candles are often used to remember loved ones in an open casket funeral

Considerations for an Open Casket vs. a Closed Casket

When you’re planning a viewing, family visitation and/or funeral service, you will need to decide whether you would like an open casket or a closed casket. You will have a lot to consider, from what you believe the deceased would have wanted to time constraints and religious considerations. We’re here to walk you through the things you might want to consider.

An Open Casket Helps Provide Closure

An open casket can provide a sense of closure, especially to friends and family that were not with their loved one when he or she passed. Seeing the deceased one last time to say goodbye can be a great comfort and can allow that person to begin the journey of healing.

Even if family was present at the time of death, it can be extremely comforting to see their loved one wearing clothing that they loved and with their hair fixed just right.  “Now that’s how I remember my mom looking!  She was so particular about her appearance and when she was in the hospital she was in so much pain, but now she looks at peace…”

Closed Casket Considerations

Religious considerations- Some faith traditions do not encourage an open casket, or require that the body be buried as quickly as possible after death.

The condition of the body- Depending on how your loved one died, the body may not be in a condition that is appropriate for a public viewing. You may also want to consider a closed casket if the deceased was very sick and had lost a great deal of weight before they died. You may feel that they wouldn’t want to be seen and remembered as they were when they passed.

The date of the funeral service- While most funeral services take place within a week of the loved one having passed, sometimes it is not possible to plan it and gather family and friends so quickly. In this case, the body may no longer be presentable and the family may choose a closed casket.

Ultimately you should decide on the option that you feel is best given the situation. Your funeral director is there to help you through the decision process so that you can determine how best to honor your loved one and provide meaningful closure to family and friends.


Leave a Comment