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 numbers and letters you see in the image.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

Importance Of Personalizing A Funeral/Memorial Service

Can death be a celebration of life rather than only mourning and grieving? Can we center the funeral and memorial services on the departed loved one, rather than our emotions overshadowing everythi...

What is Actually Involved in Pre-planning Your Funeral?

If you accept that death is a certainty, then pre-planning the funeral arrangement can be treated as a project for yourself, on which you want to put a stamp of completion. Perhaps the thought behi...

Choosing a Casket

One of the most important aspects in a funeral arrangement is the choice of a casket. A large part of the budget is determined by the cost of the casket. The price range is very wide from...

Etiquette for Social Media Condolences

When the death of someone you know happens, it can be extremely difficult to know how to act towards those who are grieving. When it comes to social media etiquette, it’s important to say your peac...

Ideas for Memorializing Your Loved One After The Service

When someone close to you passes away, it is natural for you to feel the need to keep items that belonged to them. This is one way of honoring their memory. Many families choose videos, paintings o...

Coping With An Unexpected Death

Most people aren’t good at dealing with unexpected occurrences and events such as death. In case a loved one passes away unexpectedly, that can bring on a wave of grief, sorrow, and disbelief. Fami...

What To Discuss During the Funeral Arrangement Meeting

Organizing a funeral service is never easy and it does require a significant amount of planning. The one way to ease the process is to discuss all your requirements with the funeral director at Arb...

Should I Pre-Pay For My Funeral?

It isn’t very common for people to think about and plan for their funeral. However, this trend is now catching on and many people are showing an interest in pre-planning and pre-paying for their fu...

Our Favorite Ideas for Creating a Unique Service

More often than not, funeral services are very deeply rooted in tradition - religious or cultural. Paying your respects to the dearly departed can be beautiful as well as meaningful. However, it is...

Peace Arch Hospice Society is proud to host a Hospice Hoedown!

Peace Arch Hospice Society is proud to host a Hospice Hoedown!  DETAILS: Join us on Saturday, August 11th for Peace Arch Hospice Society’s Hospice Hoedown! With food prepared by the BC C...