Funerals tend to be very spiritual in nature and are generally dependent on the deceased’s cultural and religious background. The customs and practices may vary from place to place even for similar religions. Regardless of these differences, funerals are usually structured in a similar manner consisting of three distinctive stages: a beginning, middle, and an end. Each stage is intended to engage living participants to acknowledge a major change has occurred for the deceased and all involved, and to provide an opportunity for mourners to collectively grieve.
A typical funeral would include:
Often termed as a “viewing” or more commonly, a “wake”, this is when guests come to pay their respects to the deceased whose body is presented in a formal setting at home or a funeral parlour either in a closed or open casket. Visitations can occur any time before the funeral service and can last for days. It is also an opportunity for guests to offer their support for the bereft family by spending time with them.
This event is the culmination of the visitation period when the final religious and ceremonial rites are performed in preparation for the deceased’s final journey. Depending on religious and cultural practices, it can take place at home, the funeral parlour, a place of worship or at the grave site.
Committal or Interment Service
The final stage of the funeral, the committal or interment service involves the procession bearing the remains of the deceased to the final resting place of choice. If burial is chosen, this typically placing or entombing the casket in a cemetery or memorial park. If cremation is the choice, the remains are cremated at a crematorium with the ashes collected in an urn for scattering or interment in a columbarium.
The funeral is an important step in grieving and coming to terms with the passing of a loved one. In some ways, it can be more important for those left behind than the one who has passed. A sensitive and professional bereavement care provider will work closely with the bereft family towards achieving this aim. A well-arranged funeral not only celebrates the life of the person who has passed, but also provides proper closure for grieving families.