Is it Important to Have a Public Viewing Before a Funeral?

By: Ian Elliott
Friday, October 30, 2015

In most cultures, it’s common to have a viewing, visitation or wake prior to the funeral. The viewing can happen days before or on the same day of the funeral and typically include family and friends of the deceased.

There are various factors that can determine the importance of a viewing. Different cultures and religions have different opinions on viewings but for the most part there are several factors that make holding a viewing or visitation important.

What’s the Difference Between a Viewing and a Visitation?

Both a viewing and visitation can seem similar at first, but they are very different. A viewing is giving family and friends a chance to see the body of their loved one a final time. Guests of the viewing are allowed to look at the body and touch the body if they want to.

Typically if a viewing is public, meaning it’s being held at a funeral home or church, the body will already be embalmed and ready for burial as per specific regulations. A private viewing typically takes place prior to the public viewing to give family members a chance to say goodbye before receiving their friends for the public viewing.

A visitation is a chance for friends and family to meet at a convenient place to talk and reminisce about the deceased. The body is not present at a visitation however there are usually pictures or other memorials laid out to remember their loved one.

Why is a Viewing Important?

When a loved one passes away, especially if they pass away suddenly or unexpectedly, finding closure is hard. A public viewing is one of the best ways to give friends and family a final chance to say goodbye or resolve any unfinished business.

By viewing or touching the body, friends and family can work through their grief and try to find comfort in their loss. Viewing also   brings the reality of the death to the forefront.  

When Is a Viewing Not Appropriate?

While having a viewing can be therapeutic and helpful in managing grief, there are some instances where it does not make sense to hold a viewing. Some of those reasons are as follows:

  • When the deceased specifically requests no viewing: Going against someone’s wishes for their funeral process is wrong. Having a viewing when no viewing was requested is taking advantage of your loved one and should completely be avoided if asked.
     
  • If the deceased was a victim of an accident that altered their appearance: Funeral homes will often work to restore your loved one to the image of health for their viewing, however some accidents cannot be undone, and for these types of deaths, it’s often better to have no viewing.

If a viewing a loved one requests no viewing, or if a viewing is not possible, there is always the option to hold a visitation instead. Meeting with friends and family to discuss memories and comfort one another can be just as therapeutic as seeing your loved one at a viewing.

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the letters you see in the image.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

What Goes Into the Expense of a Standard Funeral?

Funerals are a long process that involves a small group of professionals and a couple of different establishments. You need to hire a funeral director, reserve a place in a burial ground, need spac...

How Does Proper Goal Setting Aid in the Grieving Process

Most people set goals for themselves at some point in their lives. It helps them have some purpose and encourages them on to achieve something. In fact, goal setting is a very important aspect of d...

What do Funeral Directors do for a Family

When a loved one passes away, you have to manage a number of different things. In addition to planning the funeral service, you need to inform family and friends about the demise, organize for the ...

Understanding Funeral Pricing

Most people aren’t aware of exactly how expensive a funeral can be until they are actually confronted with the expenses suddenly. This process involves the services of various funeral home employee...

How Can You Help a Friend as they go Through the Stages of Grief?

It’s not easy to see a friend and loved one go through grief. You want to help them, support them, and comfort them, but don’t know the right way to go about it. Every individual has a different wa...

5 Memorable Ways to Honor Your Loved One Once They've Passed On

Death doesn’t weaken the bond you shared with your loved one that has passed on and grieving family members look for ways to keep the memory of the dear departed alive. There are a number of differ...

I Have Pre-Planned At One Funeral home, Can I Switch Funeral Homes?

Planning a funeral for oneself isn’t always an easy task, but today many people opt for this type of funeral arrangement. They sign a contract with the funeral home of their choice and prepay for t...

How Does a Celebration of Life Differ from a Funeral?

There are a number of different customs and traditions that deal with the loss of a loved one. Most follow these traditions and arrange for a formal funeral service prescribed by their religious or...

Holidays Without a Loved One - How to Cope

The grieving process is very challenging and many people approach it differently. But regardless of where a person is in the grieving process, holidays can be stressful and painful. Holidays are a ...

3 Misconceptions about Pre-Planning Your Funeral

Planning funerals can be a long, stressful, and painful process for a grieving family. Everyone has their opinion of how these funerals need to be carried out and that can lead to conflict. The bes...