Category: Embalming

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…


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…


How Much Does Restoration Cost?

I am pleased whenever I am asked intelligent questions about what I do, and I thought the cost of trauma restoration deserved its own post. First of all, restorative art is a term that can include several small procedures as well as large, labor-intensive work like accident victims or suicides. Many parts of the embalming…


Autopsy Explained

I don’t mean the entire procedure; I mean what you can expect when you make a funeral arrangement for someone who has been autopsied. Different counties and states have different methods of performing an autopsy. Most people know the trunk of the body is split open with the classic Y incision, but most autopsies include…


Dead People and Disease

My last post prompted a few questions about what diseases one can catch from a dead body, so I will cover the most common concerns here. The dead are, almost always, no more dangerous than the living. Touching the intact skin of a dead body, even a body that has been dead for days, is…


Kosher Embalming

Embalming is almost never required by law, not even for viewing purposes. Many funeral homes, churches and other places where viewing often takes place may have their own policies regarding viewing of unembalmed bodies, but these are not laws. For example, most funeral homes restrict public viewing of an unembalmed body and limit it to…


The Worst Thing I Have Ever Seen

Everyone wants to know. No one wants to know about my best day on the job; about times when I really came through for someone or went far above and beyond or made old Mrs. Jones smile when she saw that I remembered to put the teddy bear in the casket. They want to hear…