What to Expect from an Open Casket Funeral

You might have attended an open casket funeral where there was an open coffin containing the body on view. In the casket, the body will be in full view, or maybe only the face will show.

In an open casket funeral, the casket is part of a ceremony room where mourners can approach the casket and see the body. They will often say a prayer and pay their respects. Some people view this as the ideal opportunity to say a final goodbye to the individual.

Open Casket Funeral – Viewing a loved one in an open casket is not for everyone

At an open casket funeral, it is important to remember that often the deceased person will not look the same as they did in life. This means that if you are not comfortable with viewing someone in an open casket, you can enter the room and take a seat. You do not need to approach the casket.

Open Casket FuneralMany people can become emotional when at a viewing. This is normal and acceptable. You might consider approaching the casket with someone you know who can support you should you become overwhelmed with emotion.

Open Casket Funeral – Guidance from the funeral director

A funeral director will most likely have spoken to the family about different choices available for the funeral. He would have already asked them if they require an open- or a closed casket. Sometimes if a body has been disfigured by whatever means, the family might decide not to have a public viewing and these things will be taken into consideration. There are some ethnic groups and even different religions that feel strongly about viewing the body. This is a form of respect.

Funeral homes usually employ an embalmer, the one who prepares the body for the funeral and the burial. An embalmer will remove the blood from the body and usually replaces it with a chemical known as formaldehyde. This slows down decomposition and helps preserve the body and to harden it. A body that does not go through the embalming process will decompose quickly.

Open Casket Funeral – The Funeral Director Will Explain the Different Options

All these important matters will be explained to you by the funeral director so you can make informed choices. Mortuaries employ these specialists to ensure that the hair, the makeup, the dress, and clothing is suitable and appropriate for an open casket viewing.

Once all the decisions have been made, the funeral director will arrange times when the family can come and express their grief away from those who will be at the funeral. Chairs will be there for mourners to sit and talk in the private viewing room.

Open Casket Funeral – Your Choice

The viewing can be disconcerting because the deceased looks so life-like. The morticians will have done their best to prepare the body so that you can remember your loved one as they were in life. People sometimes like to stroke the hands of the deceased, or their hair, or kiss them on the forehead. That helps to bring closure. Some won’t like to do this as they will find it scary. The skin might look and feel waxy, but this is all normal.

The most important thing about your personal viewing at an open casket will be entirely up to you. Remember that you must say goodbye in the way that feels best and right for you. In death, there is no second chance to say goodbye.

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