried as soon as possible, so no open casket services are possible. For specific advice or restrictions, contact your religious adviser or that of your loved one.
Why choose an open casket funeral? To give your guests peace and an opportunity to say goodbye. Viewing services are very common and your funeral director has ample experience planning viewing events. Discuss this option with your loved ones and friends so you can make a decision that benefits all those who are grieving.