Category: Personal Stories

What It’s Like to Work For SCI

If you’re in mortuary school, or have been looking for a job for a while, you’ve probably been warned not to work for SCI. Nearly everyone in the industry works for SCI – the uninterestingly-named Service Corporation International – at some point. They’re the largest funeral service corporation in the world, so if you live…


My First Ramadan

As some of you know, I have recently converted to Islam. I have decided the best explanation I can offer for a decision involving radical lifestyle and value changes is no rational explanation at all; to merely leave you in wonder. This is simply the way things are now, and my reasons for suddenly becoming…


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 Might Stop It

Every morning, my dad would drive me to the bus stop and we sat in silence, in the snow and the 22-hour darkness, waiting. I used to wonder why he couldn’t just drive me to school; the time would be the same. Maybe he hated the drive and was half-asleep every morning. We were listening…


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…