The last farewell is important
After death> say goodbye
1. The most important things in a nutshell
The actual death comes as a shock to many loved ones. It can help to take time with the deceased or to help with the final judging of the deceased. Until the burial, the deceased is usually in the locked coffin. An open laying out makes it easier to understand death and to say goodbye. Conscious farewell is important for further grief. At the memorial service, they say goodbye together.
2. Help as a relative
Although death is usually unsurprising and sudden, many relatives find themselves in a state of shock at first. Often they are not yet able to fully grasp the ending. It can be of great help if you can help with the final judging of the deceased. In doing so, they should always take into account the wishes of the deceased as well as their own needs. Some relatives want to have many relatives and friends around them during these hours, some want to be alone with the deceased. But it certainly makes sense if the next of kin has support from others. The next few hours are very emotional and many decisions have to be made at the same time.
Relatives can help with the following:
- Close your eyes.
- Wash the body again. In Muslim families, it is the rule for relatives to wash the dead.
- Insert the bit.
- Comb your hair nicely again.
- Remove dirty laundry.
- If possible, clarify with the doctor whether catheters can be removed and what clothes the deceased can wear. The doctor must be able to carry out an examination of the dead on the bare body. This is possible at the earliest after certain signs of death have occurred (approximately after 2–6 hours) and undressing when the rigor mortis has occurred is very difficult.
When choosing clothing, make sure that it corresponds to the dead person or that he liked to wear them.
- Close your mouth by placing something under your chin.
3. Create atmosphere, slow down
After death there is time. The following suggestions only apply if there is a personal need for them.
- Take time: for mourning, for parting, for feelings, for prayers etc.
- Treat yourself to some rest for drinking or eating to strengthen yourself or a short break.
- Create a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. Light a candle.
- Remove disturbing care materials that are around the bed or in the bed (e.g. washing utensils or storage pillows).
- Get support from pastoral care and grief counselors.
- Carry out follow-up discussions with a doctor or nursing staff.
- Organize a first small farewell party, especially for the people who were closely involved in the last phase: relatives, nurses, doctors, roommates, pastors, etc.
4. Importance of a conscious farewell
Sadness is the feeling within us when we have to say goodbye to something. You have to say goodbye, emphasizing "taking" as an active, conscious activity. The activities after death, at the funeral service and burial are aids in saying goodbye. Rituals, a fixed external form and the community can provide support in the chaos of the first mourning.
What many mourners lack in retrospect is the "successful farewell". If it is possible for mourners to celebrate a happy farewell, then, as undertaker and grief counselor unanimously report, there will later be fewer problems with unresolved grief. From this knowledge, the awareness is growing that saying goodbye to the deceased requires a solemn and at the same time personal form, a form that helps the relatives, carries them, holds them and accompanies them during the last steps with the deceased.
5. Laying out
The laying out in the time from the release of the corpse to the burial takes place today mostly in the closed coffin at the undertaker or in the mortuary of the cemetery.
5.1. Custody room
Ceremonial rooms are designed very differently.
- Laying out usually takes place in the morgues of the cemeteries.
- Laying out can take place at home.
- If a person dies in a hospital or in a nursing home, there is usually a laying out or farewell room in which the deceased can be laid out.
- Undertakers also increasingly have funeral rooms.
5.2. Laying out at home
Most federal states allow the deceased to be kept at home for up to 36 hours. Laying out at home is also possible if the person has died in a clinic or in a nursing home. The local storage periods are different, information can be obtained from the respective public order office.
When laying out at home, the relatives and friends of the deceased can say goodbye in familiar surroundings. A separate room should be available that is neither ventilated nor heated these days. To prevent decomposition from occurring too quickly, the room should be cooled in summer.
5.3. Open laying out
The open laying out enables the relatives to personally say goodbye to the deceased. You can touch him again, kiss his forehead, and make your peace with the deceased. An open laying out can be helpful in making death understandable. This is usually the first step in saying goodbye.
Relatives and friends can watch over the deceased. This gives the almost forgotten opportunity to say goodbye, talk about the dead, exchange memories, plan the funeral service and arrange the distribution of tasks. The possibility of a wake exists with laying out at home and increasingly with undertakers, who create appropriate rooms and access around the clock.
6. Funeral service
A memorial service is a memorial ceremony for the deceased before they are buried. It should give all relatives, friends and acquaintances the opportunity to think again about the deceased and then to say goodbye.
In the Christian tradition, the funeral service is usually held as a service in the church. There are more and more secular funeral ceremonies outside of places of worship.
Pastors, undertakers and / or funeral orators help with the planning and design of the funeral service. The wishes of the deceased must always be respected, the deceased and the next of kin should be the focus.
6.1. Elements of a memorial service
The classic elements of a funeral service are:
- Memories of the deceased
- salutation and farewell
- Funeral speech
- Requests / wishes / blessings
There is a lot of help on the Internet for organizing a funeral service, the websites of many regional daily newspapers also offer checklists and specific suggestions, here are just a few links:
6.2. Funeral feast, funeral coffee
Funeral feasts or funeral coffee are widespread and a permanent fixture after the funeral. This means eating or drinking coffee together for the mourners.
7. Related links
After death> organizational matters
Forms of funeral and funeral parlors
Funeral expenses social assistance
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