I think everyone who has ever been to a funeral has seen the Funeral Director and Funeral Assistants bow at the coffin. Before I began working in the Funeral Industry, I never really thought much about why they did it. It was just something that happened and I accepted that, as I am sure many others do.
So why do Funeral Directors bow at coffins? Respect.
The aim when working with any family is to show their loved one as much dignity and respect as possible. Even though this person may not be walking on this earth any longer does not mean that they deserve any less respect. We also want to show our respect for the family and friends of deceased. They shared a story with them, the story could have been good or bad but it was a story nevertheless. Disrespecting the deceased or their loved ones is just a major no no. It’s completely unacceptable. While we care and respect the deceased we also need to care and respect the families, everyone handles grief in a different way and making sure that they are properly supported and confident in the care we are providing their loved one is imperative.
not only by treating them with respect but also visually showing our respect is very important. We want people to know that we care, and if we could also get rid of that typical image of a Funeral Director all old and decrepit with a long black trench coat that creeps even the most hardened person out – that would be great!
Bowing at the coffin is also a way of us letting go and saying goodbye. Just because we didn’t meet the person in life doesn’t mean we aren’t touched some way by their death. Even though we can do multiple funerals a week there are always those little aspects of every person that get your attention and stick with you, we are only human after all. So, having a way for us to say that final farewell is also very important.
Bowing at a coffin is something that was widely practiced. There was once a time when even strangers would bow their heads at a coffin if it drove past in a hearse as a sign of respect. Unfortunately, that last respect is hardly practiced anymore, I can count on one hand the amount of people who have bowed their heads at a coffin when I’ve been driving a hearse. What I can’t keep track of are the amount of people who have no issue with cutting off a hearse or getting in the way of a Funeral Procession. I think that as a society we should stop and pause and bring some of that respect back. Giving respect and dignity to someone who could never repay you has to be the most ultimate form of honour that could be bestowed on a person.
Realistically, bowing at the coffin comes at the end of a very respectful journey between a Funeral Director and the deceased, in a way that makes sense because, it’s the end of their journey too.
Have you ever noticed a Funeral Director bowing at a Coffin? Would you bow your head at a Coffin in a Funeral Procession?
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