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The Loss of A Loved One

 

by Karl Wenzel

The death of a family member is by far one of the most traumatic, life altering experiences a family will ever confront. Whether it is your father, mother, brother, sister, or a parent’s worst nightmare, their child, this day will change your family forever.

When a death occurs in a family, there is a great deal of confusion and uncertainty about what needs to be done to honour the life of your loved one. Family and friends, business associates, and neighbours, will all begin to grieve this death in their own way.

Despite everyone else this is your time, for you and your family to not only grieve but to make very difficult decisions about what needs to be done involving your local funeral home. These difficult decisions will, however, help you and your family and friends begin the process of working through the grief.

Accepting the reality of the loss of your loved one is often assisted by viewing your family member at a funeral home or church. Whether you choose burial or cremation as a final disposition, the decision whether to view the body or leave the casket closed may be the most difficult. Medical intervention and life support mechanisms often create drastic physical changes to the appearance of the facial features. In some situations, the abnormal appearance is to the degree that they no longer resemble their past self. If the death is due to a tragic event, families may assume that viewing is not possible. Occasionally family members are ill informed by law enforcement agencies, coroners or physicians that viewing is not advisable. Families may fear the unknown regarding the appearance of their loved one. Rather than relying on the recommendations of these individuals a careful consultation with a funeral professional should be considered. Your local funeral home may employ an embalmer that specializes in post mortem reconstructive surgery to allow for open casket viewing.

Viewing your family member is the most important and personalized aspect of a funeral ritual. It is not uncommon to hear people who have attended closed casket funerals make comments like “I can’t believe they died, it doesn’t seem real” often this is due to uncertainty in their own minds. They are uncertain because they have not had the opportunity to visualize. They know the death has occurred but something inside their mind doesn’t want to believe it. We need to remember one fact and that is “seeing is believing”. When a child goes missing or a tragic disaster occurs what is the first thing that authorities attempt to do? Recovery of the human body is always the first priority, alive or dead. This is because reality of a death is often confirmed in the mind by seeing the body. It is comforting and necessary to have a period of time to adjust to the fact that your loved one has died. We need this time to say our good-byes face to face.

Family members and friends need a time to begin the transition from their life with the loved one into their new life that is now without the presence of their loved one. Open casket viewing can be valuable to help families begin this transition during the grieving process.

For most families this will be their first time arranging a funeral for a family member. What they may not know is that even following a lengthy illness or a traumatic death an open casket or private family viewing is often possible. In such cases a professional embalmer may need to restore lost or damaged features through reconstructive techniques. In severe cases a procedure referred to as post mortem surgical reconstruction may be necessary. In some situations this may exceed the skill set of your local embalmer. In situations like this you may request your local funeral home to contact an outside embalmer that specializes in these skills.

You have chosen your local funeral home in most cases because of one reason…TRUST….you trust the establishment to handle and care for your loved one in the most professional manner possible. You know they will do everything they can to assist you in honouring your family member’s life. Ask your funeral director during your funeral arrangements about viewing your loved one before cremation or burial.

 

“The eyes of the dead must be gently closed and the eyes of the living must be gently opened” – Jan Brugler

 

8 Princes' Street West, Fenelon Falls, ON K0M 1N0
Phone: (705) 887-3130 | Toll Free: 1-866-453-9277 | Fax: (705) 887-3262 | Email: admin@jardinefuneralhome.com