To do or not to do – Funeral and Memorial Services

As I type this article, the words from many conversations come to mind; conversations about funerals and how some people do not want others to see them dead in a casket and the opposite response is also mentioned.

Some people worry and are concerned about how they will look when a funeral viewing is done.  On the flip side of that is the person who meticulously picks all of the clothing to be worn, from the underclothing to the special colour of the burial outfit. 

The two opposite ends of the spectrum indicate the amount of thought that goes into the end-of-life preparations by some individuals.  Hmmm…this brings to mind the saying I have heard before, “I wouldn’t be caught dead looking like that”.  I wonder how much truth is in this statement. 

Here are some viable options to consider if you don’t want to be on display;

  • Closed casket from all viewers
  • Closed casket only opened for immediate family or friends
  • Closed casket with a picture of the person near by
  • Cremation immediately and no viewing for anyone
  • Burial immediately and no viewing for anyone
  • Memorial service with a picture of the person

I believe a funeral or memorial service is for the surviving family and friends, not the deceased.  A few reasons could be;

  • A venue for others to be emotionally supportive of grieving family and friends
  • A way for an ending to be publicly acknowledged and healing to begin
  • A way for family to see how many lives you have touched
  • In the event of a traumatic loss or any loss, a video of the funeral can be made to help the grieving people remember who was supportive when they may have been too numb to remember all that occurred that day

Keep in mind that there are those who believe no funeral or memorial service is the best way to help their family deal with the death. 

Unacknowledged grief can result in delayed healing from grief which can create multiple other problems from emotional, physical and psychological concerns to causing problems in relationships at home or in the work environment and more.

I know I talk about the cheeriest topics but seriously…look at the big picture when making any decisions.  Death, loss and grief is serious business when you are the one who is grieving.

All my best,

Barbara Gillett Saunders

Grief Counsellor/Thanatologist