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#4705119 - 03/24/18 10:33 AM Social Obligations -- The Funeral Home Visitation
LoneRanger Offline


Registered: 07/02/07
Posts: 4106
Loc: Midwest USA
Warning: This is a rant.

Okay, I totally get why we go to the funeral home visitation session when someone has died. Pay our respects, offer condolences to the family, etc. I'm just getting [censored] tired of it lately. Mainly the open coffin bit. At what point in our society did we decide it's a good idea to showcase the dead body? I really don't like the concept. It's not because I'm squeamish-- far from it. Seen a lot of death in my time, 30 yrs in law enforcement does that. Moonlighting as a part-time Deputy Coroner does that. In those aspects, I've seen death up close and personal, fresh, not so fresh, young, old, and before the undertaker has tidied them up for presentation. Attended more autopsies than I care to remember, witnessing a human body dissected like a frog in high school biology class. So it might seem odd that I've grown to question and even detest this cultural thing we have about showing the deceased at the funeral home.

As you might have guessed, the trigger for this morning's rant is yet another funeral home visit I need to make later today. Neighbor lady. Her husband last month, and she has followed without delay. At least she won't have been autopsied. Undertakers can't always get the face looking right on autopsied folks. There's a reason for that, which I won't cover as it's rather morose. As is this post. Sorry. Just tired of looking at dead folks in caskets lately.

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#4705125 - 03/24/18 10:36 AM Re: Social Obligations -- The Funeral Home Visitation [Re: LoneRanger]
Mr Nice Offline


Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 21363
Loc: Orlando, FL
Maybe family feels open casket is the chance for loved ones to see the person for the very last time.

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#4705130 - 03/24/18 10:39 AM Re: Social Obligations -- The Funeral Home Visitation [Re: LoneRanger]
Chris142 Offline


Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 16973
Loc: Deplorable in apple valley, ca
It also allows those that are having problems accept that the person has passed.
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#4705132 - 03/24/18 10:40 AM Re: Social Obligations -- The Funeral Home Visitation [Re: LoneRanger]
Number_35 Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 841
Loc: Winnipeg MB CA
In some cases the funeral people guilt the survivors into doing it - it's extra money for them.

When my turn comes, they can remember me as I was.

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#4705137 - 03/24/18 10:44 AM Re: Social Obligations -- The Funeral Home Visitation [Re: LoneRanger]
LoneRanger Offline


Registered: 07/02/07
Posts: 4106
Loc: Midwest USA
Valid points.
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#4705138 - 03/24/18 10:45 AM Re: Social Obligations -- The Funeral Home Visitation [Re: LoneRanger]
aquariuscsm Offline


Registered: 12/30/06
Posts: 18309
Loc: Dallas,Tx USA
I'm so glad none of my passed on relatives had open casket. I wouldn't be able to handle having my last memory of them being dead. I want to remember them being alive.

Me,I want to be cremated.
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#4705140 - 03/24/18 10:51 AM Re: Social Obligations -- The Funeral Home Visitation [Re: LoneRanger]
carviewsonic Offline


Registered: 08/17/16
Posts: 226
Loc: Alberta
Your point of view on open casket funerals makes sense to me, especially given your long career. You've seen enough death, and don't want to see any more.
I don't like an open casket either, would rather remember the person as they were in life.
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#4705141 - 03/24/18 10:52 AM Re: Social Obligations -- The Funeral Home Visitation [Re: LoneRanger]
Vuflanovsky Offline


Registered: 12/15/14
Posts: 1195
Loc: California
I'm not sure that the basis for your aversion to this might be job-related, but I know in my case I watched my mom die, kissed her and said my goodbyes...and felt a strong need to go back again a minute later because she didn't want a funeral and this would be the last time I'd ever see her. My relatives who were close to her didn't get that chance and might have wanted it.

Open casket viewing certainly isn't anything new...it just moved from your living room to the funeral home over the last 100 years or so.

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#4705144 - 03/24/18 10:54 AM Re: Social Obligations -- The Funeral Home Visitation [Re: LoneRanger]
SeaJay Offline


Registered: 03/05/15
Posts: 1110
Loc: New York City
I don't like em either. But it is the custom of many people to have an open casket, and it is a custom to visit once for a show of respect. Of course, no one is putting a gun to our heads to go there, it is a personal choice to visit, or not.

