The interior of a casket has many functions and can be as plain or as plush as one would like it to be. One's immediate concern when selecting a casket and considering the interior is usually the color of cloth, type of cloth, and possibly customized embroidery expressing something meaningful to the family and the decedent. Of course, awareness of color is important. If a woman is going to be dressed in a bright purple dress, one should not purchase a casket with a camouflage interior. Such a casket would be much more suitable for a great hunter, dressed in khaki cargo pants and a vented shirt, with lots of pockets for shotgun shells. The interior is important to consider because it expresses the love, comfort and attitude of the family for their departed loved one. It also compliments the exterior of the casket and improves the aesthetic presentation of the decedent to those who come to pay their respects.
The interior of a casket has many important and vital purposes that are often unknown to the person choosing the casket. In addition to the color, there are less obvious reasons for picking one casket over another based solely on interior functions. The casket interior has several flaps of material that drape around the sides. These flaps function to hide various items used to help pose the decedent into a pleasing or relaxed looking position. Without these flaps of cloth, friends and family would see foam wedges tucked here and there, holding up an elbow or lifting an out of balanced shoulder to a better height. They also soften the look of the interior so that it appears softer and more comfortable for the decedent.
The padded edging called the extendover, covers the harshness of the casket edges. It folds out over the edges concealing the gasket and any locking mechanisms. This is an important purpose as it protects the survivors from injury when they rest their arms and hands on the edge of the casket.
A rather large overstuffed pillow is included in the interior package of a finished casket. This pillow helps to hold the decedent in an inclined position. This position helps present a naturally comforting presentation to the survivors.
If choosing a half-couch casket, a skirt hangs over the middle bridge of the casket that blocks ones view into the lower end of the casket and covers any part of a gasket that might otherwise show. The skirt is attached to an overlay that serves to soften the harshness of the bridge. This skirt’s purpose is to help focus one's attention to the upper portion of the decedent’s body, yet also conceal the lower extremities. Quite often, a decedent’s feet are unable to accommodate shoes and in order to hide thier bare feet; the skirt is strategically placed to keep them from view.
The last and very important feature to discuss is the bed of the casket. The bed may be stationary or adjustable. An adjustable bed allows the mortician to adjust the pitch at which the decedent rests. Pitch can sometimes be vital depending on the condition of the body. From time to time, a decedent may need his or her head elevated above his or her feet. The pitch adjustable bed works in conjunction with the large overstuffed pillow, to achieve the best horizontal angle possible for the decedent. Adjusting the pitch of the bed also allows the decedent to be raised for better viewing. If the decedent is too low in the casket, friends and family will not be able to see his or her face when they are seated during the service.
Higher end caskets have an additional adjustment option. In addition to pitch control, they offer an adjustable roll axis. An adjustable roll axis is important for a comfortable presentation of the decedent. Rolling the decedent toward the viewing side of the casket allows for a more complete view of the decedent’s expression. When the bed has been rolled toward the survivors, they do not need to lean over the casket for a full view of the decedent’s face. For survivor’s who are not as tall as others, this consideration is much appreciated. Not only are they able to see their loved one with greater ease, their safety has been considered. When a survivor leans onto, over or into a casket, all sorts of mishaps are possible.
When choosing a casket, in addition to the aesthetic options available to you, inquire and explore the functional options. In so doing, you may be pleasantly surprised at how these subtle options enhance your overall experience.
At this juncture, it becomes apparent that the knowledge and expertise of your funeral director may be a great value to your overall funeral experience. Their proficiency and skill will ensure a more pleasing and comfortable farewell for you and other survivors.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer. I write books, weekly articles and brief tips on understanding and coping with grief.It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.