The Christian funeral practices have evolved (and continue to evolve!) in response to the flood of emotional and spiritual roller coasters death sends us on. The traditional “three days” between a death and the funeral in our tradition allows time to both attend to the “business” that needs to be attended to and to contact and receive family and friends. Setting time aside either at the funeral home or at some other venue to receive people allows us to be reminded that we are not alone and allows our friends to extend their care and express their sorrows.
The time is also important to us because it allows us to name who the person who has died has been, what he or she has meant to us, and what has been good and satisfying in his or her life. In a sense, this “naming” confirms and solidifies the memories and reminds us that this moment of death does not have the last word on life.