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04 March 2010 @ 07:49 pm
Customs around death  
I suppose it all depends on what you grow up with, but I find open-casket viewings creepy as hell.
saoba on March 5th, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
I dislike them.

To put it mildly.

Johnjohnpalmer on March 5th, 2010 01:09 am (UTC)
Seeing my grandmother in an open casket certainly hammered home that *she* wasn't there any more. But it was pretty morbid.
Xiphias Gladiusxiphias on March 5th, 2010 01:29 am (UTC)
As a Jew, it's Not My Thing.

It's fine for them what wants it. Because, as I understand it, in most traditions, it's not REQUIRED to go. You're allowed to just show up at the graveside to pay your respects. Which is what I'd do. 'Cause I don't really need to see the empty shell that used to be part of my friend/loved one. I can just pay my respects at the grave. Knowing that shell is there is just fine by me -- I don't need to actually SEE it.
siliconshaman on March 5th, 2010 01:36 am (UTC)
Agreed. Granted bodies don't bother me, but having worked in a mortuary I know what a corpse looks like... and the way the funeral homes paint up the deceased to look more alive kind of creeps me out.

I know I'm looking at artifice masquerading as life, and it's kinda icky.
I'm a mockereusashead on March 5th, 2010 02:38 am (UTC)
Moi aussi.

I suppose I grew up with them, in that both my maternal grandparents died when I was in my teens and they both had open-casket funerals. My mom died when I was 22 after she'd had cancer for 2 years, and I was like NO. Put her in a pretty box with flowers on top, sure, but no looky-looky. (It might have been her wish as well; I don't remember.) Anyone who wanted to see her could have seen her when she was alive; they had enough notice.
Arthur and Kevin's Nellorat: blake_experience_mourningnellorat on March 5th, 2010 03:05 am (UTC)
Sometimes I get psychological value out of viewing the mortal remains, while other times I'm happy not. It depends on a lot of things, including how hard or easy it is for me to make the death real to myself & how ravaged the person was by the final stages.

Now KISSING the corpse is a tradition for some but seems creepy to me.
starcat_jewelstarcat_jewel on March 5th, 2010 03:08 am (UTC)
Hear, hear! Why do I want to look at the cast-aside? It's not the person any more.

(One more thing to make sure gets into my Final Instructions packet...)
Bladerunnerbldrnrpdx on March 5th, 2010 03:14 am (UTC)
I saw my mom's body as they covered her up and wheeled her out of the home. That was quite enough for me.
fatcookfatcook on March 5th, 2010 03:31 am (UTC)
Oh, its beyond creepy. It's down right terrifying for me!
I CANNOT deal with dead bodies.
The Broad Majestic Shannonms_interpret on March 6th, 2010 02:45 am (UTC)
DITTO! They asked at the funeral home if we wanted to see Dad for one last time before his body went off to the crematorium. I damn near shouted "NO!" at them. Mom and my brother went. *shudder*
Skye: bluebonnetspagawne on March 5th, 2010 04:19 am (UTC)
Sometimes it makes it a bit easier to realize they the Person is no longer there. Open casket funerals on the other hand, no thank you.
margdean56margdean56 on March 5th, 2010 04:43 am (UTC)
I've been to them and can handle it, but OTOH I know that the preference of my immediate family is the other way.
tassie_galtassie_gal on March 5th, 2010 04:51 am (UTC)
ICK ICK ICK. Saying goodbye to my dad minutes after he passed was bad enough - there was still something of "him" there...though nearly a year later I am still having flashbacks and bad dreams about it.
As for open casket funerals...WHY??? dear lord WHY???
Missybkwrrm_tx on March 5th, 2010 05:51 am (UTC)
When they had the viewing for my mom, and I saw her, I almost cried. A woman who never wore makeup, except occasionally some red lipstick, looked like a clown.

I'm never doing that.
laurareylaurarey on March 5th, 2010 02:41 pm (UTC)
Having conducted a few funerals, I find that traditions in the Southern U.S. typically include a viewing time before the funeral. We always closed the casket lid before we started the actual service.
hedwig5221hedwig5221 on March 5th, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC)
I don't do funerals well at all and I've been to two in the past week (good to see you last night!). I don't like open casket funerals...yes, they are creepy. Personally, I would rather just go to a memorial celebrating the persons life about 2 weeks after the burial. I don't know what it is about the South...very creepy indeed.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on March 5th, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
I have another one Saturday -- the father of one of my coworkers passed on Friday last. I don't know if anyone else from the department is going; I'm going so we'll have a presence there and because this coworker is someone I like.

My family tradition is a memorial service within the week, but it's just a memorial, no casket or body present. Then afterward we go back to someone's house and eat, drink, and make merry, remembering them. Like prophet_marcus says, some tears here and there, but no wailing or collapsing in hysterics.
Tom the Alien Cattomtac on March 6th, 2010 02:25 pm (UTC)
It depends. It really does depend.

What I would -like- to have is the requirement that every child/person's personality be taken into account, and appropriate preparation or waivers be issued. ... (Look, did you ever read "The Three Faces of Eve"? It seems to lay the blame for that woman's shattered personality on having to attend her grandmother's wake, and her parents forcing her to actually touch the body. (iirc) )

Instead, people pretty much just inflict their customs on their children and friends willy-nilly, and there's no thought to the process.

I remember my grandmother's wake. I was about ten and she looked like a melting pile of wax. I wasn't traumatized only because it was my first wake and I thought everyone would look like that when dead. The mortician should have been sued.

Two examples of "good" open caskets:

1) I watched my grandfather wither and die of cancer when I was about seventeen. He looked terrible the last time I saw him. So I really did not want to go to the open casket wake because I figured he would look even worse. ... But it was okay, really, because -this- mortician made him look heroic as hell in his Fire Department Fire Captain uniform and managed to hide the effects of the cancer on his body. All the firefighters that attended talked about how great he was. And -that- is how I've remembered him since.

2) This other is manipulative, I know, in that the wake really -should- have been disturbing. A small child had squirmed out of his older sister's hand because he wanted to run across a busy street. The result was an open-casket wake for a boy of about seven. Naturally, all the children that were taken there were spooked by it, as well they should be. Sort of saying "see what happens when you don't listen?" without having to say it.

It depends. One really shouldn't push the noses of children into mortality without being there for them, to explain it.
Maggiesillymagpie on March 7th, 2010 08:58 am (UTC)
I think they're pretty creepy, too. :/