To Close the Casket or Not

Originally posted on March 5, 2019.

Having the ability to view a loved one’s form in their open casket is far more tangible even if you cannot touch them. The final viewing, the final silent words and the finality of it all impresses upon one’s memory for the remainder of their days. For those families whom are able to provide an open casket during the viewing and the ceremony, the closure is irreplaceable.

Even though, there are reasons families choose a closed casket and some don’t have the option at all. A closed casket viewing may occur if the loved one’s features have been altered or are unrecognizable due to the manner in which they may have passed. Not many families will choose to have an open casket in such a condition. Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie Till, was a rare case. She opted for an open casket ceremony so the world would not forget Emmett’s disfigured body. “She felt that in order for his life not to be in vain, that she needed to use that moment to illuminate all of the dark corners of America and help push America toward what we now call the Civil Rights Movement.”

For some families, they would prefer to remember their loved one as they were before death. Our memories are a strong part of our being and we like to have control over how and what we carry with us, in the form of memories.

Whether you choose a closed casket viewing for religious reasons or even to provide a shorter service for your family…the choice is mostly yours. If you find that you are having a hard time making the decision during the difficult time, your funeral directors are there to make the day as easy for you and your family as they possibly can. If you need further assistance, Hayes Brothers Funeral Homes is always willing to service.

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