Receiving friends through a visitation activates your support system.
Sometimes called the wake, calling hours and viewing, the visitation is a time for friends and family to support one another in their grief. The body is often present in an open or unopened casket, allowing you and others who loved the person who has died to acknowledge the reality of the death and to have the privilege of saying goodbye.
This is the procession from the funeral service to the final resting place.
The procession is a symbol of mutual support and public honoring of the death. Mourners accompany one another to the final resting place of the person who died. Often, even strangers take pause and are respectful because they know someone in your family has died.
The graveside service is the final opportunity to say goodbye.
Accompanying a body to its final resting place and saying a few last words brings a necessary feeling of finality to the funeral process. Even if you are having a full funeral service, you may want to consider having a short committal service at the gravesite, mausoleum, columbarium or scattering site. The committal service gives a feeling of finality to the funeral that you’ll never have otherwise.
This special time allows your family and friends to support one another.
Some family members or friends may tell you that the gathering isn’t necessary or that they would prefer not to attend. It’s OK if everyone can’t (or chooses not to) be there. It’s still a very important time for many people who will attend the service.
The reception can be held in your family home, in a park or in a church meeting room. Many funeral homes also have reception rooms. A buffet-style meal is usually served at the reception. Sometimes family and friends contribute food potluck-style and sometimes the meal is catered. Again, do what feels right for you and your family.