Funerals provide a time and place to face the loss of a loved one. They serve as a statement that the loved one has died and your life is now changed. Without this time, it is easy to deny both the death and the grief that follows. Funerals provide an opportunity for both family and friends to say good-bye. Basically, there are three kinds of funerals: Traditional, Memorial, and at the Graveside.
The Traditional Funeral usually includes visitation, a service in a church or funeral home, and procession to the burial or entombment site followed by a committal service.
A Memorial Service is similar to a funeral service except the body of the deceased is not present for the ceremony. Visitation may occur with or without the body. The deceased or the family may choose burial, entombment, or cremation of the body before or after visitation and prior to the service. The memorial service is most likely to take place at the funeral home or church.
A Graveside Service is a ceremony that is held at the place of internment. Usually, only members of the family are in attendance.
What About Visitation? The physically catastrophic effects of illness often create a tendency for survivors to not want to view the body after death. There is also the common thought that it is better to remember people "as they were" and quickly decide that it is not necessary to view the deceased. This can be a mistake. The memories of ourselves and our loved ones are often quite deceptive. Simply recall the number of occasions when you've looked at photographs of yourself, or listened to your own tape recorded voice, and exclaimed, "that's not me!" Memories are much more complex than can be illustrated in a snapshot. We remember the "entire" person— through all of our five senses. The exclamations of emotion and reactions to each moment of life are what we remember about a person.