Krause Funeral Homes has been a part of Milwaukee County for over 80 years. Because of our longevity in the community, it is true we have been serving some families for generations. But from time to time, a family will come to us that has never had to plan a funeral before. As you can imagine, they have a lot of questions about the options available, and our experienced team is always ready to help them understand every decision they have to make.
One area in which there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding is with visitations. Some people aren’t sure if they should have one, most often because for some reason they don’t want to have an open casket, and that’s what they immediately think of when they think of visitations. We are quick to explain to them the difference between a viewing and a visitation.
You can absolutely have a visitation without having a viewing. This is especially for Jewish and Muslim families to understand, as their faith typically does not allow for embalming, thus making a viewing impossible. A visitation is simply a moment of quiet for those who loved the deceased to come and visit with the family, offering memories of their loved one and sharing their support and love.
A visitation can also be a time where you express your loved one’s personality. You may choose to have it at a church or even your home, but holding it at Krause Funeral Homes gives you access to our beautiful, state-of-the-art facilities as well as our expertise in planning. We can help you personalize a visitation by adding memory tables, displaying photos, favorite items, and more. Some families choose to display their loved one’s military or police uniform. Was your grandmother an artist? Exhibit her work. Did your dad love the Packers? Plan a Packer-themed visitation and ask everyone to wear their favorite team shirts.
Krause Funeral Homes was also the first funeral home in the Milwaukee area to offer full catering, beer, and wine on site. This is another way you can tell the story of your loved one’s life, while offering hospitality and comfort to those who come to offer their sympathy.
Many families choose to include a viewing during the visitation, with the casket present – either open or closed. If you’re unsure what to do, or there will be young children at the visitation, you may choose to do a private viewing before the visitation, with just family and very close friends.
We have found, however, there are some positive benefits from having an open-casket viewing at a visitation:
- It can emphasize the reality of their departure, helping you and others advance towards acceptance on the grief journey.
- If the person lost had been through a prolonged illness, seeing them in repose can help you accept they are now at peace and do not suffer anymore.
- If the last time you saw your loved one was traumatic, or perhaps you found them in a less than dignified state, having this moment as your final memory of them can provide comfort.
The bottom line is this is a very personal choice and there is no right or wrong decision. It is completely up to you and your family – your preferences, traditions, and religious views. Don’t ever feel like you have to give an explanation for your choice to anyone. If you have very strong opinions on this topic, you might consider preplanning to make sure your wishes are followed.