It’s His Birthday

I don’t even have the case for sure and already I’m wondering about using that auditorium I used for my car wreck family that had 500 guests, because this one will have far, far more. Should I put all the kids in one casket or one of the babies with Mom? How many hearses? Last…


What $200 Got This Family

Teen motorcycle wreck found by his mom. He has to look perfect. I rebuilt features. There was a drill used. I sank fifteen hours into him, told the director if my fee was an issue I would donate my time, and he looks…well, you know, amazing. One for the personal pride log. I should be…


To See What It Felt Like

Yesterday started with me getting punched in the face, and ended with me doing a removal after sitting in dog pee. And with that, jaundiced bodies tend to be very difficult cases. Short version: jaundice is produced by a chemical known as bilirubin, which stains the skin a bright yellow. Formaldehyde + bilirubin = biliverdin…


What The Bullet Will Do

An athletic body, a bored look on her face, and a gaping hole in the very center of her chest where she shot herself with a handgun. No embalming, service was on a Saturday and the cemetery guys complained about it. I asked if she was Jewish because the family wanted the least expensive casket…


Three Teeth

Some people never realize, until they reach adulthood, just how poor they were as kids. When I was a kid I thought I got plain noodles every night because I was lucky. I didn’t know that was all we could afford. We sure couldn’t afford dentistry, so it was a huge deal when I chipped…


Our Own Personal Limitations

When I first started on the job, I practiced the way far too many interns do – handling the body too softly, as though it were a newborn baby. It is natural to work with great care when tasked with such an important job, but sometimes, you have to be forceful. Embalming is not a…


I’ll Dress the Unembalmed Body

I recently took a case from another funeral home, and when I was picking him up, I grabbed a copy of their General Price List, the document that all funeral homes are required to distribute either upon request or during the arrangement, which lists all services provided and their prices…subject to change at any time,…


Correct Holiday Grieving

I don’t do resolutions, except when I make them deliberately stupid, like when I resolved to pay more attention to the Kardashians and ended up binge-watching twelve seasons and buying their cookbook and developing opinions about their lives. Personally, I think the whole show went to hell when Khloe and Lamar split. Why not give…


He Has To Look Perfect

Twenty-five years old and well-known in what some call the “urban world,” shot dead in a setup. He happened to be the friend of someone in the business and I was requested to prepare this case for viewing because “…he has to look perfect, you know…everyone knew him…” For any embalmer, there is no greater…


Have You Ever Seen A Ghost?

I have not. I used to feel cheated. So many people tell me of their experiences with the ghostly underworld, and they’re just regular people with regular lives. I see and touch death every day and the ghosts apparently don’t want to stop by. But one of those regular people said it best: do I…