Is an Open Casket Service the Best Choice for Your Loved One's Funeral?


Regret is a perfectly natural feeling when a loved one passes away. Regret that they're no longer with you, and perhaps regret that you didn't have a chance to say a final goodbye. It's this notion of a final goodbye, of seeing them one last time, that might make you wonder whether their funeral should be an open casket service. But is the best course of action for your loved one's service? There are a few matters that need to be considered.

Their Wishes

Your loved one might have directly stated their preference in their will, or in the instructions given to you before their passing. This can simplify the matter, although you might have grounds to overrule their wishes (which will be discussed shortly). If no such wishes were stipulated, and the decision rests solely on your shoulders, you might simply feel that it will be too traumatic for you and the other mourners to actually see your loved one's body, instead wishing their presence to be represented by a portrait-size photograph in the private funeral chapel during the service. 

Their Appearance

The manner in which your loved one died will play a role as to the appropriateness of an open casket service, even to the point of you making the decision to veto their preference (if such a preference was stated). A long illness might have significantly altered your loved one's appearance, perhaps due to considerable weight loss as the illness progressed. Death arising from a traumatic injury might also make it problematic to consider an open casket service. The staff at the funeral home have the ability to restore a body for an open casket funeral, and yet their abilities have limits.

Embalming and Cremation

Though not necessarily a legal requirement, your loved one's body might need to be embalmed to permit an open casket funeral. This is generally the case when the body is to be stored without refrigeration. And yet embalming can be a necessary preservative measure for an open casket service. This can increase the cost of the funeral, and if your loved one is to be cremated, you might feel that it's an unnecessary measure, particularly if you still have reservations about an open casket service.

If you're still not certain about an open casket funeral, even if you've been tasked with making the arrangements, you can of course discuss the matter with family and friends of your loved one, and your chosen funeral director will be able to answer any further questions you might have.


22 August 2019

Organising a funeral for teenagers

It's incredibly hard to plan a funeral for teenagers. They should have their whole life ahead of them, and even if they have had a terminal diagnosis, often their parents cannot believe that they could actually be gone. When my niece passed away, I worked with her friends to make sure that the funeral worked for them and gave them a chance to grieve as well. It was great to see how much impact my niece had made on the world in such a short time, with her friends and family coming together to pay tribute to the beautiful young woman she had been. This blog has tips for other people planning funerals for teens.