Advanced search

chapel of rest - do I go or not?

(36 Posts)
mustangsally Tue 29-Apr-08 20:26:46

I know noone can really answer this but just wondered what people's experiences/thoughts are.

A very good friend of mine drowned last week, I loved him to bits and am heartbroken about it.

He's now in the Chapel of Rest but it's been 8days since he died. I feel I want to go and see him but my mum has said, and apologies because this is horrible, but that he will be 'going off' - that sounds so awful, she means that as time goes by he will be looking less and less like himself and by now it will be just be really upsetting to see him.

I'm totally torn between remembering him as he was and seeing him again to say goodbye.

I've only seen 1 other dead person, my nana, but she was very very old and had a peaceful death and I was with her when she died and saw her 2days later in chapel of rest so that was a totally different situation.

I am so sorry if this has upset anyone.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SquonkTheBeerGuru Tue 29-Apr-08 20:29:21

I went to see my gran and it didn't look anything like her. My lovely gran was a really rotund, jolly lady, and the person in the coffin was skinny and bony (I realise now that it was just because she wad dead, but at the time I was shocked at how different she looked)

I am glad I went though. I've often thought back and taken comfort in the fact that I said goodbye to her in my own way.

I think that if you want to go, and you are prepared for it not to look exactly like the friend you remember, then you should.

If, however, you can't face it, then don't worry about not going, it's entirely down to you.


WingsofanAngel Tue 29-Apr-08 20:30:36

I am sorry for your loss.

I don't think there is a right or wrong answer you have to do what you feel comfortable with.

You have to be able to cope with the fact that seeing him as he is now will not be as he was and that image might stay with you for a while.

Sorry I can't say yes or no.

LargeGlassofRed Tue 29-Apr-08 20:30:40

I went to see a friend after 8 days and he looked like he was asleep.

He had been dead in his car for a week so I expected him to look bad but really needed to say goodbye.
Am so glad I went.

HuwEdwards Tue 29-Apr-08 20:32:12

I saw my mum (many years ago) and like Squonk's experience, it didn't look anything like her. Made me quite angry actually.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bristols Tue 29-Apr-08 20:33:59

I'm pretty sure that bodies don't 'go off'. They are preserved using various processes and are kept cold.

I'm sorry to hear about your friend.

I saw my uncle over a week after he died and it was upsetting, but certainly not because of that. He didn't look like himself but I don't think anyone looks like themself once they have died. The facial muscles can no longer shape the face and the body can have a waxy look to it. It is also unsettling to touch a body and feel it so cold.

The reason I went to see my uncle is that he, too, died very suddenly and I knew that I'd have to see him to believe it was true. My grandparents and other uncles all died expectedly and so I didn't feel the need to see them.

I also apologise for any upset that may have been caused by what I have written.

I hope you manage to come to a decision soon.

DiscoDizzy Tue 29-Apr-08 20:34:27

Only you can decide. I remember seeing my nanna in the chapel of rest and it was about 2 weeks (took 3 weeks till funeral) after she'd died. I was pleased I did, she hadn't 'gone off' but she didn't look as though she was just asleep either. Whilst I remember this (when memory jogged), I never have this picture in my mind when I think about her.

Sorry for your loss mustangsally

ButterflyMcQueen Tue 29-Apr-08 20:35:25

my experience is kind of different in that i saw my `grandma the day after she died

for me - i was very glad i had gone - although she still looked different

i was able to say goodbye as i had not seen her in the couple of weeks up to her death

i cut some locks of her hair and gave her some photos - i talked alone to her and all in all it was very positive

just being with the person is good imo

say what you want to x

bristols Tue 29-Apr-08 20:35:26

tmmj -I didn't realise that. Definitely worth bearing in mind.

WingsofanAngel Tue 29-Apr-08 20:37:47

When my dad died suddenly a year ago next week.

I went to see him with the rest of my family.
It was only a short time after he had died. I needed to say goodbye but the image of seeing him stayed with me for many months. I am glad I did it.

Mercy Tue 29-Apr-08 20:40:55

I saw my dad 2 days after he died. He looked the same as usual but the day before the funeral (ie, 6 days after he died) the funeral director did warn us he was rather shrunken). My mum decided I shouldn't see him but tbh I have regretted going along with her decision.

Sorry to hear about your friend mustangsally sad

lucyellensmum Tue 29-Apr-08 20:47:20

i am so sorry for your loss mustang, how awful.

I saw my Dad the day after he died, still at the hospice - it was terrible, it really truamatised me. Just over a week later i saw him again at the chapel of rest, after the undertaker had done his job - i am so glad i did this as i would have been left with a terrible image of my lovely dad and i dont think i could have coped with that. They made him look like my dad again, he looked like he was asleep and i can never thank them enough for doing that. I couldnt stay and talk, it was enough to see that he looked like dad again, but for some reason i was more frightened than i had ever been in my life and when the attendant asked if i wanted to stay on my own, i dont think my feet touched the ground blush, can't explain that to this day.

