Category: Embalming

When There’s No Head

This Reader Question, about working on a headless body, comes from my mom: “Was the head missing? If it’s just detached, do you fix it up enough to put it with the body? Do people bury just the body? Do people just bury whatever pieces they have?” In my career, I have only worked on…


Reader Question

Hello all, I’ve decided to answer another reader question. Yes, I am a freelance/on-call/trade embalmer, and I also do removals and run errands and meet with families and work services. I can accept or decline assignments at will. I can be on call for weeks at a time or not at all. I work for…


Non-Viewable Case; Part 2

It actually took several more days before he was ready to ship. The second day, I came back to check on the presence of tissue gas. The places where I made the incisions had no gas building up, but there was gas in some of the surrounding tissues. I made several more incisions in his…


Gross Stuff

Before embalming my recent non-viewable case, I spent three hours driving him to the funeral home. I talked. We bonded. I said I don’t mind that he smells bad. This one didn’t talk back, and I didn’t want him to. This case was just way too close to home. The smell of decomp stopped bothering…


Extensive Preservation of the Non-Viewable Case

Usually, embalming is not done for a non-viewable case unless it is required for mausoleum entombment or airline shipping. This is the process of preparing such a case for an international flight. When shipping any human remains, you cannot be too careful with your method of preservation. Pressure changes during shipping can cause the body…


To Aspirate or Not?

I’ll take a break from my discussions about transvestite cops and child abuse to discuss something I’ve never discussed on this blog – embalming! Seriously, though – all of my posts are in some way related to funeral service. I interact with a lot of cops. I work on people who have been shot by…


On Makeup

This could also be considered the last in my Facial Laceration Repair posts…for this case, anyway. I came back one more day before the funeral and re-sutured, re-waxed and re-cosmetized everything again, and she ended up looking…good. Good as in, like someone who had not been in a car accident. On the day of the…


Autopsy Repair Timeline

So in between my work on the double homicide, I had another family come in who lost their sister in a car wreck. She hadn’t even been released from the medical examiner, and they wanted to see her RIGHT NOW. It was 2pm. Medical examiner stops releasing at 3. The drive is an hour. A…


Facial Repair, Three More Days

Christmas Eve, right after church while still wearing my silk dress, I drove to the funeral home and removed the cosmetics, wax and sutures from the facial wound. I scraped out all of the absorbent powder and stuffed the wound with phenol-soaked cotton, then left it overnight. I saw blood on the pillowcase so I…


Repairing a Facial Laceration, Stage 1

Today’s case was harder than I imagined and will need more work. Luckily the funeral isn’t for another week so I will have plenty of time. I will document, as much as I can without breaching ethics, the steps I took. I was presented with a middle-aged slightly obese autopsied female, partially frozen. On the…