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keobooks's avatar

How important is an open casket funeral to you?

Asked by keobooks (14296points) November 7th, 2014

I was just at a funeral for a man who took two bullets to the face. It ws an open casket funeral, which kind of surprised me, because I thought his facial damage would be too severe for an open casket. It turns out that the mortician almost completely reconstructed his face (wax? I don’t know..) and there was this gauzy texture so you couldn’t really discern where the reconstruction ended and his “real” face began. Perhaps his entire face was reconstructed..I couldn’t tell.

I really thought an open casket funeral was a little too much. My husband, on the other hand thinks they are very important because they make closure easier and make the death seem more real to the people who attend. I thought the reconstruction made it seem less real—as if the man wasn’t actually in the coffin, but this weird wax replica was there instead.

Just curious to know what the rest of you thought. If you think open casket funerals are important, would you want one even if yours (or your loved one’s) face was severely damaged?

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19 Answers

picante's avatar

My half brother was injured in an automobile accident several decades ago. He survived a piece of lumber through the head, but only for a few years. His funeral was an open-casket affair, and the mortician placed a large bandage over his skull indentation.

I find it all absurd—I suppose I must respect those who seek closure in this fashion. I want neither a casket nor a funeral, certainly no reconstruction, and most of my family feels the same way. I know this sounds cold, and I mean no disrespect to the deceased or his loved ones.

If you were a fan of “Six Feet Under,” you’ll recall the many ways they reconstructed the corpses after some extensive (and usually bizarre) injuries.

Condolences to you . . . I saw the circumstances of this man’s death, and it is horrible.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I think that open casket funerals are grotesque in general, so the one that you describe is no less or more grotesque than any other.

Think of the huge dollar cost of facial reconstruction! Was that truly the best possible use of that money?

My will says that I want to be cremated.

Aethelwine's avatar

I’m going to do what was done for my mother when she passed almost a year ago. She wanted to be cremated and she did not want services or a funeral. She didn’t want people looking at her dead body and she wanted to save the family from spending more money than they needed to. She wanted everyone to remember her as she was when she was alive and happy.

I am so thankful my mother wanted it this way. I don’t think I could have handled standing for 2 hours greeting everyone who showed up to pay their respects. I was able to mourn in private with my immediate family by my side when I needed them.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I am not a fan of open-casket funerals. Either I knew the person and prefer to remember them based upon memories and photographs, or I didn’t know them and am only there to support a friend. A friend once confided that when she was young, her grandmother died. At the grandmother’s funeral, her mother held her up to the coffin and said, “Kiss Grandma good-bye.” I found that chilling.

My will states that I want to be cremated. No funeral; just scatter the ashes in the woods somewhere.

Pachy's avatar

I totally agree with @Pied_Pfeffer. The purpose of a funeral is to honor the deseased, pay respects to the family, and provide a measure of closure for mourners; I see no need to view a lifeless body to sccomplish any of that. I want to be remembered as a healthy, happy friend or relative.

Coloma's avatar

Not a fan of open casket either, and to parrot others, I want to be remembered as I was in life, not in death. I’m for cremation as well, we don’t need anymore bodies in the ground in expensive caskets. There is just no accounting for peoples opinions, but I don;t need to see a dead body to have “closure”, absurd!

Katz22's avatar

Personally, I don’t like open casket funerals. I prefer to remember people as they were in life not as they look in a coffin.

zenvelo's avatar

I’m against them; I’m against embalming, I am against traditional burial.

Put me in a compostable box and bury me in a garden.

janbb's avatar

As a Jew, I grew up with the custom of closed caskets. i was probably almost 30 before I went to a viewing and it was very strange to me. I really don’t like them.

Each to his own but that is not for me.

Coloma's avatar

I’m with @zenvelo

Seriously, even if you have land like we do here, over 10 acres, you can’t bury yourself at home in a natural state. I could call in a back hoe to bury a 1,200 lb. horse but a human body is a no no. WTF sense does that make? lol
Really, even better would be to just be put out in the forest as dinner for the Mountain Lions and Bobcats and Coyotes and Turkey Vultures.

Why not give nature a feast. Even the little brds would line their nests with your hair and bones are great for gnawing down little rodent teeth. No parts go to waste. haha

keobooks's avatar

@Coloma I didn’t know you were Zoroastrian!

keobooks's avatar

I think ceremonies like funerals are important to the living. It gives people closure. I don’t think you need an open casket funeral for that, however. I have never really been a fan of them. Even when the mortician does a good job, the people never look right.

Until this funeral, the worst job I ever saw was with one of my aunts who had a severe overbite. It looked kind of cute when she was alive. She was always giving a big toothy smile and you could kind of tell that it was difficult for her to fully close her mouth because of her teeth. When she died, however, this same problem made the mortician’s job VERY difficult. They ended up sewing her mouth shut. I could see the stitches.. AND they started to pull open slightly as she “settled” in the casket, so you could see these frankestein looking loose holes with thick string stitches around her face. It was ghastly.

I decided at that time that I didn’t want an open casket funeral. But my husband is so for them—he’ll probably have an open casket funeral for me anyway. I finally decided.. what the hell.. I’ll be dead anyway. Why should I care so much about what happens to my body? He can do to me whatever he wants and I will have no say and won’t be in a state to notice or care.

*Oh and thank you for condolences, but I didn’t actually know the man. He was a friend of mine’s father. I think I may have seen him once or twice 25 years ago, but I was there for my friend and I was not personally affected by his death—except freaked out that this kind of thing happened at all.

Coloma's avatar

@keobooks That is super cool! I love it!
Hmmm…maybe replace mortuaries Towers of silence, I wonder how hard it would be to get that bill passed. lol

Pachy's avatar

Tell you what… You can fill my open casket with crushed ice and sodas for everybody!

talljasperman's avatar

I want to make sure that he is dead and not faking. The Klingons have pain sticks to make sure the emperor is dead. I would bring that back for famous people like Joan Rivers. Just to celebrate her passing. Pain sticks all around.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

It plays no importance to me, there is not going to be a body. When I go my ashes will be placed in an hourglass that will measure important scripture from Genesis to Revelations, so I will be at work for the Kingdom even when this fleshly tent is gone.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I’ve only been to two funerals and neither were open casket. I don’t feel any need to see the deceased. I especially wouldn’t want to see a person I love and care for in a disfigured state. I can’t see how that helps or honours anyone.

filmfann's avatar

I have been to a lot of funerals, and no matter how close I was to them, I have always seen an open casket as vulgar. That’s a dead body, not my dear friend/relative.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I’ve never been to an open casket funeral, but I think they’re really quite vulgar. And that’s coming from someone who sees deceased babies at work on a regular basis. I don’t want to see my loves ones’ corpses when they pass. Keep the lid closed, and I’m happy.

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