It is the customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are recognized rituals for the living, to show respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grief process.
What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are service professionals, both caregivers and administrators. When a death occurs, the funeral director will transport the body to the funeral home, embalm the body as required or requested, sanitize the body, and stay in contact with the family. The funeral director will meet with the family to arrange the visitation and funeral service; contact the clergy, church, or cemetery; assist in creating an obituary; gather data for the death certificate; fill out the necessary paperwork for the government and military, as applicable; assist the family with filing insurance claims; and make any other arrangements the family requests.
Why have a public viewing?
Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity voluntary.
Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone dies of communicable diseases?
Yes, a person who dies of a communicable disease is entitled to the same service options afforded to anyone else. If public viewing is consistent with local or personal customs, that option is encouraged. Touching the deceased’s face or hands is perfectly safe.
What is a disposition?
Final disposition means the entombment, burial in a cemetery, or cremation of a dead human body.
Isn’t burial space becoming scarce?
While it is true that some metropolitan areas have limited available cemetery space, in most areas of the country there is enough space set aside for the next 200 years without creating new cemeteries. In addition, land available for new cemeteries is more than adequate, especially with the increase in entombment and multi-level grave burial.
What are some funeral service options?
Visitation the night before, body present in a casket, church service next day, earth burial
Visitation day of funeral, body present in a casket, church service same day, earth burial
Visitation day before or day of, body present in casket, church service, cremation, burial, or scattering at a later date
Cremation, visitation, church service or memorial, burial/scatter/retain ashes
Cremation, memorial service at the funeral home, burial/scatter/retain ashes
Cremation, burial / scatter / retain ashes
Immediate burial with no service
Immediate cremation with no service
What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, slows the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.
Does a body have to be embalmed?
Embalming is not required except if burial or cremation does not take place within 48 hours of death or if the deceased had certain communicable diseases. Further, a funeral home normally requires and has the right to require embalming if a public visitation is planned. Additionally, common carrier regulations usually require embalming as a condition for the transportation.