On Casket Prices

The cheap casket is fine. Really. A low-end metal casket at a funeral home might cost around $1000 or slightly less. It will do the job, and most likely, at the service, the appearance of the casket will go unnoticed. People will remember the color, was it open or closed, and how well the body,…


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…


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…


How Much Does She Weigh?

It has finally happened – I have a bad back. I’ve gotten old. I own heating pads and go to physical therapy and sometimes even have to turn down work. Several years ago, I was the one who got called when there was a 350-lb body in the morgue. I’ve lifted 300-lb bodies off toilet…


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…