Should You Plan a Visitation?

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When people are planning services at funeral homes, one of the questions they most frequently ask is whether they should include a visitation as part of their funeral arrangements for their loved one.

A visitation is one of the traditional funeral rituals that benefits both a bereaved family and the mourners who come to pay their respects to the deceased and to comfort the grieving family.

Traditionally, with a visitation, you and your immediate family will stand at the front of the funeral parlor and people will file through to offer you their sympathy, share a story about your loved one, or let you know that they support you.

However, a visitation can be anything that you want it to be. Some people have visitations where there is a tribute video to their loved one playing and memorial tables set up that highlight certain aspects of their loved one’s life. Family members mill around the room and talk with everyone, sometimes explaining a photo or a piece of memorabilia on one of the tables.

If this casual sort of visitation appeals to you, your funeral director can help you set everything up so that the room has easy flow, and everyone gets a chance to talk with your family in a comfortable setting.

Some COVID-19 restrictions have curtailed large visitations inside funeral homes, but funeral homes have found ways to adapt to ensure that you can still have a visitation. We have created a distanced one-way traffic flow and provide a decorative rope cordon to prevent physical contact with mourners and guests. We also offer live-stream viewing options and have even had the occasional drive-by procession of friends. This allows funeral homes to adhere to social distancing guidelines, but also allows you and your family to get the much-needed comfort and support.

There are usually no restrictions on who can attend a visitation, so you may get the benefit of seeing far away family and friends that you haven’t seen for a long time. You may also see people in the community that knew your loved one.

The visitation gives everyone a chance at connection as life experiences intersect and it can be a springboard for additional support and comfort after the funeral is over.

A visitation also gives you and your family a less formal, but safe place to openly express your grief over the loss of your loved one. You are surrounded by people who genuinely care for you, so there’s less pressure to try to maintain your composure and act like everything is all right.

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Everything’s not all right after your loved one dies. Life changes forever. It doesn’t stop, but it will never be the same as it was. Having a visitation can help you process these changes and begin to think about how you and your family will move forward without your loved one.

If you’d like more information about visitations at funeral homes, our empathetic and knowledgeable staff at Hopler & Eschbach Funeral Home can assist you.