X-Message-Number: 3403
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 1994 21:22:01 -0500 (EST)
Subject: SCI.CRYONICS THE Funeral Part 3

date sent:  13-NOV-1994 21:18:18 
other to accept it in fact, emotionally, and 

(4)  The need to face the future, maintain on-going relationships, and 
     establish new relationships and connections.

(5)  The need for something useful and meaningful to do while grieving.

(6)  The need for a personal and/or spiritual outlet.  The funeral helps one 
     to focus on life's meaning and to draw on one's spiritual strengths, and 
     to apply the beliefs and teachings of one's religious faith.

(7)  The need for dignity and worth.  The funeral honors the dead and 
     recognizes the bereaved as those whose needs must be met, too.

According to Paul Irion (humanist and reverend):

"It marks with dignity the conclusion of a life and testifies to the life that
has been lived as it separates the dead from the living.

It provides an opportunity for people who have sustained loss to express their
feelings in a pattern of symbolic and community acceptable actions.

It offers an occasion for concerned persons to gather in a context of shared
loss to support those who have sustained the greater loss and to assist them
in their return to normal social existence."

SERVICE.  Baltimore; Waverly Press, Inc., 1971)

Another perspective on the purpose and function of the funeral is provided by
Austin H. Kutscher, D.D.S., of the N.Y. State Psychiatric Institute Dental
Service, Columbia University, N.Y.; and Lillian G. Kutscher, Publications
Editor, The Foundation of Thanatology, New York, N.Y.  They have pointed out
that when funeral rituals--secular, religious, or humanistic--are acted out
that they serve to:  reinforce the reality of loss; help to dispel forms of
potential pathological denial; present dramatic testimony that a death has
occurred; show that a loss has been sustained; that people are mourning that
loss; and that these facts cannot be changed.

This period of acute grief permits the realities of loss to fall into a
perspective that relates what has been to what is to what will be in the
future.  The funeral gives the bereaved a kind of "time-out" and some
"time-off."  The events of the funeral process provide a different-from-normal
set of activities as well as relief from the accustomed routines for the
bereaved.  (O.S. Margolius, ed., et al.  GRIEF AND THE MEANING OF THE FUNERAL,
New York:  MSS Information Corp., 1975, Intro.)

The quotations cited below provide interesting statements and support for the
usefulness of the funeral service:

"The funeral service is psychologically necessary in order to give the
opportunity for 'grief work.'  The bereaved must be given the capacity to work
through this grief if he is to come out of that situation emotionally sound." 
(Eric Lindemann, Harvard Psychiatrist)

"Mourners should be assisted in their attempts to live with the memory of the
deceased; there are several ways in which we give this help.  One I believe is
through the tasteful showing of the body.  I could not bring myself to endorse
any sensational display or practices that are not in good taste.  However, it
can be very helpful for the bereaved family to see their loved one in repose. 
Viewing the body is another means by which the situation is focused on
reality.  Often it is helpful in relieving painful memories of a lingering
illness of a terrifying accident.  The committal service provides as nothing
else does so graphically, a symbolic demonstration that the kind of
relationship which existed between the mourner and the deceased is now at an
end."  (Rev. Paul Irion)

"It took me a long time to discover the values of a funeral ceremony.  I had
always abhorred and avoided them as pomposities and as a poor way to say
good-bye, a needlessly public way of paying one's private last respects.  And
then, on one especially personal occasion, I suddenly discovered what everyone
else had apparently known all along; that funerals are for the living, that
they cause us to come together in a way we otherwise never do, to lean on one
another, to feel the communality of emotions, to cry together, and yes, to
rejoice together, to rejoice in the one who has caused this coming together." 
(Leonard Bernstein's eulogy for singer Jennie Tourel.)

"I was recently again reminded of how valuable and legitimate a funeral
service can be.  I accompanied a friend to the funeral of his mother.  She had
died of a chronic and wasting illness and I had been present at her death bed.
 My friend experienced a deep and profound consolation seeing his mother with
the lines of suffering erased from her face and lying in peace."  (Dr. Charles
W. Wahl, Chief, Psychosomatic Service, UCLA.)

"The use of private or limited types of funeral services diminishes the
opportunity to talk about what has happened and thus curtails sharply the
whole purpose of the funeral process.  The private funeral service limits the
opportunity for talking out and so reduces the healing benefits of the
process.  Anything that is done at the funeral or in the varied events that
surround the ceremony can only be for those who survive and must continue to
live with their thoughts, hopes, and apprehensions."  (Dr. Edgar Jackson)

For still another interesting point of view about funerals, the book by
Jessica Mittford, THE AMERICAN WAY OF DEATH (New York:  Simon and Schuster,
1963) especially her chapter "Fashions in Funerals," pp. 187-201, will provide


Many of the functions of a funeral can be grouped or categorized into these
areas.  To look at functions in this manner may help to illustrate the broad
utility of the funeral as a continuing social ceremony.


- Provide opportunity for the community or group to sh

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