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A Guide To Closed Casket, Open Casket, And Memorial Viewings

  • On February 6, 2023

Having a viewing is often part of the funeral and cremation services in Pittsburgh, PA. Viewing is also called wakes or visitation depending on the circumstances. What they all have in common is that they are events where family and friends can view the body of their loved one and pay their last respects. Here are the different types of viewings.

Viewings With A Closed Casket

The family members and the attendees only see the closed casket, not their loved ones. People choose this option for a variety of reasons. For instance, the condition of the deceased’s body may make it necessary for viewing with a closed casket. This may happen in situations where the deceased cause of death was a traumatic event such as an accident or a severe kind of illness. By leaving the casket closed, the family members can remember and honor their loved ones in a way that feels comfortable to them. Religion is also a reason why people prefer closed casket viewings. In some instances, there is nobody in the casket.

Viewing With An Open Casket

In a viewing with an open casket, the casket’s lid is left open so that everyone can view the deceased. These viewings can be held at a mortuary, or funeral home and may be open to the public or by invitation only. People choose open casket viewings for closure or to get to see their deceased kin one last time before burial or cremation. But open casket viewings are not for everyone even in situations where the deceased did not suffer a traumatic death. Open casket viewings often take place a week or a few days after the death so that the funeral home does not have to preserve the body for too long.

Makeup Used To Make The Person Look Alive

You can only see the upper half of the deceased’s body during a viewing. Before the viewing, the mortician washes embalms and prepares the body for viewing. The goal is to make the deceased appear as they did when they were alive. So, it’s not unusual for the mortician to use make-up, moisturizer, and even nail polish in some instances. They also take care of the hair using the deceased person’s old photos as a reference. All this is done to make it easier for the surviving family members when they see their loved one in a casket.

Protocols For Open And Closed Casket Viewing

For open casket viewings family members are often given private time to view the body to allow them to grieve. Generally, you are not allowed to touch the body or make any comments about the person’s appearance. For closed casket viewings, people are expected to show respect when they approach the casket even if they cannot see the body.

When you come to us for funeral and cremation services in McKees, PA we can help you make a decision on whether a closed or open casket viewing is the right thing for your loved one.