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Funerals--What You Need to Know

  When a person dies, we acknowledge his or her passing by holding a funeral, which is the traditional way in this country to honor and pay last respects to a dear departed. A call is made to a funeral home, which takes care of removing the body, often from a nursing home, hospital or hospice.

The body is prepared-embalmed, dressed and ready for viewing. For some families, viewing is imperative. Says author Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, "It is important that the family can view the body before the funeral in order to prevent any late denial of death." A brief ceremony is usually held at the funeral home, then continued at the church- with hymns, scripture readings, short sermon, and sometimes eulogy.

A procession to the cemetery follows (for either ground or above-ground burial in a mausoleum or crypt) and concludes with a brief graveside service. Afterwards it is customary for friends and other mourners to gather at the family home for more expressions of sympathy.

For many, having this whole ceremony with viewing is beneficial. "They need to see the body of their loved one, be close to it," says funeral director Fares J. Radel. "It also provides closure and makes them realize that indeed a life has ended." And that life lived is celebrated when you hold a funeral.

"It's a coming together of families, sort of a reunion to honor the deceased," offers one Cincinnati, Ohio, funeral director. Funerals, in whatever form, are beneficial to the survivors not only as a reminder of their mortality, but also for making easier accepting the loss and moving on with life.

 

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