May 14, 2011
Grand Canyon University
The following paper will be part interview and part essay. A local funeral director was interviewed about final preparations, the purpose of a modern funeral, how people cope with death, and unusual request for funeral services. A brief discussion how some modern funeral traditions were originated and why death is almost always attached to fear will also be addressed.
Death is still reacted to with fear even with all the modern scientific and medical knowledge that is available to our society. Since no one has ever died and returned to tell about what death is really like, we as humans have a natural fear of what is not understood or cannot be controlled (www.wyfda.org 1). The typical response to death is avoidance because death is not a pleasant topic of conversation. Most speak of people dying and not focusing on themselves. Fear has been a response to death since primitive times; this fear started the first burial rituals, that were meant to protect the lining from the spirits, which caused the death (1). Along with the burning of corpses to destroy evil spirits, some cultures would eat the deceased as a show of respect to the person who died (www.anthropology.uwaterloo.ca 2). The fear of the dead carried over into religious thought and sacrifices of all kinds were made in honor of the dead and to appease the spirits.
A modern funeral for most cultures is a spiritual experience. According to a local funeral director, Charlie Kurrus (Kurrus Funeral Home), wakes that are held today are derived from ancient customs of keeping watch over a body and that the floral offerings were to gain favor from the spirits of the deceased (Kurrus, Charlie 3). Also he stated that modern funeral preparations vary between religious beliefs and customs. The advice given as a funeral director is based on fact and not personal views. The funeral initiates the grief cycle while also bringing...