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Why Visitation Matters

Generations ago, when more people were born at home — and then lived, worked and died there, too — the body was often the focus of memorialization, prepared lovingly at home and remaining there for the wake or visitation.

Today, many of us are so removed from the physical reality of death that there's often an urge to skip the traditional visitation, fearing it will be too painful. However, research indicates that might be a mistake.

Post-death rituals were once culturally significant, and there's strong evidence to suggest that a visitation can be psychologically beneficial. A period of visitation a few days before the funeral can help family members face the reality of death before saying their final goodbyes at the funeral,  allowing them time to process the loss on their own, begin to grieve and gain a bit of comfort.

A visitation also gives the closest family members a chance to speak about the death in a way that can provide them with some closure. By talking about it, they may be better able to process it. Telling the story to others who want to be a sounding board can help lift the isolation that those closest to the deceased may be feeling.

Visitation is not just for family members. It's an act of communal mourning that can be meaningful for all involved, giving others an opportunity to pay their respects, honor the person who has died and offer condolences to family members in an atmosphere that's less formal and more conducive to conversation than a funeral service.

At Sunset Funeral Home, Memory Gardens and Cremation Services, we believe that part of the healing process is memorializing a life well lived. Whether you're planning ahead or want to honor your loved one, we can help you plan a memorial service that's perfectly suited to the unique life that was lived. We can also send you a preplanning guide to help you talk with loved ones about your options. Call us at (813) 440-4973 for more information.

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