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DylanMueller's avatar

Following a funeral, can the casket be opened for later viewing?

Asked by DylanMueller (205 points ) September 4th, 2009

After leaving the funeral, the procession is over, and so is the mass at the church. If the body is going to be cremated, is there any other time that the casket may be opened for later viewing. Even if it was going to be a burial, would there be an interim that would allow viewing?

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16 Answers

galileogirl's avatar

Usually it is viewing>open casket funeral>close casket>drive to cemetary or cremetarium>bury or burn. After burial the only time you can open the casket is with a court order.

DylanMueller's avatar

We had two viewings, following the second viewing we had a catholic mass, after the mass the body would be taken to the crematorium. Is it possible to open the casket to view the body one last time after the mass but before the cremation occurs?

galileogirl's avatar

I think when you get to the crematorium the liner is slipped out of the casket-they don’t burn the $10,000 rosewood box so that when the beloved are on the way into the oven they are in a kind of cardboard container so I would say it would be unlikely.

YARNLADY's avatar

The viewing of the body is something that is arranged between the funeral home and the family. If there is a reason they want to have a second viewing, they could request it.

torch81's avatar

Talk to the funeral home. If the family wants there to be another opportunity for viewing, they will almost certainly make allowances for it. Most funeral homes will do darn near anything that they can, if you ask for and are willing to pay for it. If you aren’t a part of the family, then you are going to have to find a way to make do with the options that are on the table.

wundayatta's avatar

Why would you anyone want to open the casket again before cremation or burial? Where is this question coming from?

Also, @galileogirl, if someone has a 10K rosewood coffin, and it isn’t burned during cremation, what happens to it? Does the crematorium keep it and resell it? Does the family get it for use with the next family member who passes away? It never occurred to me that people wouldn’t be cremated in the box their relatives put them in.

Darwin's avatar

When my MIL was cremated, we had three viewings. One was before the funeral at the family’s church, then at the funeral home chapel folks filed by to see her before the funeral, and the third was at a separate chapel before the cremation. Then there was a separate interment of the ashes at a cemetery. Each location was in a different town in Southern California and the whole process took three days.

It wasn’t what I would have done, but then it wasn’t my mother.

DylanMueller's avatar

Since we chose cremation, the coffin was a rental, which I know sounds odd but apparently a lot of funeral homes rent out coffins for this exact use.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

This is why I am choosing a green funeral. Screw the funeral homes, those people, like bankers, are rich enough. Besides, why would I want to be buried in an $8,000 lacquered box in a concrete vault underground? Seems a total waste. And as for cremation, OH HELL NO! Too reminiscent of the Holocaust for my tastes. Ick.

DylanMueller's avatar

I think there is a huge difference between being burned alive, and being burned when your already dead.

galileogirl's avatar

I’m curious about a green burial, Is it a form of composting? To be efficient that would seem to mean breaking down into manageble pieces.

YARNLADY's avatar

Since we are already off the subject, let me take this opportunity to point out that no funeral is required if you donate your body to science. I am registered for a full body donation, and my family has indicated they might hold a personal family gathering.

This does away with any funeral expense what-so-ever.

DylanMueller's avatar

I realize that you may ask the funeral director but what I’m really asking is for something not planned for. As in, lets say I’m having trouble with the loss of my loved one, and ask the funeral director if it would be okay if I had an informal viewing for about five minutes or so. I realize that the chance of a funeral director actually being on fluther is highly unrealistic but do you think they would allow something like that? An informal, last minute, viewing?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@YARNLADY I read recently that there are far more bodies donated to science than are ever used. The people that would have you donate them would prefer bodies of folks with unusual conditions, as they already have enough ordinary dead folks. A kid I grew up with had his body donated to science, and his body was covered with these round things that looked like flesh colored blue berries. Not sure what caused them, but I’m sure the people who got his body had an interesting time with his remains.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@galileogirl start here and find out more on your own.

YARNLADY's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra It depends on what service you use, and what the purpose you designate. The plan I use allows any use, including teaching hospital, and there is no evidence on any source I can find of any “waste”.

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