What is a Funeral Visitation?
In this video today we’re going to go over funerals. There are only two certainties in life it’s said. Death and taxes. When we deal with death, something that happens to all of us, at least in the Western world we tend to think in terms of funerals. Funerals can be broken down essentially into three steps or phases.
The first phase of the funeral process is the visitation. At this stage friends and family gather a day or two prior to the funeral to pay their last respects and to grieve and greet one another. I went to my first visitation as an adult. I’d never been to one as a child, I had no idea what to expect.
As I thought about it I assumed that there would be a great deal of sorrow, crying, it would be a very quiet affair. A lot of grief over the loss of a loved one and I was surprised to find there was a great deal of joking, and laughter, and handshakes, and hugging, and and this sort of thing.
There was grief, and sorrow, and crying, but there was also a great deal of joy. As I thought about it I realized, that though these people were sorrowful over the loss of their loved one, that funeral or that death, had brought people together who had not seen each other in quite some time and provided the venue and opportunity for them to reacquaint themselves and to renew their friendships and express their love for each other.
Of course it would involve not only tears and sorrow but also laughter and joy hugs and this sort of thing. Visitation is a very important part of saying goodbye to our loved ones as people are drawn together, not only by the death of this loved one, but their bonds of friendship or family to one another during this time.
The visitation usually occurs a couple of days prior to the funeral. It will either be an open or closed casket affair. Some people prefer the open casket because it allows family and friends and loved ones to come by and view the deceased.
It’s not at all unusual to see people standing near the open casket where the deceased person is, talking, and laughing, and joking, and that sort of thing. Some prefer a closed casket during this time either because of the state the body is in at death or just for their own personal reasons.
Usually, the body in a casket is in the room where the visitation is taking place. That’s the first phase. Second phase then, is the funeral itself. On the given day, at the given time, people will once again gather at a particular place to say goodbye.
Now, depending on who they are, their culture, their background, their faith, things like this; it takes different forms. There might be a funeral service organizer who does just a generic service. There might be a pastor, or a priest, or whatever their religious faith is who will then lead that time.
It includes things like eulogies. Eulogies, the word, literally means good words. These are people who stand up and express and say things about the deceased. Usually good things. They have reminiscence and they bring up memories, and stories, and things like this to talk about the person that’s left to help them say goodbye.
Along with these eulogies, or good words about the person, will include Bible or religious readings from whatever faith they have that are related to the passing or death of someone. Prayers, singing of hymns, favorite songs, things like this that remind them of the deceased person and help them say goodbye.
Now, some might think that after the funeral that’s it, but there’s one final phase. A step in this process. It’s the burial. At the burial then, sometimes but not always, the people will leave the place the funerals taking place and go to the cemetery or the place where the ashes are going to be scattered or whatever form it takes and there they will have a burial or committal service.
They don’t always have a service sometimes they just gather and say goodbye and talk again. Other times there’s more prayers more readings things like this. It depends on the people, but the third phase is the burial phase. You’ve got the visitation, the funeral, and the burial. These are the three distinct phases and they all work together to help people friends family loved ones say goodbye to those that have died.