Attending a funeral ceremony can be an emotionally challenging experience. If you’re attending your first funeral ceremony, you may be wondering what to expect. While understandably sad, funerals are not innately frightening and can be an affirming celebration of life and a healthy part of the grieving process. To put you at ease, here are something things you might encounter during a funeral ceremony:
Viewing: Before the Memorial Service
You may be invited to the mortuary before the formal funeral ceremony for the viewing; a time when you are able to mingle with friends and family and also view the body of the deceased should you be so inclined. The important thing to note is that you are not required to view the body. If you are truly uncomfortable doing so at your first funeral ceremony, then you should certainly give that part a pass. Coming to the viewing still gives you the opportunity to share memories and love with those in your community.
During the Funeral Ceremony
While there are some differences for region, religion and cultural backgrounds, most funeral ceremonies include a eulogy given by a faith leader, friend or family member. This is a time to reflect on and honor the life of the departed. The funeral ceremony may also include prayers, song, and shared worship.
Interment: After the Service
Once the funeral service is complete, the family generally leaves the pews first, followed by the guests. If the deceased is being interred, or buried in the ground, then the next step is a processional of vehicles towards the cemetery. The etiquette is that you will put your car lights on as you enter the procession out of respect for the deceased. It also helps to indicate that you are part of the procession and other motorists, with the aid of a law enforcement officer, will give way so the procession can pass. Once you are graveside, there may be another short service that could include singing, music, or prayers. Oftentimes, family members and friends add flowers to the casket before it is lowered into the ground.
Attending a funeral allows you to pay respects, honor the deceased, and offer support to those left behind. Having a fuller understanding of what occurs during a funeral will help you know what to expect. If you have questions about funerals or pre-planning your own service, contact our friendly and caring professionals at Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery.