A Discussion about Death
May 14, 2011
Grand Canyon University
The following paper will be part interview and part essay. A local funeral director was interviewed about final preparations, the purpose of a modern funeral, how people cope with death, and unusual request for funeral services. A brief discussion how some modern funeral traditions were originated and why death is almost always attached to fear will also be addressed.
Death is still reacted to with fear even with all the modern scientific and medical knowledge that is available to our society. Since no one has ever died and returned to tell about what death is really like, we as humans have a natural ...view middle of the document...
The funeral initiates the grief cycle while also bringing closure to the death. Kurrus said also that not only does the funeral initiate the grief process; the funeral is also an acknowledgement of life that has been lived and encourages an affirmation of faith. For those with no religious affiliation, funeral services without religious over tones are available, these include stories and anecdotes about the deceased, eulogies, picture slide shows, and even musical numbers that hold special meaning to the family (3).
The act of arranging for funeral services can be thought as therapeutic for the family members of the deceased. The act of making funeral preparations engages the family in meaningful activities that forces them to interact with others, communicate and make decisions about how the deceased can be respected and remembered. Also while helping guide the family through this difficult time, the funeral director must not allow personal preferences on viewing and services to influence the family. Although cremations are an alternative to burial or entombment, it is not an alternative to have a funeral service according to Kurrus. Funeral services sometimes have an unusual them or request, when asked if Kurrus had any odd requests, he could not recall any, but company policy at Kurrus Funeral Home limits special requests. Upon doing further research, some unusual requests were found on AARP.com. Some requests included a Super Bowl-themed visitation with yard-marker turf and the casket placed in the “end zone” (3). Another unusual request was a barbeque-themed visitation complete with picnic table, cooler and grill with smoke provided by dry ice (3).
When asked how people cope with death, Kurrus responded that those who are dying go through the grief cycle, as established by psychiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (1). The person’s first reaction is shock - no this is not happening, the next is denial - this cannot be happening to my family or me. Then comes anger at God first then family and bargaining for a cure or extension of life for better behavior. Grieving is the second to last stage...