Should I visit the chapel of rest?

What is a chapel of rest?

Most funeral homes have what is called a chapel of rest, a room where those close to the deceased can say a final goodbye to their loved one before the funeral. This can be big or small, grand or simply designed but it will have a space for the coffin to be displayed which is called a catafalque and room for mourners to spend time with the body.

Visiting a chapel of rest is an option that some people will choose to take and others opt out of, preferring their last memories to be of the person when they were alive. For many, it is a way to come to terms with their grief.

How are bodies kept in a chapel of rest?

Your funeral director ensures that the body of a loved one is looked after in the best possible way when it is in the chapel of rest. It will be washed, dressed and preserved by refrigeration, or embalmed – a common funeral practice used around the world. While the spirit of the person has left the body, they will ensure that their appearance is as close as possible to the way you remember them.

Things to consider before visiting the chapel of rest

You need to be mindful that seeing a loved one in a chapel of rest can be an overwhelming and emotionally painful experience and it isn’t for everyone. You do not need to worry if it isn’t something you feel you’re unable to do. On the other hand, the chapel of rest can be a way to make peace with your loss.

In terms of practicalities, you don’t need to dress in any specific way and you can spend as much time as you wish with the body. This is a time when you can experience being in the physical presence of the person for the last time, maybe alone, or with others that are close to you. so you don’t need to go through any formalities. You can just be yourself.

Be aware too that if the person was of a particular religious faith, there might be specific requirements about clothing or behaviour.

Finally, as a society, photography is something that has become central to modern life and we might think it is acceptable to take a mobile into the chapel of rest. This might not be the case and some families may feel this is disrespectful, so be aware that you need to seek permission from the close family. 

We know that arranging a funeral can be an extremely stressful time, so please do not hesitate to contact us for more information about the chapel of rest or any other aspect of the funeral planning process. We are here to help in any way we can.

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