One of the biggest miscommunications about Cremation is that you cannot have a viewing prior to being cremated. Over the years having a viewing and a cremation has become a popular choice for families.
what is a viewing?
Quite literally, a viewing provides an opportunity for family and friends to "view" the deceased and pay their final respects. A viewing happens after the deceased has been prepared by a funeral home. Preparation can vary from minimal cosmetics, feature setting and dressing to an actual embalming.
Many authorities consider a viewing important to the grieving process as it gives a chance to say goodbye on a personal level. It typically occurs a day or two before the funeral service and it focuses on the importance of being physically close to the body of your loved one.
One of the biggest misconceptions about viewings and cremation is the embalming. Many people believe that you are not able to cremate an embalmed body because of the chemicals. That is not true.
Another misconception is that you must embalm the body to have a viewing. If the viewing is to take place shortly after death (within 24 hours) the body does not need to be embalmed. The Funeral Director will simply perform minimal preparations for the viewing.
what about the casket?
Another important question when considering a viewing before a cremation is the casket. Why spend so much money on something that will be cremated with the deceased. The simple answer is that it does not need to be expensive.
Most Funeral Homes - like Celebrate Life - offer rental caskets. This way you can rent a casket for the viewing and do not have to spend a ton of money. Our rental caskets are seen below and cost $700 and $725 to rent respectively. The fabric insert is removed and cremated with your loved one.
You may also choose to purchase a casket for your loved one to be cremated in and that is ok too. There is a wide range of cremation caskets for you to choose from.
People wonder what happens to the body after a viewing. If a rental casket was used, the body and casket lining are transferred to a cardboard cremation container. If the casket is to be cremated also it is sealed closed. The deceased is taken to the crematorium to be cremated for the funeral service. The process takes about four to five hours.
The cremains are then placed in an urn. A service takes place, typically followed by a reception and burial (not necessarily in that order).
Some people choose to do an urn visitation - which usually takes place at the end of the service. The urn is placed on a stand in a private room. Loved ones then have the chance to say their final goodbyes and pay their respects before the urn is buried.