A colleague of my sister’s shared a photo yesterday of a wake he’d attended for a mutual colleague. The latter had apparently specifically requested that his coffin and his corpse should not only be present at the wake, but also people were encouraged to sign the coffin, use it as a bar to prop up drinkers, their drinks etc. I’m a simple country lad who must have led a particularly sheltered life, but I found the whole idea rather distasteful. I hope it doesn’t apply at any wake I ever have to attend! I expect to find others telling me this is now perfectly normal…
You wouldn’t find that here, strictly no touch,property of the pompes funèbres until all over. That actually makes me feel queasy to think of a corpse lying in that box and its obviously english as there is a standard pint beer glass on the coffin. They cover the coffins here with a cloth, my OH was covered in rose petals that everyone put on his coffin as they filed out of the village hall but at no time and at all the lots of funerals I have attended in France, did they ever do the above. Maybe some families do it in private before the funeral when they have the coffin at home but that is rare, you are more likely to be asked to see the body in their bed to pay respects!
Not normal (what is?) but if it’s what the deceased wanted I’m all for it, & would participate as requested.
Nope… take heart… there’s definitely a non-French touch to that photo… and the messages written on the coffin are all in English…
But 8 years ago, we did have a dead neighbour “lying in state” in his home across the road from us…
(an open coffin, with refrigeration concealed under the decorations…)
The whole village filed on through during the day… to say their personal farewells and chat with his wife.
He’d been brought back from the Funeral Parlour especially for this “viewing” and I found it difficult…
he was heavily made-up but still looked very, very dead…
and I really wanted to remember him as the interesting/cheerful chap he had been in life… never seen him look this grim…
Can’t think why it wasn’t the usual 3 day turn around which normally follows a death.
This turnaround was more like 10 days… and as it was summer, I think we were all grateful he was kept “chilled”
there is often the option to “view” a deceased at the Funeral Parlour but I’ve seen enough corpses now and would not choose to undertake such a viewing if at all possible…
Might be Irish… they are more into wakes than the English. We tend to go in for cups of tea and cake rather than lots of booze.
It’s not normal, but does no harm at all - it’s only a body in there, just a piece of meat, fat and bone. Having had to examine a body to confirm death, it’s plain that the person who once lived in there is no longer present.
Feel no squeams for such an event.
That is how I see this case, it definitely looks at home, not at the funeral parlour and, although I would not think of it for myself (or herself) I don’t have a problem with it.
They would have had problems if the coffin was one of those wickerwork ones, especially with the drink and the messages
Maybe it’s just me but I just find death to be a fact of life and don’t get terribly squeamish about people dying, especially if they’ve had a good life (defined in any way you like). If that’s what the departed wanted then good for them.
It was very traditional in parts of the UK and Ireland to have the coffin at home for a few days, but all the funerals I’ve been to here the coffin (either open or closed) and body are kept at the funeral home with strict visiting hours. So you can go say your goodbyes there, or when you process past coffin at end of funeral.
Both our close friends who died last year opted for cremation, so had very simple plywood coffins. Which the family decorated with poems and photos and the like, and it looked quite cheery in the Cathedral. As if they were being wished well on a voyage.
Everything so much more humane now than just rigid, old fashioned church protocols. So the way the monseigneur conducted the service was done well, and allowing his dog to be there too was lovely. It really ought to be all about what the family and the dead person want, even if a bit uncomfortable.
I had an Environmental Arts Masters student who was an off the grid felt maker on an off the grid small holding on the top of the Pennines way above Alston (highest market town in England). Anyhow, during her Masters she was encouraged to expand her craft practice and the best thing she came up with were felt coffins made from the wool of her own sheep. Warm, comforting, biodegradable felt seems the ideal material for a coffin.
Might need a touch of reinforcement, but otherwise lovely idea.
Mind you this is another, rather different way to go - saw the movie with my mother, when I was eight years old and shortly after my father had died. Wasn’t allowed to to go to his funeral, because the neighbours advised that it ‘might be too upsetting!’ Got over that, but still think - bastards!
Why? It’s not as though the occupant can appreciate it’s qualities
True, but it makes everyone else feel good. And that’s very important
Ideal for people wishing to offer their heartfelt condolences…
Though of course this was sheep felt…
I attended the funeral of a lady hashing friend last Saturday. There was a wicker coffin covered with flowers. Beautiful church in rural south Shrops but vicar was very old school, stuffy and appeared disinterested. I struggle with church services. My late FIL’s coffin was cardboard and decorated all around with a musical stave - he was a talented pianist. The packed humanist service was very well done and very moving. Maynard was a larger than life popular figure and at the aprés in the pub, members of his old music hall group sang several wonderful rousing risqué numbers.
He would have loved his send off.
Reading the many interesting and varied responses to my original post, it occurs to me that I am probably somebody that dislikes proximity to dead things, be they human or animal. I could never emulate those artists like Stubbs who collected rotting bodies of horses to study their anatomy, and draw from.
With a slight thread diversion, but on related anatomical matters…we have donated our own bodies (on death, not before!) to the Rouen University Faculty of Medicine, to help train up future surgeons. It would be nice to feel we could be of some use after we’ve gone… apparently your body is later incinerated and the ashes scattered in their garden of remembrance.
Do you make financial provision for your own funeral?
Advertisements for insurance or pre payment packages to cover the cost make me laugh. Usually featuring a person smiling with contentment that they have made the arrangements and bearing the cost.
I have organised 2 funerals in the recent past and see it as as responsibility of those left behind and of course to respect any wishes for those who have gone.
Yes, my estate will ultimately pay for my funeral but to pay for it before I’m gone! I think not.