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Having a chance to say a final goodbye is important for many people. It can form part of the grieving process and help with the realisation that someone has died.

The chapel of rest is a place where family and friends have the chance to say goodbye and pay their respects to a loved one before the funeral service takes place.

For some visiting the Chapel of Rest can be a worrying prospect, but even more so in the current climate, and some will be unsure if it is right for them, it can be a very emotionally painful experience.

It’s a hugely personal choice, that takes into account the individual’s feelings and beliefs along with those of the immediate family. Many people feel it is traditional to see their loved one, one last time, while others may prefer to remember them how they were.

If someone has died due to a notifiable disease or in an accident it may not always possible to see a loved one in the Chapel of Rest due to the injuries they received, however in most instances, it is possible to sit with a closed coffin.

Visiting the Chapel of Rest with an Open Coffin

Traditionally when you visit the Chapel of Rest the coffin will be open, allowing visitors to see their loved one. But the prospect of an open coffin can be hugely concerning for some people. The biggest worry is perhaps what the deceased will look like and if any changes may have occurred since death.

If a family opt for visitation we always recommend that the deceased is embalmed and the family bring in some of the deceased clothes for them to be dressed in. This will allow for some familiarity in what would usually be a very unfamiliar setting. We will also ask for a recent photographs to work from, so that we can ensure that hairstyles are set and cosmetics are correct.

Many people find great comfort in visiting the Chapel of Rest, it allows then a quiet time to be with their loved and reflect on happier times. It may be the case that they were not able to be with their loved one when they passed away or have difficult memories of their final moments. The peace and serenity of the Chapel of Rest and knowing that their loved one is being well looked after and is at peace can be hugely beneficial in the day, weeks and months to come.

If someone is concerned about visiting the Chapel of Rest but feels they should visit, we often recommend that someone visits the Chapel first on their behalf, usually a close family member. The family member can ensure that all is as it should be and then set everyone’s mind at rest, allowing visit to take place.

Whatever your feelings, a visit to the Chapel of Rest must be a personal choice but we will always do all we can to allay any fears or concerns that you may have.

Visiting Our Chapel of Rest

Each of our offices has its own private Chapel of Rest, decorated and furnished to portray a calm and relaxing atmosphere, they are quiet, dignified rooms where family can spend time with their loved one. Many of our Chapels of rest also have an additional space adjoining them where family can meet and support each other. These areas have the added benefit of allowing anyone who does want to go into the Chapel of Rest to still attend and offer support to other family members..

You’ll need to make an appointment to visit and we are closely following the advice from Public Health England. We are currently restricting the number of people on the chapel to two at a time. But we will do all we can to make sure everyone who wants to visit can pay their last respects.

Once the funeral arrangements have been confirmed, you should allow at least three working days before making appointments at the chapel of rest. This gives us time to complete any legal documents and prepare the coffin and the deceased in the way you would prefer to remember them.

Chapel Etiquette

In most cases the atmosphere in the chapel of rest is much more informal than that of a funeral service. The general rule is to behave in a way that the family considers appropriate.

Talking in the chapel of rest is quite common; mourners might say a few final words or read a poem. Dressing is also usually less formal than what would be expected during the funeral service, although in some cases there may be specific religious requirements for what to wear.

Finally when it comes to taking pictures, it’s a matter of respect, so be sure that the family are happy for photography to take place.

Visiting the Chapel of Rest and Coronavirus Restrictions

Here at S Stibbards & Sons Ltd we know how important that last goodbye is to families and work hard to give relatives the chance to visit a loved one in the chapel, even if that person has passed away due to coronavirus.

And it’s unfortunately a time when many are unable to visit their loved ones at hospitals and nursing homes because of the restrictions.

So, we think it’s even more important to give families that time before the funeral takes place. Our only restriction is that only two family members may attend the chapel at a time. But we will work with you to ensure that everyone who wants to visit is able to pay their respects.

Safety is a priority for us. Staff always use the recommended PPE and as an extra safety measure we ask families if we can embalm those entrusted into our care. Embalming slows the natural decay of the body and will also allow you a longer time to visit a loved one before the funeral service.

Getting in Touch

If you want to discuss a loved one’s funeral arrangements please get in touch. One of our funeral arrangers will talk through your needs and help you celebrate their life.

We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you have a general enquiry please use the contact form and we will quickly get back to you.

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Supporting You Along The Way

If you wish to have a discussion with one of our funeral arrangers, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We can talk through yours and your loved one’s needs and discuss how we can best celebrate their life.