There comes that time in every person’s life where they need to attend a funeral. As part of the service, the grieving family may schedule a viewing, during which those close to the loved one can pay their last respects. If you’re expecting to attend a funeral viewing, you should have an idea of what to expect and the proper etiquette. Here are the basics.
What Is a Funeral Viewing?
An invitation to a viewing allows invitees to see the deceased one last time before burial or cremation. Viewings can last for several hours, or even days, so as many people as possible get a chance to say their goodbyes. Immediate and extended family are often present. Formal attire is expected, but even if it isn’t, it’s better to overdress than under-dress to show respect for the deceased and their family.
Funeral Viewing Etiquette
A viewing can bring about strong emotions, making it difficult and even uncomfortable to be in attendance. Though the body may be in the same room, don’t feel obligated to look at and spend time with it. If you do, don’t encroach on someone else’s time. If there is another person at the casket, wait quietly nearby until they are finished.
If you knew the deceased personally, you might find yourself thinking up past memories. Allow yourself to experience the emotions that come up, but also be mindful of others who may want some time with the lost loved one as well. Allow yourself a minute or two with the body, and then move on.
Specific religious rituals don’t often take place during a viewing; however, there may be prayers or parting words spoken during the session. Because it lasts for a few hours, you shouldn’t feel obligated to stay for the entire time. It simply gives you a chance to provide your sympathy, show your respect, and say your goodbyes.
If you’re looking for a dedicated team of compassionate professionals to help you plan a viewing, contact Fred D. Knapp & Son Funeral Home. Based in Greenwich, CT, this family-owned and -operated funeral home has been providing a variety of compassionate services since 1846, including help with burials, cremations, and preplanning. Call (203) 869-0315 to speak with a representative or visit them online for more information.