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From Visitation to Funeral Service to Burial
One could almost write a course on funerals, and call it Funeral 101. Of course, no such course exists, but if it did, what would be some of the key components?
Funeral 101 would likely be divided into 3 parts, visitation, funeral service, and burial.
Funeral 101 would first discuss what to do when it comes to visitation. Along those lines, is it is generally best to view the body of the deceased within 2 - 3 days before the funeral service. Some opt to have the visitation the night before the funeral.
This lecture in Funeral 101 would also emphasize what manner of dress the deceased should be buried in. A bit of advice, given that since this is a celebration of the departed’s life, you may want to seriously consider finding clothes that were emblematic of his/her personality. Did your loved one often wear elaborate ties? Why not bury him in one? Or was she a modest dresser? Surely you would want to dress her modestly then as you and your loved ones look upon her for the last time.
In this lecture, Funeral 101 would also discuss embalming, a process said to preserve the appearance of the departed after they are buried. Arguments for and against the practice would be discussed, such as whether it is necessary, if it can aid the sanitation process.
You would also consider in this section of Funeral 101 whether one should bring flowers. In most cultures, this is expected, however Funeral 101 will address how it is frowned upon at Jewish funerals.
In the next lecture of Funeral 101, the funeral service will be addressed. To that end, the question of whether to have an opened or closed casket will be discussed. In American culture, especially with African American funerals, an open casket is quite common. It should however be left up to your discretion. This section of Funeral 101 will also consider the options of where to have the funeral. Some choose a church or religious establishment, others opt for a funeral home, and still others go with a graveside service. There is no right or wrong answer in this regard. For those who decide upon a service at a church or religious establishment, the subjects of flowers, hearses, limousine rates, and hiring musical accompaniment such as bagpipes would also be discussed.
This part of Funeral 101 would also address the issue of designing a leaflet and writing an obituary. It is possible with some newspapers to have a professional writer construct the obituary, but since you knew your loved one better, this section would address how you could write a better one. Your creativity will be put to the test, and hopefully, you’ll walk away with a clear picture of what you want to say even if you do not consider yourself a great writer.
This brings Funeral 101 finally to its last lecture, burial. You will consider in this lecture the subjects of which headstones to purchase, as well as whether to get a monument, bench, garden, or vault. Other topics of discussion in this lecture would be whether or not to get an urn, and alternatives to burial, such as spreading your loved one’s ashes, or donating your loved one’s body to science.
Funeral 101 would do its best to answer any questions that you may have with regards to the visitation, the funeral service, and burial.