The body of the person who died can is the most important symbol to include in the funeral service. Whether present in an open or unopened casket, the body serves as the emotional focus for mourners and helps them acknowledge and embrace their pain. When a body or cremated remains are buried or scattered, there is a “place” for families to go when they want to feel close to the person who died.
There has been a trend in recent years away from viewing the body of the person who has died. Sometimes when the body isn’t present, those attending the funeral will say, “Wasn’t that nice. Nobody even cried.” Actually, a funeral without at least a few tears is a funeral at which people may be repressing their pain.