Going to a funeral viewing--what do I do?
June 26, 2009 8:33 AM Subscribe
A friend's father just died, and I will be attending the viewing on Sunday. I don't know what to do about the body.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty to human relations (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This will be only the second viewing I've ever attended, and I froze up at the other one. I'd never seen a dead body before and I didn't know the deceased, and I didn't know what to do--go up to the casket? Just talk quietly with the family and friends gathered? I ended up doing the latter, and I never went up to the casket. It felt macabre to go and stare at a dead man I didn't know.
Most people seemed to be going up to the casket and making the sign of the cross and praying or something. I'm not religious, much less Catholic. I don't know what's appropriate to do in that respect.
Obviously I will be dressed somberly, won't be turning this into a catching up-fest, etc. I know how to act and what to say to the grieving, but I don't know what to do about the actual deceased. I don't want to offend anyone, nor do I want to pretend to go through religious motions or something like that. I've wondered for years whether my behavior at the last viewing was somehow offensive because I didn't actually go up to the casket.