Bizarre, or just a sign of the culture of our times: Drive-thru Viewing at Funeral Homes
The funeral industry that has often been criticized for being something of a ‘dinosaur’ is certainly now demonstrating some assimilation of modern cultural trends. The introduction by some funeral homes of web-casting of funeral services, was viewed by many as a rather morbid assimilation of modern technology and the rather stoic profession of funeral directors.
Now it seems another monolith of modernity – the drive-thru – is being embraced by some within the funeral industry. The ‘drive-thru’ is something synonymous with convenience, allowing us to access goods and services, with minimal effort and deviation. So how can the drive-thru work for the funeral industry?
According to an article recently published in the LA Times, one funeral home in the Greater Los Angeles area, offers drive-thru viewings for its customers and community. The drive-thru involves a large glass window on the side of the funeral home, where the recently deceased can be laid out in all their grandeur, for all and sundry to view.
Adams Mortuary in Compton introduced the glass-encased viewing chamber as a means to enable their community to view those they had lost en masse, and believed it was a step forward from the webcam view of a viewing.
This drive-thru viewing chamber is believed to be the only one of its kind in Southern California, although similar chambers exist in Chicago and Louisiana. The mortuary believe it offers people who would not feel comfortable attending the funeral, or even entering a funeral home, the option to pay their last respects.
There is another more sinister reason behind the glass chamber viewing room. The gang shoot-outs at funerals in the 1980’s led to a fear by many of attending graveside services to pay their last respects. And the glass at Adams Mortuary is reported to be bullet-proof, not that the mortuary claim this is relevant to their community viewings today.
Needless to say, in a culture where being able to view a deceased to pay those final respects is important and symbolic, this drive-thru option is surely a way to enable a more shared and accessible service.
It may not be for everyone, and I am sure it will not become a popular trend, but the drive-thru viewing surely has its place in modern deathcare culture.
Drive thru Funeral of a ‘fast food’ kind
Drive-thru funerals hit the news again this weekend. This time the nature of the drive-thru funeral was to personalize a funeral service to commemorate the memory of the deceased. In Pennsylvania David Kime Jr. was known for his love of ‘Big Whoppers’ and his family opted to give him a last drive-thru visit.
The funeral procession passed through the drive-thru and 40 burgers were served up to the funeral party. As Kime’s casket was lowered, his final burger was placed on top of it.
This kind of drive-thru funeral puts a whole new connotation on the drive-thru viewing aspect of funerals, but this story certainly highlights how customization is becoming an intrinsic component of death care rituals today.
The recent reality television program ‘Best Funeral Ever’ has maybe helped to inspire the imagination of many Americans about just what kind of ritual they can plan for their final send-off.
One thing is certain, we are likely to see more of the bizarre and extraordinary emerge, as we chose to personalize our funeral rituals.