When you are alive, who you are is very much tied up with what you look like. Your body is the embodiment of all that you are, an essential component of your identity. By your body others know you. It is you made manifest. And just as your body is precious to you, so are the bodies of those you love.

When someone dies, even if you think their soul or spirit has gone from their body, it may take you a while to get your head around that. Death is not a good time to get logical; you need to give your feelings time to catch up with what has happened.

If it is your strong feeling that the body is precious and is still, in some way, the person you knew, then you’ll want it to come to the funeral and you’ll want to say goodbye.

Given our feelings about dead bodies, nothing concentrates the mind like being in the same room as one. It brings home the reality of the death and greatly enhances the drama of the occasion.