Is It Important to Have a Public Viewing Before the Funeral?

By: David Tindall
Monday, March 20, 2017

A common ground between many cultures and religion is the use of a public viewing prior to a funeral. A public viewing though, varies in length and timeline based on several different cultures. For some the viewing may happen the day of the service, but for others the viewing may happen the day before the service.

 

A viewing is a chance for friends and family of the deceased to say their final goodbyes. The way in which the viewing or visitation is conducted is up to the family of the deceased and will vary based upon religion, culture or personal wishes. However, in this article with will take a look at the differences between public viewings and visitation and why viewings are important to the service.

 

What is the Difference?

Viewings and visitations may initially seem to have similar on the surface, but they are different. A visitation is a moment for friends and family to meet before the service, but the body of the deceased would not be present. Instead of having the physical body present there are normally many pictures present in the form of a beautiful memorial.

 

A viewing is typically for friends and family to see the body of their loved one a final time to say their goodbyes. A viewing is normally held at a public place, such as the funeral home or church, where the service will be soon following. There would be an open casket where everyone would have a chance to see or touch his or her loved one. There are also private viewings that are set up prior to the public viewing to allow the family to have some private moments together.

 

Why is a Viewing Important?

When considering if a viewing is important for your service, think of the people that are attending the service. In most cases a death is something that is difficult and unexpected, where family and friends have not had a chance to say their goodbyes. By holding a private or public viewing, you are giving people a chance to hold onto their loved ones hands one last time and tell them how much they love them. A viewing is an opportunity for closure and remembrance, to see the face of the one you loved.

 

Although viewings can be a difficult and emotional time, you are surrounded by people that matter and our experiencing similar emotions to yourself. In some circumstances you may think that a public viewing may not be appropriate and you want to keep it private, but there are also many friends and family out there that also need that final chance to say goodbye. They also need that last moment to see them, but also to pay their respects to deceased.

 

However, in some instances a viewing may not be appropriate and it is at your discretion to consider them. Another instance to consider is the importance respecting your loved ones wishes, and if they have asked for there not to be a viewing at the service then it is your role to respect that. In the instances where a viewing is not wanted or is not possible, consider holding a visitation in its place, it can often be a great form of comfort to meet and discuss memories of your loved one.

 

If you have any further questions on the topic, you can contact our funeral directors here at Tindall Funeral Home Inc. 

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