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Terrible

Discussion in 'Parents Off Topic' started by mom2Hanna, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. mom2Hanna

    mom2Hanna Approved members

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    A friend of my daughters was hit by a car last week and died. Only 14 yrs old. He wasn't a close friend of Hanna's but hung out in the same group. I had never met him. So since last week I have sheparded her through a vigil in his memory, wake and funeral. The wake was especially hard as they had an open casket. We are Jewish so that is not our tradition and hard for me to explain to her. There is nothing more awful then a young person dying needlessly. Can someone explain better to me about why an open casket? I don't feel comfortable asking anyone IRL.
     
  2. jbmom1b2g

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    I have never questioned it since I have always gone to open casket viewings, but my guess would be to say your final good bye.
     
  3. StillMamamia

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    I'm so sorry. How sad!

    I don't know whether there are truly religious reasons for an open casket. Maybe someone else does. I do know that it gives family and friends a last chance to say goodbye "face to face", so to speak.
    I personally do not like them at all.
     
  4. emm142

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    I'm sorry, that is so awful. Thinking of his family and friends.

    As for the open casket, I've never been to one (don't think it's typically done over here) but I think it's a personal choice with a lot of cultural variation, even within religion. I've read that it's often harder at first, but that it is thought to help with the acceptance phase of the grieving process.
     
  5. timsma

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    That is awful. I'm so sorry for that family. In my opinion, the open casket helps those left behind to see that the person really did die. It helps with acceptance. A very close family friends only child died years ago in a car accident, and it was closed casket due to the severity of his injuries. It took his Mother years to accept that he was really gone as she didn't get to view him, only got a lock of his hair in an envelope. A family member thought she should be spared seeing him, but in hind sight, she needed to, no matter how bad he looked. Seeing is believing for many.
     
  6. hawkeyegirl

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    I've told my husband that if he has an open casket for me, I'll come back and haunt him forever.

    I think it's morbid and oogy. That being said, the vast majority of funerals I've attended have been open casket, and I deal.
     
  7. mysweetwill

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    I believe it is truly just a personal choice based upon one's upbringing, culture and beliefs. I am catholic, italian and my family usually has wakes with open caskets. But there have been many instances in my family where the immediate family opted to have it closed and display beautiful pictures of the deceased, preferring to remember them as they were while alive. The immediate family usually still has the option to " see the body" in a private viewing before.

    My grandfather died a year and a half ago and he had an open casket. He looked beautiful and peaceful and after I said a prayer and went to talk to my 93 yr old grandmother, she practically shouted , "doesnt he look handsome?! I want to ask him on a date!"

    So it all depends I guess.
     
  8. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    So terribly sad. :(

    Not a fan of public viewings. I suppose the history is tied to sitting with the dead which was common before the funeral home business became the industry that it is. Would not be my personal choice.
     
  9. Becky Stevens mom

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    Amy, I did hear about this tragedy as my SIL teaches out that way. She wasnt his teacher but of course many of her students were friends of his.

    I am a Catholic and have always gone to Catholic Wakes where the casket was open. My Moms was, my Dads was open only for a short time for the family before everyone else was allowed in. Im honestly not sure of the religious reasons for the open casket. I think it may have something to do with bearing witness that that person is now just an empty container, their spirit is gone from them now. I know in many cultures and religions its what is done, to have the body laid out and on display. I dont want any such thing for me, but many people choose to still go by these traditions. I explained it to my boys when they went to their first Wake. The person in the coffin was no longer there, her spirit, her essense and life force had flown to be with God in Heaven
     
  10. KatieSue

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    My mothers family are Episcopalian and they do not allow open casket in the church. So they'd do a viewing separately at the funeral parlor before the services. My Dad's family were mostly Assembly of God and they were all open casket.

    I think it's inky but I've had to see a lot of them. I think part of it has to do with acceptance and I'm going to guess part to make sure the right person is deceased.
     
  11. Beach bum

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    How very sad.

    I too am not a fan at all, just put up a nice picture of me and that will be fine. My mom actually has it written in her will that there is to be no open casket.

    It is not a religious thing at all, but as Sarah said, harks back to the days when wakes were done from the home. People generally were laid out on the bed and people could say there last goodbyes. It was also a way to confirm that the dead were, in fact, dead.
     
  12. sisterbeth43

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    I grew up with all open caskets at the wakes and funerals I attended. Sometimes it helps to say goodbye and at other times it makes ther person look very different. I don't know anyother way, but have been to a few that I definitely think should have been closed casket. At any rate, I am sorry for what your daughter has had to endure. I remember losing a friend at `15, he went to another school, but we had known each other for years. I was very torn up about his death at the time.
     
  13. mom2Hanna

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    Thanks for all the responses. Hanna and her friends are so devestated. It was really hard to watch his mom say goodbye. No parent should have to go through that.
     
  14. Joretta

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    Very sorry for the loss pains for Hannah and everyone he touched. The open casket from my understanding has to do with people in early times being buried alive due to illnesses. So they began holding bodies for several days and in a open casket so if it was just an illness they could wake in a safe place and without going into shock over being in a sealed box. Back then just to be sure they also tied a string to a finger which lead above ground to a bell so if they did still end up buried they could ring the bell for help. Ultimately I think it gives closure but should be reserved for those close to the family or considered family by choice.

    I wanted to see my niece and my daughter on last time and do not regret it, because the mind protects the view out of love. But let's in the truth about the spirt being gone to a safer closure.
     
  15. Lisa P.

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    I am sorry for the family and for your daughter.

    Yes, I believe it is cultural rather than religious. Catholics and most Christians believe in the resurrection of the body, so that guides some practices, but I doubt this one. There is a good book called "Why Do Catholics Do That?" by Kevin Orlin Johnson that discusses Catholic funerals, most of what people do in modern funerals is not traditional in religious practice and certainly not required -- e.g. embalming, eulogies, etc.
     
  16. virgo39

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    I believe that the Catholic church's Order of Christian Funerals recognizes having an open casket during a wake/visitation/vigil as a "custom" -- it is not prohibited or required by rule of the church.
     

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