Burying Our Own

Once you are settled into your funeral service career, it occurs to you that you will most likely embalm, cremate or otherwise personally handle the remains of your closest family members. So you come to terms with it, maybe even discuss it with them. Yes mom, I will personally come to your house and drive…


It’s Not Stupid At All

I just broke a massive sweat doing a bodyweight workout in my room. I’m old enough to get injured in my sleep now, so I had to cancel my gym membership (temporarily) and swap it for physical therapy, resistance bands and wonderful, wonderful Prednisone. If you’re arranging a funeral, and you have a request that…


Your First Death

“We have funerals every day. The families we serve do not.” This was on the sign of a prep room door, and is quickly forgotten by any funeral directors who have taken 3 a.m. calls from people whose mothers were given six months to live. We can’t do anything, but they don’t know that. We…


You’ll Find Something Else

It’s finally happened…I realize I say this a lot, and it’s always about something that was just waiting in the wings, something to which I am no longer immune. I’ve had a heart attack. It was “just a mild one,” according to my doctor. I didn’t even know what it was, didn’t seek help. I…


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…