Do what you feel, is there anyone who you could tactfully ask if your friend looks ok? Whatever you do, it will be the right thing, and you will always have the memories of your friend.

DorisIsAPinkDragon Tue 29-Apr-08 20:53:07

I agree with the mmj is there another way you can say goodbye to him or do you have to see him - maybe a place where you used to see him alot that was special to the both of you, I still remeber going to a special favorite tor of a family friend to say goodbye,
Sorry for your loss and hope you have good support to get you through this difficult time.

Sidge Tue 29-Apr-08 21:05:50

I'm sorry you have lost your friend sad

It's a really hard call to decide whether to visit or not. You may prefer to remember him as he was, or you may feel the need to say a final goodbye.

Not all victims of drowning look horrible, I would ask the funeral director just how different your friend looks. They are usually very diplomatic and will advise you if they think there is a big difference.

Your friend may well have been embalmed, where preservatives are used, and so the body doesn't "go off" quickly. Again I find funeral directors staff are very thoughtful and wouldn't allow an open viewing if the person looks very unpleasant (sorry if that sounds blunt I couldn't think of a better word).

I hope you find peace with whatever decision you make.

queenrollo Tue 29-Apr-08 21:18:08

i'd echo what sidge says....having liased with funeral directors through work, if you ask them they should guide you as to how different he may look. Speak with them and make your decision then.

When a good friend of mine died years ago i was too far away to go and see him, so i went down to the beach where we used to walk and sat and had a 'chat' with him. It brought me a sense of peace......

VaginaShmergina Tue 29-Apr-08 21:29:05

Mustangsally I am sorry you have lost a friend. sad

What a dilemma.

My experiences have actually all been the right choice. My grandparents all looked like they were sleeping and so did my brother. My cousin and her husband drowned on honeymoon and it was a long time before both of them were found. For obvious reasons we were not allowed to see them but your friend will have been emablmed his body will be as it was the day he died. He may still look different however.

We are "lucky" that the undertaker that has dealt with all our losses are family friends, however when I went to see my brother they did not quite have his hair right and we were allowed to fiddle. He died suddenly and I found it helped with saying goodbye.

Agree that if someone else has been, could you ask their opinion, also if you decide not to go then can you do something special that would be unique to you,or maybe a group of friends get together to celebrate his life, other than the funeral.

If you do go and he does not look quite right, at least you will have had the opportunity to say goodby to his physical being and if what you see is not what you expected it will stay with you for a bit but you have your memories and photos too I expect.

Wishing you strength over this difficult period.


Tinker Tue 29-Apr-08 21:37:26

I would ask the undertaker for advice. I really wanted to see my mum but she had been dead for 3 days before being found. He advised me not to see her. I do think the cause of death will make a difference here.

solodad Tue 29-Apr-08 21:39:05


As sidge says ask the funeral directors advice, they should be honest about the appearance of the body.

My dw died very suddenly just over 12 months ago. I saw her body in the hospital very shortly afterwards. I'm glad I managed to, but it was very brief, I was out of there in seconds. My PIL went down to the hospital within the next couple of days, but were not well looked after, so decided to go to the chapel of rest at the funeral directors. By the time that was arranged the funeral director advised that the appearance of her body was not really suitable for viewing. (sorry all)

I hope you come to the right choice for you.

dippymother Thu 01-May-08 16:09:35

My dad died of throat cancer and my mum and I went to the Chapel of Rest to see him. We had been with him at the hospice and said our goodbyes there but wanted to see him one final time before the funeral. However when we arrived at the Chapel of Rest, we were gently advised not to see him as they felt he had deteriorated too much (bearing in mind the cancer had disfigured his face before death anyway) and that we may find it very upsetting. So we didn't see him and I have never regretted that decision, based on the advice given at the time.

I am sure that the funeral directors will be able to give you sound advice, which may help you decide one way or another.

VaginaShmergina Thu 01-May-08 18:30:29

Hello Mustang, have you managed to come to a decision? Hope you are OK ? x

surprise Sat 03-May-08 23:43:03

Just reading your post made me cry. I went to see my grandmother and really, really wished I hadn't. She looked like she was asleep, but she wouldn't wake up. It was horrible. I loved her so much and I wish I could remember her in life, rather than in death. My mum was with me (it was her mum) and she kissed her and said goodbye to her, which made it worse. I still remember the blackness of her fingers. I really found it hard to deal with, and still do even now and it was 11 years ago.

Tortington Sat 03-May-08 23:52:18

sorry for your loss.

if you are allowed to see him in the chapel of rest then the morticians will have done a good job.

i think there i a middle ground

i think you can go to the chapel of rest - say your goodbyes but not actually see him

i saw my gran - it didn't look anything like her, and it did nothing for me

i was unable to see my mum last year - it was a closed coffin due to the nature of her death.

but that was fine - i don't have any regrets about it or anything. i went to he chapelof rest before the funeral and that was ok for me.
v. personal decision.

scottishmummy Sat 03-May-08 23:57:37

So Sorry about your sad news -whatever you decide to do you loved have happy warm take care of yourself, no stiff upper lip either if you are upset ask for support

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now