Category: Workdays

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…


(Don’t) Let The Bodies Hit The Floor

I’ve dropped people. Luckily never in front of a family, but over the last decade I’ve dropped a few bodies on bathroom floors, in elevators, in hospital garages and on the prep room floor. I’ve collapsed gurneys too soon when taking them out of the van, or when trying to move a body from the…


Death – It’s Happening!

I love going on removals. I love being the family’s first contact with the funeral home, the chance to make a good first impression, and since I’m also an embalmer, I know the importance of not wrapping the face too tightly in plastic or carelessly storing the body in the cooler without regard to positioning….


How to Dress a Deceased Person

When I did my internship and actually touched a dead body for the first time, I understood why people said it was harder than dressing a squirming baby. My boss told me if I was ever having trouble getting the clothing on, I could cut it. I could split suit jackets up the back, cut…


From the Cradle to the Grave

Or, in my case, from the removal/place of death to the grave. This is how I prefer to take care of my families. Rather than having someone to get the body, someone to meet with the family, someone to greet and seat them (before pitching pre-paid funeral plans), someone to embalm the body, someone to…


I Didn’t Open The Bag

Never accept “there’s only one down there” for an answer. If you arrive at a hospital or nursing home to pick up Harold, even if there is only one deceased person in the entire building, you must verify that person is Harold before assuming custody. Hopefully, Harold will have an ID band (or even better,…


Immediate Family Only

Once again: embalming is not required for viewing. Funeral homes are required to tell you this, in writing and when you meet with them. However, each funeral home or other facility can set their own policies when it comes to viewing of an unembalmed body, and most will restrict viewing to immediate family only. Although…


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…


Do You Want Her Dressed?

Or rather: “What would you like your mother to wear?” It doesn’t matter if we’re “just gonna burn her up.” She needs to wear something. She can wear a sheet, she can wear a hospital gown, but she cannot wear nothing. My purpose isn’t necessarily to see that all my cases are fully dressed; it’s…