I decided a long time ago that I wanted a cremation. I’m sure part of that decision was because of my age – cremation is a popular choice for Millennials like myself. But a big part of that decision was because I wanted at least some of my ashes scattered in the Highlands of Scotland, a place that means so much to me and a source of joy for so many years.
Why I Think It’s Important To View Your Loved Ones
I’ve attended a few funerals in my lifetime, and I remember being very wary of viewing the body at first. Something about it seemed creepy and morbid to me.
But what I’ve realised is that the feelings I had during visitations were far from fear or discomfort. Seeing them one last time and being able to really take in the finality of their death led to feelings of peace, comfort and more importantly, closure.
There is something very powerful in being able to see a loved one for the last time and say goodbye. Their death might be the end of their life story, but it’s only the end of a chapter in yours.
Being able to have those final moments with them better prepares you for the following chapters, which will no longer have your loved one in them. Your story moves on, but your memories with them remain on the previous pages.
I’ve since changed my mind about direct cremation. Of course, I still want cremation and to have my ashes scattered in places I love – I have a small list of areas in mind, my beloved Highlands being one. But rather than having my family cremate me and get it over with, I want them to have a viewing.
Whether it’s a regular coffin, a wicker basket or just a cardboard box, I want to give my family the same opportunity I’ve had in my life to say goodbye. Giving them those last few moments with me could make all the difference in their grief, and it would be selfish of me to rob them of that opportunity.
Article by Samantha Ward
This article was orginally published in More to Death, the official magazine to The Natural Death Centre.