Should You Have a Viewing Before a Funeral?


When you're making funeral arrangements, your funeral director at a place like Lee Adam Funeral Services may ask if you want to arrange a viewing of the body before the service. Although you decide whether to have a viewing or not, it's worth spending a little time thinking over the pros and cons before you make a decision.

The Advantages and Disadvantages for Mourners

Allowing friends and family to say goodbye to the person who has died is often a useful part of the grieving process. It may help people come to terms with the death, allowing them to say a formal goodbye or to say the things they didn't get the chance to say when the person was alive. This can have a therapeutic value, helping them to accept the death and take the first steps towards moving on.

On the other hand, some people don't want to view a body. They may find the concept too upsetting or may want to remember the person alive rather than as a body in a coffin or casket. Far from making them feel better, a viewing may make them feel worse about the death, making it harder to come to terms with their grief.

Viewings May Require Embalming

Although embalming is usually not essential, your funeral director may sometimes have to recommend it for a viewing. Typically, funeral directors only have to embalm a body in certain circumstances. For example, it may be required if the body will be transported long distances, if it will be buried above ground or if there will be a long gap between death and the funeral service.

However, according to the Australian Funeral Directors Association, embalming may also be used to improve the appearance of the deceased. It's important to talk to your funeral director to see if embalming is recommended on this basis. If it is, and you would prefer not to have the body embalmed, it may be better to skip the viewing.

Viewing Tips

  • Don't force people to view the deceased just because you think it's a good thing to do. It's better to give them the choice to attend or not. You'll only make them feel worse if you put pressure on them to view the body.
  • Talk to your funeral director about how the viewing period is handled. Some people may prefer to say their last goodbyes individually; others may prefer to visit in groups. Funeral staff should be able to accommodate both private and public viewing preferences.
  • Although many children find viewings beneficial, some don't. Discuss the viewing with children first and allow them to decide whether they see the body or not. Young children may not have a problem with viewing a body, but may find it distressing to be around adults who are openly upset, so it may be better to allow them to view the body privately with a trusted adult who can guide them through the process.


19 October 2015

Tips for Writing and Organising Meaningful Funerals

Welcome to my blog. My name is Molly, and a few years ago, I lost my husband to heart disease. He had only just turned fifty, and it wasn't anything we were expecting. Through my intense grief, I had to host and organise a funeral. I wanted to include religious elements from our pasts, but I also wanted to be true to the non-religious but spiritual beliefs of my husband. I think many people are in the same position, and if you are, I want to help you. This blog focuses on making funerals meaningful. It provides tips, ideas, facts and more. I hope it inspires you.