I never thought so. Until today. Until I attended the viewing of my Mom's body, and I kept hearing over, and over, "she looks so beautiful".
I hardly ever attend funerals, and when I do, I never view the body in the casket, unless I am in a crowd or line, and am pressed physically in that direction.
My Mom's viewing lasted 4 hours. I sat in a nice room, meeting and greeting people, and did not intend to go look at her in that casket. But they all kept telling me, she looked beautiful.
Not just nice, or not merely lovely, or peaceful, or good...they said "beautiful". All of them. Whether they were dry or teary eyed, they said my lifeless Mom looked beautiful, that her hair, her skin, her beautiful 3-piece suit just looked beautiful, that the yellow and white suit was perfect, that she was just smashing, and "beautiful". I took her shopping years ago, bought her that outfit before she got so infirm, and when going through her closet after her death, that was the only one she had kept.
Three minutes before the lid was to be closed, I walked and looked.
Well, she was absolutely beautiful.
Tomorrow comes the open casket funeral. I almost strangled my brother for that, but my thought was that he needed this, as he had taken care of her for the last 5 years when she could not take a single step, and he took her to the bathroom, bathed her, cut her hair, clipped her nails, ground her food, spoon fed her, turned her in the bed, and all that. I sat with her, cooked for her. The last food she ate was a soup I had made.
He wanted to show everyone that he kept her beyond clean and comfortable. He kept her skin beautiful. He kept her hair beautiful.
The ritual of viewing a deceased person thansformed into being a testament to a commitment of two children who wanted the world to see, alive or dead, their Mom, in all her beauty, displayed for all who loved her, was worth it, and I am glad I didn't strangle my brother over the open casket thingie.
She will be buried tomorrow, forever loved, forever beautiful.