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FAQ – Can My Family Still Hold a Funeral?

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woman with lily flowers and coffin at funeral

Q: If I donate my body through MedCure, can my family still hold a funeral for me?

Unfortunately, a traditional viewing isn’t possible with whole body donation. The demands of medical research do not allow enough time for traditional funeral arrangements and can otherwise make a viewing impractical. However, there is nothing to prevent families from remembering their loved ones in special and meaningful ways.

When the family contacts MedCure to notify us of the donor’s passing, our Donation Coordination team will ask the family if they are ready for us to contact a funeral home. If the family would like a little more time to say their goodbyes, we can usually accommodate the request, so long as the funeral home is able to bring the donor into their care within a few hours of passing.

Alternative Options to a Funeral

Some families will choose to hold a memorial ceremony for their loved one after they accept the return of the cremated remains, in order to allow extended family and friends to say their farewells. These ceremonies can look very much like traditional funerals if the family wishes. They can even include having a spiritual leader preside over a formal service. Photographs and home videos can be displayed. Eulogies may be offered, and friends and loved ones may give readings or share their memories of the departed with the gathering. Often, these familiar rituals can give comfort to the people the donor has left behind.

There are, however, many other options. MedCure generally returns the donor’s cremated remains within about 8-12 weeks of passing. This extra time can allow family to create unique and special ways of remembering a loved one. They might decide to celebrate the donor’s life by having a party. Those who have been separated by distance can use this opportunity to travel to the event, and the sense of festivity can make some people feel closer to the individual they lost.

Others might consider a memorial gesture, such as a butterfly release. This can make for a beautiful commemoration of someone who possessed a deep love of nature or a strong environmental commitment.

Then there are those who would prefer to host a fundraiser or to otherwise coordinate a charitable donation to be made in their loved one’s name. The possibilities are endless and limited only by what feels right for each family.

Communicating Your Wishes

No matter what kind of memorial service you choose, MedCure encourages all donors to discuss their intent to participate in whole-body donation with their families and loved ones well before their time of passing. By communicating clearly and openly, donors can help ensure that those they leave behind will have many warm and treasured memories to share with others and to comfort them into the future.