If you have chosen to have a wake or a viewing of the body for your loved one, you want the experience to be as therapeutic and as healing as possible. This is critical because it allows you and your guests to assuage your grief and move on while respecting the life that your loved one lived. You might feel that a wake that you hold will not be as therapeutic if your friends and family simply come to see the body and then leave immediately afterwards. Here are some tips for encouraging people to linger at the wake.
1. Create Circles of Chairs, Not Rows
First, talk to your funeral director and request that the chairs be set up in a series of smaller circles spaced throughout the room, rather than in rows. This will allow you to encourage your guests to sit with one another and talk to each other about the life of your loved one and share stories. If the chairs are in rows, then it is going to be much more difficult to talk to your friends and family because you will have to turn around awkwardly. Rows of chairs can also seem unfriendly. Simply talk to your funeral director ahead of time and make sure he or she is on board with your plan. Offer to put the chairs back in rows at the end if your funeral director seems hesitant.
2. Put Pictures Around the Room
Your next step is to place pictures of your loved one around the room. This will spark memories of your loved one in anyone who sees the pictures and will further encourage them to talk to one another and share the memories. People who don't remember the particular pictures will be able to talk to others and get more information about the memories that they are missing out on.
3. Include Refreshments
Talk to your funeral director and make sure that he or she is okay with having food on the main floor. If he or she is comfortable with that, then have a small table that has an assortment of cookies and sodas or coffee. People will not want to grab food and split but will also not want to stand and eat food. Having refreshments will help encourage them to move to the circles of chairs that you have set up ahead of time, increasing the chances that they will find themselves engaged in a riveting conversation that will keep them at the wake.
For more information, talk to a local funeral home, such as Fluehr Funeral Home.