A funeral visitation is important not only for memorializing and honoring a loved one but also for grieving. Grief counselors like Dr. Alan Wolfelt stress the value of having visitations for those who are grieving because they help them accept the reality of the death and begin to develop a new self-identity.
Let’s discuss why visitations are important and how families can make them personalized, meaningful experiences.
Why Are Visitations Important?
As we mentioned above, a visitation helps those who are grieving accept the reality of the death. By viewing the body, it helps us understand that our loved one is no longer physically with us — which begins the development of a new self-identity. We need to learn how to live in a world without the deceased and find ways to honor their memory.
But we don’t have to do this alone. A visitation is a place for those who are grieving to gather and support each other in their grief journeys. Although everyone is connected to the deceased in different ways, they can come together to share stories and memories. Everyone can learn something new about the deceased and let their memory live on after death.
What Happens at Visitations?
At a visitation, mourners come to express their sympathy and pay their respects to the deceased. After expressing condolences to the family and signing the funeral register book, typically there are photos, tribute videos, and/or memorabilia displays to view. If you’re comfortable, the visitation also is an opportunity to view the body — unless it’s a closed casket.
Along with verbally sharing memories of the deceased, sometimes families have a memory book or box for writing down memories. This way, they can look back and read the memories after the funeral service or whenever they wish. If there isn’t a memory book or box, there may be an online Tribute Wall for you to share your memories.
How Can You Personalize Visitations?
The visitation is a chance to let the deceased’s personality shine. Through creative memorial displays and personal touches, the visitation can be a meaningful experience for those who are grieving.
Below are just a few of many ways to personalize and add meaning to a visitation:
- Create memorabilia displays to show the deceased’s hobbies, collections, and prized possessions.
- Choose one of the deceased’s favorite outfits as their clothing for the viewing. Also, family members who are comfortable with it can help dress the deceased.
- Display the deceased’s favorite flowers.
- Have the visitation in a significant location that was special to the deceased, such as a local park or beach.
- Play the deceased’s favorite music.
What unique ideas do you have for personalizing a visitation? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!