The Value of the Open Casket

open casketI was surprised by the open casket. While I have been to other funeral’s, I have not been involved in the funeral planning — I won’t complain about being a newbie to this task at 49 years of age.

When I shared my expectation of our visit with my brother, had we been in better humor, he would have just given me a look and added “dope”. It’s funny how much of  our banter hasn’t really changed over the decades.

We both commented that we’d never choose an open casket, but a few days later, I’m happy I had the experience. My Dad looked stately and peaceful. He was in his “dress blues” which is akin to a military tuxedo. I typed up the obituary he wrote in the event of his death, and in it, he shared that “Duty, Honor, Country” are the words he felt fit his entire career as an engineer in the U.S. Army.

While my Dad had dementia and some days he was a little less put together, he still resembled his former self, just a little tuned-out.  My Dad’s appearance changed drastically over the last two months of his life. He lost nearly 50 pounds and his tongue and throat started to swell.

The last time I got to see him in his open casket, I got to revisit the father, the soldier, the man he should be remembered as. Moved.