Last weekend, my husband and I attended the Viewing of an Aunt of his who had passed away earlier in the week. I had never really thought too much about viewings; however, this time I had some thoughts.
His Aunt looked twenty years younger and lovely, and everyone there was saddened by her death but at the same time, rejoicing in her life and in her family. In a small room right off the larger room in the Funeral Home was a video that her Son-in-Law had put together of her life. And in that room, we had a real viewing of her life and the woman she was. It was done very well and I learned some interesting things about her that I hadn't already known. Her Son-in-Law had divided her life in chapters with titles. There was one chapter titled, "And she smiled". That struck me because I'm not sure that I would always be remembered for smiling. (maybe I'll go tear up all those photos of me with a frown?)
The next day we all met at the Church where Aunt Fran was remembered in memorial by each of her four children along with three other speakers. It was a beautiful service and I was happy that were able to be there. In listening to her memorial, I was prompted to wonder how I would be remembered? I know I wasn't the only one with self-reflection while listening to the speakers because afterwards at the family luncheon, someone sitting next to me was feeling badly that she hadn't done more with her life. I don't think the purpose of self-reflection is to compare ourselves to others, but I know that is a natural tendency. (why do we like to beat ourselves up?)
I don't think I'll think of Viewings the same as before. I know of some people who don't like the idea or want anyone to come view their bodies before their funeral; in fact, I have heard a few people say that they don't even want an open casket. Viewing a deceased individual isn't a fun event, but it leads to remembering their life and viewing them with fond memories.
I haven't planned out my funeral yet, but I think I'd like it to be one more of celebration, and hopefully the viewing of my life will be filled with memories of love and laughter. Luckily I still have time to add to the memories; I think I need it.