Category: Embalming

The Case No One Wants

I don’t normally use content warnings on any of my posts. This is a site about funerals, embalming, death and grief. Most people know it’s going to sometimes be too graphic for their tastes, and can choose to avoid posts filed under “Embalming”, for example. I get a lot of comments from people thanking me…


And The Day He Died

I can find a carotid artery with my eyes shut and one hand behind my back, and when I was still in school I made good on this in front of several other students. My hands knew the motion, knew the depth and location of the cut to make, and my fingers knew what to…


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…


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,…


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…