Category: Embalming

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…


101 Things

In the manner of another blogger I follow, Caleb Wilde, here are 101 things I have done as a funeral director. 1. Dressed a body in one of my own suits when she had no clothes 2. Put one of my own cashmere scarves on a body to cover an incision 3. Worked a whole…


Piecing it all Together

If I might make a rule, please let me view the body before setting a service and viewing date with the family. Ideally, I like to have three days for a reconstruction case. I need to give the chemicals time to permeate all tissues of the body so I can have a firm, dry surface…


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…