Viewings are a way of spending time with the body of the deceased and the family of the deceased before the funeral service. As with funeral and memorial services, viewings offer the opportunity to support the family in their time of grief and spend time with the family or others grieving.
can i attend the viewing?
Pay special attention to how the announcement of the viewing was worded. If it is an open viewing then most likely the family is leaving the invitation open to anyone who knew the deceased to attend. If the announcement states close family and friends and you have not received an invitation (verbal or written), you should respect their wishes and not attend.
when will the viewing happen?
The viewing could take place a few days before the funeral service at the Funeral home. It could also take place the day of the funeral a few hours before the service is to start, at either the Funeral home or funeral service location.
what happens at the viewing?
The body of the deceased is present for a viewing. You may want to prepare yourself emotionally for this. You should not feel pressured to view the body, and if you are uncomfortable viewing the body then you should consider not doing so. You are under no obligation to view the body if that makes you uncomfortable, but if do, don't linger too long by the casket.
Most times the body is in an open casket in a private room or at the front of the chapel. The casket is located in such a way so that those attending can choose whether or not they want to view the deceased.
The Funeral Home staff will allow the opportunity to the family to view the body first. After the family has had their time, they will allow others to spend time with the deceased. You can do this alone or in a group, whichever makes you feel most comfortable. You may wish to go in with the family, to reminisce about the deceased and to show your support to them.
what to wear.
Dress conservatively. Traditionally people only wore black or dark colors to any funeral events, however that is no longer the case. Your attire should be subdued, unless otherwise requested. The family may ask guests to wear a certain color in honor of the deceased. Take cues from what you know of the deceased and the family to chose your attire. Most importantly, make sure you are comfortable in what you are wearing and that you are not drawing particular attention to yourself.
who to bring with you.
Avoid bringing a guest to the viewing unless it is a partner, spouse or other person who was also close to the family or the deceased. If you have any children, in most cases it is best to leave them at home. Typically only the children, grandchildren or children who are close family attend the viewing. Death can be very hard to understand for children, and unless you decide it is necessary for the child to attend the viewing they should be left at home.
what to say.
If you knew the person who died but not the family, you should be prepared to introduce yourself. Immediately upon arrival offer sympathy to the family and let them know your name and how you knew the deceased. If you are close to the family, you may have more heartfelt words to say. Always keep your voice low and avoid outbursts of crying or laughter. It is acceptable to reminisce about good times with the family, but out of respect to the event keep your mood and voice subdued.
how long do i stay?
First thing is to not show up too early. In most cases the Funeral home staff will not allow you to view the body before the family has had a chance to do so.
If the viewing only states a time (ie. 1pm), then make sure you are not late. If the viewing has a range of time (ie. 1-4pm), then you are free to come anytime during this range within a half an hour before the end time.
Once the family has had a chance to view the deceased, they may invite other guests to view the body with them or give guests a chance to have some time alone with the deceased. Take a few minutes with the deceased but remember not to linger too long as other people will need some time to pay their respects.
What if I cannot attend?
If you're unable to attend the viewing, send a heartfelt note expressing your sympathy to the family. Follow up with flowers or a donation in honor of the deceased.
an unwritten, unspoken contract to keep them alive in our memories.
Death is most often observed by viewings and funerals. Viewings and Funerals are how we who remain pay our respects, say our public goodbyes and let the family see they are not grieving alone. Our being there says to family that those they've lost are not forgotten. A viewing can be a more intimate place to show the family your support and say your goodbyes personally to the deceased.
PRE-PLAN YOUR "DREAM FUNERAL", EVEN IF IT'S 50 YEARS AWAY, AND TELL YOUR FAMILY WHAT YOU WANT.
Planning your own Funeral is not something that you may like to think about. Fact is you are not alone. This is something a lot of people do not do or even think about. They avoid it. But, what happens if you do? Nothing but issues for your loved ones.
By avoiding thinking about or planning for your death you're really giving up your authority over some of the most critical decisions you would ever make in your lifetime, leaving them to be made by relatives who are caught in the emotional turmoil of grief after losing someone they loved.
When you do decide to do the right thing and plan ahead, you are saving your family from so much turmoil and stress that is not needed in an already hard time. That being said, do not feel pressured to plan it down to the last detail, you can still plan a few aspects to make it much smoother for everyone involved.
THE BIGGEST DECISION YOU SHOULD MAKE: BURIAL, CREMATION OR DONATION?
