Value of Viewing
The death of a family member is by far one of the most traumatic, life-altering experiences a family will ever confront. Whether it is your father, mother, brother or sister, or a parent’s worst nightmare, their child, this day will change your family forever.
When a death occurs in a family, there is a great deal of confusion and uncertainty about what needs to be done to honor the life of the loved one. Family and friends, business associates and neighbors will all begin to grieve this death in their own way.
But despite everyone else, this is your time not only to grieve but to make very difficult decisions about what needs to be done involving your local funeral home. These difficult decisions will, however, help you and your family begin the process of working through the grief.
Accepting the reality of the loss of your loved one is often assisted by viewing your family member at a funeral home or church. Whether you choose burial or cremation as final disposition, the decision whether to view the body or leave the casket closed may be the most difficult. Medical intervention and life-support mechanisms often create drastic physical changes to the facial features. In some situations, the abnormal appearance is to the degree that they no longer resemble their past self. If the death is due to a tragic event, families may assume that viewing is not possible. Occasionally, families are ill informed by law enforcement agencies, coroners or physicians that viewing is not advisable. They may fear the unknown regarding the appearance of their loved one.
But rather than relying on these individuals’ recommendations, a careful consultation with a funeral professional should be considered.
Viewing your loved one is the most important and personalized aspect of the funeral ritual. It is not uncommon to hear people who have attended closed-casket funerals make comments such as, “I can’t believe they died; it doesn’t seem real.” Often this is due to uncertainty in their own minds, and they are uncertain because they have not had the opportunity to visualize.
They know the death has occurred, but something inside their mind doesn’t want to believe it. We need to remember one fact: “Seeing is believing.” When a child goes missing or a tragic disaster occurs, what is the first thing authorities attempt to do? Recovery of the body is always the first priority, be it alive or dead. This is because the reality of a death is often confirmed in the mind by seeing the body. It is comforting and necessary to have a period of time to adjust to the fact that your loved one has died. We need this time to say our good-byes face to face. Family and friends need a time to begin the transition from their life with the loved one to a new life without. Open-casket viewing can be valuable to help families begin this transition during the grieving process.
For most families, this will be their first time arranging a funeral for a family member. What they may not know is that even following a lengthy illness or a traumatic death, an open-casket or private family viewing is often possible.
You have chosen your local funeral home, in most cases, for one reason – trust. You trust Boles Funeral Home to handle and care for your loved one in the most professional manner possible. We will do everything we can to assist you in honoring your family member’s life. Ask your funeral director during your funeral arrangements about viewing your loved one before cremation or burial. “Reprinted with the permission of the National Funeral Directors Association, The Director, NFDA Services, Inc.”