When someone dies, their loved ones often choose clothing to dress them in for the funeral service. They can either select clothes they’ve worn in life or purchase new outfits that reflect the deceased’s personality and interests. It’s common for older people to choose a more formal outfit while younger people may opt for less formal attire that speaks to their personality and lifestyle. For example, if Grandma was a dedicated baker or Dad was a fisherman a pair of fishing pants and an embroidered hat might be perfect.
In many cultures, including those of the Christian faith, it’s a tradition to dress the dead in clothing that was worn in life. It’s also a way to help loved ones grieve in a way that’s personal and unique to the individual. However, there are situations when the person’s own clothing isn’t appropriate for burial. This is due to the fact that the body may have lost or gained weight and because of the stiffness caused by rigor mortis.
For these scenarios, funeral directors often provide a selection of burial gowns for families to choose from. These are typically made of light-weight cotton or linen and are designed to drape over the body, allowing for easy movement. They are also designed to be comfortable and soft against the skin, which helps comfort loved ones who are grieving.
Another benefit of burial gowns is that they are designed to be easily put on, either by a funeral director or by the loved ones of the deceased. This is an important consideration because dressing a deceased person can be emotionally and physically challenging. It’s also important that the garment is lightweight to make it as stress-free as possible.
The selection of burial apparel can be overwhelming for some loved ones, but there are ways to narrow down the options. A great place to start is by checking if the person left any instructions on their death wishes. Whether it’s in a will or a note, this will give you clues as to their preference.
Aside from checking for specific instructions, loved ones can also check their closet to see if they have an outfit that they’ve set aside for just such a time as this. It’s common for people to do this when they realize that they are getting closer to their end-of-life and have been trying to prepare accordingly.
Other sources of burial clothes can be found through non-profit agencies and stores that specialize in infants, like Beverly Duckett. She crafts tiny burial gowns for the infants who never come home from the hospital, as well as a variety of other custom angel gowns for grieving parents who are struggling to find peace with their loss. It’s a labor of love that gives some relief to the countless grieving parents who must cope with a premature loss. In her bright second-floor sewing room, Duckett’s work offers hope and comfort to families as they deal with a difficult situation.