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Chapter 12

Chapter 12

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University of Guelph
PSYC 3570
Erin Allard

Chapter 12 – The Funeral Process I respect the dead because:  This also shows respect to the people who were close to them  It would violate social expectations if I did not show respect  It is difficult go on with out individual and communal lives until feelings and issues aroused by the death have been settled amicably  I am troubled by death, so this is a way to to do something positive  The dead have moved into a spirit realm whose god or gods I must respect  The spirits of the dead might take revenge on me if I did not show respect  I hope that my physical remains will be treated with respect when the time comes Remember and Respect Respect for the dead requires remembering the dead. Sometimes, though society seems in the grip of collect amnesia. What do Funerals Mean to Us? -There is something so fundamental in the human response to death that we need the physically, the companionship of the funeral -The funeral is a part of a deeper and more complex process in which we both separate ourselves from the dead and try to establish a new relationship with the dead and with each other. -There is also resistance to the funeral process as it has been variously criticized as too costly, time-consuming, depressing and artificial. From Dead to Living Memory: A Process Approach Common Elements of the Funeral Process Premortem Preparations: -Instructions for cremation or burial, disposal of personal property, colleagues might have to prepare for replacing the coworker, debts will be paid, transfers of the property and rules of inheritance is enforced Immediate Post death Activities: The death becomes official when a physician certifies it and immediate action is to contact next of kin. Preparations for Burial or Cremation: -Space of time between death and final disposition, to allow time for distant relatives and friends to gather for the funeral. Disposition of the body may also have to await financial arrangements Send for the Medical Examiner: A medical examiner may order an autopsy when there is the possibility of a danger to public health: the examination itself can vary. It may be sufficient to look for one or two telltale sign or dissection and examination of the body may also be considered necessary along with bacteriological and toxicological laboratory tests. Survivors’ Responsibilities After a Death Among some ethnic and religious groups the survivors have specific tasks to perform. These tasks help survivors express their affection for the deceased and support each other during the period of acute grief. Plastination: The Dead as Instructors Plastination is a process that converts materials into durable objects; water is removed, tissue dissected, acetone applied to further dehydrate and a silicone bath is provided under vacuum conditions. This process usually takes around a month. Up in Flames: The Cremation Alternative: Despite a number of problems associated with the cremation process, this form of body disposal has become increasingly utilizes even in strongly traditional societies. Today in the US cremation is selected by about 1 in 4 people. The Funeral Service Two major purposes of the funeral service include final placement of the remains and society’s public recognition that one if its members has made the transition from life to death. The underlying purposes remain: to make a final disposition of the body and to use this occasion as a way of acknowledging that a valued life has passed among us. Making Death “Legal” Establishing the Facts of Death A death is real but not official until certified, it is the responsibility of the physician to establish the principal facts of the death and initiate an investigation if questions arise. Many death certificates also omit other information that would be need to understand the circumstances if the individual’s death. What does the Funeral process accomplish? The funeral process would not have become so important to so many societies unless it served significant needs and values. Balancing the Claims of the Living and the Dead Another major function of the funeral process is to achieve a balance between the competing claims of the living a
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