First and foremost; you must decide what you'd like done with your body. You can let your family if you'd like to be buried, cremated or to have your body donated to science. Write it in your Will and put it in your pre-arranged contract. Just let someone know your definite answer to avoid unnecessary stress during an already emotional time. If you don't care what happens to your body, let them know that too.
If you chose burial, you'll need to chose a casket and burial location. If you chose cremation, you'll need to chose a cremation container, dispersement of your cremains or storage of those cremains. If you chose donation, you must research your choices.
finding a funeral director.
Use the services of a Funeral Home that you trust and like and work with their Funeral Director to plan your burial or cremation and funeral or memorial service. The Funeral Home can also help you arrange other good and services required to follow out your wishes. Find a Funeral Director that listens, they are ultimately there to only offer advice.
ways to plan ahead.
There are a variety of ways to pre-plan for your funeral:
It should be noted that at the time of death any prearrangements may be altered by the next of kin or executor. Be sure to let your wishes known so that they can make the best decision for you.
how are you paying for it?
You've arranged and/or planned for your funeral but have you decided on how it will be paid for. Leaving the burden of paying for this service is another added stress that your family does not need during their time of grief. There are a few ways to make sure funds are available for your funeral:
misconceptions and truths.
There are several misconceptions about pre-planning and pre-arranging your funeral. We thought we'd list several here and give you some insight into the truths of each statement.
I'm too young to plan my funeral. I will wait until I'm older.
Truth is - you never know when you will die. Although people avoid thinking about their funeral, it is really just a natural part of planning for your future. There is no golden age as to when it is appropriate to plan, planning ahead can be very helpful. You are ultimately reducing the stress on your family and ensuring the funeral reflects your wishes.
I'm donating my body to science because it's a free way for my family to have my body cremated.
Simple truth is that not all bodies that are donated to science are cremated and returned to the family. In some cases a financial contribution may also be requested for donating a body to science. You should also be aware that not all bodies are accepted. It is best to do your research ahead of time to find the best fit for you and your family. Be sure to tell your next of kin about your wishes and to always carry your signed donor card in your wallet.
If I purchase a pre-need contract with a specific Funeral Home then I will lose the money if I chose to go somewhere else.
Firstly, a Funeral home must be licensed to sell pre-need contracts and are bound to rules and regulations when selling these contracts. If you change your mind after signing and receiving a copy of the contract, you have 30 days to cancel it without charge or penalty. You can still cancel after the 30-day period and the Funeral Home may only charge you a small administrative fee that must be stated in the original contract. If your family wants to use another Funeral Home at the time of your death, they are able to withdrawal the funds also again following the same rules above.
I'm concerned the Funeral Home from which I purchase my pre-need contract will take off with my money.
When you enter into a pre-need contract with a Funeral Home, they must deposit the money you pay into a trust account. Your contract will tell you where the trust account is located. Your funds can only be pulled with your permission upon cancellation or at time of need.
I have Life Insurance so I don't need to pre-pay my Funeral plans.
There are a few issues with this statement.
Life Insurance payouts are dependent on the cause of death. In some cases, based on the cause of death your insurance will not pay out at all. If you are required to be examined by a Medical Examiner the insurance company will require a copy of the Medical Examiners report - which can take anywhere from six to nine months - before they will pay out.
I don't have enough money to pre-pay my pre-need contract so I will wait until I do.
Truth is - you don't have to pay it all out at once. You can work out a payment plan with the Funeral Home that best suits your financial situation. For your pre-need contract to stay valid when the time of need comes, you will need to pay out the balance in full before any services are rendered.
plan with us.
Pre-planning your funeral may seem overwhelming but planning ahead can be a rewarding experience that can offer peace of mind. Our promise is to make it as easy and as stress free as possible. We will walk you through it every step of the way.
If you are ready to make this very important decision please contact us to arrange a free consultation to discuss your options.
as more and more people chose to live outside the box, they are choosing to die that way too.
When a loved one is cremated, there are many options for honoring the life of the individual in the storage or disposition of their remains.
How one person chooses to have their remains handled may be strange to another, but in the end, it is a personal thing. Here is a list of some the most unique and typical ways to disperse or store yours or your loved ones cremains (cremated remains).
Scattering has quickly become a most popular choice for dispersement of cremains. The location you choose for scattering cremains may be limited by law, so ensure you check the local laws for the regulations governing that area. Popular locations for scattering cremains are rivers, ponds, golf courses, gardens, flower beds, mountains, oceans, etc. Choose a location that meant something to the person who's remains you will be spreading.
