Does a “One Hour Prior” visitation serve its purpose?
I attended a memorial service yesterday. The format of the service has become pretty standard in our community. The service was for a lady/wife/mother of which I know the husband to some extent. I consider him a really nice guy and attended the service because I wanted to let him know that I care and not so much because I knew the deceased – because I did not to any great extent.
When I heard of the death I noticed that there was no visitation on Sunday night only “One Hour Prior” to the service at a local church on Monday morning. While I prefer to go to visitations in the early evening, yesterday morning worked out fine in my schedule and I was fine on attending.
A good thing about yesterday’s service was that it was a pretty large crowd and I was happy to see that. However, because of the large crowd I was never able to make my way to the husband to say “hello and offer condolences”. He may eventually see my name in the register book and know that I cared enough to come to the service. Maybe it’s not important. . . but I think it is.
This may sound odd, but “to me” it is not important that he knows I was there. However, I believe “to him” (the husband) it might be important to know that I, or any other attendee was there, simply so he knows these people care.
Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I still believe that the funeral or the memorial service is for the living. They need to take in the atmosphere and have the laughs and tears of which remembering brings.
This brings me to my point. . . .does a one hour visitation prior to the service starting at a church afford the family the opportunity to take in this care and respect that is being shown to them. If I didn’t get a chance to offer my condolences to the husband, how many other attendees were in that same boat? Would the husband have benefited from the services to a greater extent if he was able to visit with more people?
My father’s been gone over 40 years. . .I was a teenager. However, I can still tell you that I vividly remember many of my classmates who came to the visitation and/or funeral service. You just never forget them, because they cared. Knowing that they cared still makes me feel good.
I think a lot of families think that one hour visitation prior to the funeral is enough. However, with pastors wanting to give a final private word to the families and funeral directors getting them together for an entrance into the church, that one hour is many times less than 45 minutes. Couple that with the fact that many people don’t want to be the first ones there and you maybe have less than 30 minutes for the vast amount of attendees. How deep in discussion can a mourner get in that time period with scores of people there?
I know and understand that consumer families should have the final say in what type of arrangements they want. However, I believe more than ever it is incumbent on our professionalism to let them know all the realities of the situation when they want something less than what we believe is ideal for them.
In our profession we get just one chance to get it right for our client families. And I understand that client families are the consumer and the consumer is who we have to please. However, if we don’t get it right. . . then those client families don’t get the care that they really need. In those arrangement conferences don’t be afraid to tell client families what you think is best. . .They can make the ultimate decision and you can rest knowing you have given them all the options.
[wpforms id=”436″ title=”true” description=”true”]