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#4705150 - 03/24/18 10:57 AM Re: Social Obligations -- The Funeral Home Visitation [Re: LoneRanger]
CincyDavid Offline


Registered: 03/03/16
Posts: 729
Loc: Cincinnati, OH USA
I've been in the deathcare trade since the 1980s and we have seen a dramatic drop in the number/percentage of full-body interments, vs. memorial svc after cremation in the past decade. I think it's a generational issue, where older folks were accustomed to the "traditional" open-casket viewing as a means of "gaining closure", whatever that means. Keep in mind, you can also have the viewing and cremate AFTER services.

There's a young generation who is content with direct cremation, no ceremony or services. To me, that smacks of Taking out the Trash and isn't very respectful. The whole trade needs to reframe what we do, from the traditional open casket viewing, and come up with something that is relevant and meaningful to the folks who are you g adults now, or we're going to go out of business. Let's treat it as a going-away party or something other than a funeral.

And if you're going to cremated, for heaven's sake at least place the urn someplace like a niche or buried in a grave...we get calls periodically from GoodWill with lovely urns that people dropped off, that are occupied, and they want to know what they can do to dispose of them...
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#4705152 - 03/24/18 11:09 AM Re: Social Obligations -- The Funeral Home Visitation [Re: CincyDavid]
doitmyself Offline


Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 6275
Loc: MI
Originally Posted By: CincyDavid
There's a young generation who is content with direct cremation, no ceremony or services. To me, that smacks of Taking out the Trash and isn't very respectful.


That's an interesting perspective from your side of the fence. Thank you.

I'm in my 60's and have the exact similar thought about the funeral industry. It's disrespectful. My mom prearranged her funeral for over $15,000 dollars that includes all the bells and whistles (fancy coffin, embalming,etc.). I feel that the funeral industry takes advantage of people and has turned the whole event into a mockery similar to the wedding industry.

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#4705155 - 03/24/18 11:18 AM Re: Social Obligations -- The Funeral Home Visitation [Re: LoneRanger]
Vuflanovsky Offline


Registered: 12/15/14
Posts: 1195
Loc: California
In my area, you have the funeral home / cemeteries that represent a known upsell with full retail price structures and you have "disruptive" players ( for lack of a better word ) that are fully accredited mortuaries but undercut the costs of the prep, casket and transport to the cemetery by 50%. My mom was a "Depression baby" to the end and wanted this discounted preparation because she's already pre-paid the plot and vault and didn't want to be, what she thought of as, taken advantage of in her death. I don't doubt that the business model for mortuaries and cemeteries will change in the next decades inclusive of and independent of the popularity of cremation.

The funeral director for the cemetery was telling jokes 30 feet away during my dad's funeral...and I'll never forget that. If that's representative of the "product" they provide, then I can understand why there's the movement away from full service funerals to cremation.


Edited by Vuflanovsky (03/24/18 11:19 AM)

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#4705156 - 03/24/18 11:20 AM Re: Social Obligations -- The Funeral Home Visitation [Re: CincyDavid]
Delta Offline


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 1184
Loc: South Central PA
Originally Posted By: CincyDavid
There's a young generation who is content with direct cremation, no ceremony or services. To me, that smacks of Taking out the Trash and isn't very respectful.


I understand your point, but my grandmother who is in her 80's and my mother who is in her 60's both want cremated with no ceremony or service. Every family is different, we are not your traditional family so to say though.

I personally refuse to go to any funeral with open casket; that is not the last thing I want to remember somebody by.
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#4705157 - 03/24/18 11:20 AM Re: Social Obligations -- The Funeral Home Visitation [Re: LoneRanger]
Reddy45 Offline


Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 3028
Loc: USA
I hear you OP. I can't bring myself to walk up to the casket during the viewing service, so it's a nice word to the family and out the door.

For me it's mostly about holding a visual of that person when they were healthy and vibrant, not pumped full of chemicals and slathered with makeup to look decent. (no disrespect to those in the profession)

Maybe the older generation still likes to do things the traditional way because of how their parents/grandparents had to do it? Seems like way back in the day, if someone in the family died then they were buried on the family's land as soon as possible. So it would have been up to everyone in the family to assist with the burial. Now we pay professionals to handle it from start to end..

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#4705159 - 03/24/18 11:23 AM Re: Social Obligations -- The Funeral Home Visitation [Re: LoneRanger]
clarkflower Offline


Registered: 12/27/11
Posts: 743
Loc: US
As a 5-8 YO child when my grandfather died I was freaked out at the open casket.
When I was old enough to make my own decisions..I just don't go. Didn't have it for my parents and I explain.. I won't do for you what I won't do for my parents. I will do the funeral...but not a wake

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