Burial is another popular option for interring your remains. Unlike a traditional burial of a casket, burying an urn can be much cheaper. Plot sites for urns are in most cases cheaper, or in some cases most plots can accommodate more than one urn. With burial, the remains are accessible to everyone to visit.
While a mausoleum is a building for a body to be laid to rest, a columbarium is for cremated remains to be stored. Again if you want to allow family and friends the freedom to visit, a columbarium is a great choice.
There are two options when considering your home or family land as the final resting place for your remains. You can choose to store them in an urn in the residence or bury them on the property. When choosing burial, make sure to check with local bylaws as some areas will allow scattering but not burial. If nothing else, storing your loved ones cremains in an urn gives you more time to think about your other options and decide which one will work best for you.
planted as a tree.
We have found several websites offering Memorial Tree Urns, so we will only highlight two:
Urns Northwest has an entire section dedicated to Memorial Tree Urns. They are affordably priced and offer a large variety of trees to choose from. The have a chart that guides you to choosing a tree correct for the zone where you will be planting it.
Bio Urns also offers biodegradable urns that incorporate your cremains and turn them into trees. They have six choices of trees but also offer a seedless option so that you can add in your own seed. Something different about them is they also offer a Bio Incube that allows you to grow indoors.
Several companies offer memorial cremation jewelry. Here at Celebrate Life we work very closely with two companies who offer quite a variety of memorial jewelry.
launched into space.
What is cooler than living out a childhood dream and having your ashes launched into space? Celestis offers a few different packages to live out your dream after you are gone.
We were hard pressed to find a Canadian company that offers this service - if you come across one please let us know. Heavenly Stars Fireworks is located in the UK but has a Self-Fire Tribute Firework. You simply send them your loved one cremains and they make them into fireworks. They have several packages to choose from.
in helium baloons.
This was another dispersion method that we could not find a Canadian company that offers this service. Eternal Ascent has patented a release method that ensures the balloon reaches a high enough altitude for the balloon to crystalize, shatter and release the ashes. If you are wanting to release your remains in and around Florida, this company is for you. I would not suggest attempting this on your own as every year balloons are released and cause a great amount of garbage and harm to wildlife.
as a coral reef.
A company called Eternal Reefs is helping regrow the coral reefs by creating cement structures that the coral can attach itself to. Your cremains are mixed with the cement to create the form onto which the coral can attach itself to. Their memorials are customizable and they offer a unique ceremony to go hand and hand with their monuments.
put into an hourglass.
As a nice alternative to a traditional urn - In The Light Urns offers a Hourglass Keepsake urn that would most definitely be a nice mantle piece. Although this urn will not hold your full cremains, it is a nice piece for family members to use when the cremains have been separated amongst each other.
as a diamond.
Heart in Diamond offer the service of having some of the cremains of a loved one made into a certified diamond. They offer several different colors, carat sizes and gem cuts, that you can put into a piece of jewelry or on display.
mixed with paint to create a masterpiece.
Now a painting of your late Grandmother can be made from your late Grandmother. Several artists can incorporate your remains into the paint to create a one-of-a-kind painting. We couldn't find any Canadian companies that offered this service but there were several in the US when we googled Cremation Portraits.
put into a teddy bear.
The Cami Bear can offer a more cuddly urn. These bears will hold a small portion of your cremains. This is a wonderful option for those who just want to hold onto their loved one.
Have a unique piece of art made from your cremains. Eternitys Touch mentioned above has their Eternal Ash collection that features blown glass art that can be incorporated into your home or office. The subtle reminder of your loved one when you look at these keepsakes. Another company that offers a similar keepsake is:
Celebration Ashes - from their galaxy globes to their giant hearts. The Going Home collection is our favorite.
put into a vinyl record.
This Uk based shop will have your ashes pressed into a set of vinyl records. You pick the artwork and the music. You can even have a spoken word recording to leave as a final message for your loved ones.
Commemorative tattoos don't just honor the deceased - sometimes they are made of them. Tattoo artists can sterilize cremains and then mix them with tattoo ink. Creating a memorial tattoo that does more than just symbolize a lost loved one.
Losing a loved one is a gut-wrenching experience and it can be difficult to figure out the right way to remember them and honor their last wishes. If possible, take some time after the initial shock subsides to create a plan that's as outside of the box as the person you are remembering. Even better, take the time to discuss with your family what your wishes would be when it comes to the disposition of your cremains.
We at Celebrate Life have a Pre-Planning package that touches on this subject. Come in anytime and take one home or sit down to chat about your funeral needs.