Back before the mid-19th century, funerals were much different than we know them today. In those days, the local cabinet maker undertook the direction of the service, while people held viewings at home in their “parlor” and services in a church or community hall. After the Civil War, as embalming became widespread and the population grew, more funeral establishments appeared with funeral directors taking the role of helping to arrange and direct services in their local area. Soon, large buildings were built to hold these memorials. Once overflowing, these rooms now often go unused as cremation and smaller gatherings are increasingly preferred.
Returning to our ancestors’ way of honoring a life, comfortable atmospheres provide people a greater chance at closure by helping to relieve some of the stresses of a recent loss. Moreover, these more personal settings allow loved ones to linger after the service, sharing stories, fellowship, and even a meal. Churches and community buildings are familiar and have the facilities to accommodate these added needs of those who use them. Some funeral directors welcome the return to the more intimate viewings held in homes or life celebrations in parks or community buildings. In fact, many newer, smaller funeral establishments are even specifically designed with rooms for a viewing and arrangements to provide a personable gathering.
When choosing a funeral establishment, ask about their ability to meet your unique needs and requests. A funeral experience should be one that makes you feel relaxed so that you can concentrate on healing. A funeral is a time to remember and to share those memories. Most importantly, a funeral should be able to provide an environment that frees you up to honor the life of your loved one. Your local funeral directors are ready to support you and help bring you peace.