TheGov
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Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Mon Apr 04, 2005 1:34 pm

Okay, I'll add my topic to this ever evolving list of "Ask a ??? a question".

So, as a licensed funeral director and embalmer, feel free to ask me a question.
Always a pallbearer, never a corpse.
 
pl4nekr4zy
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Mon Apr 04, 2005 1:35 pm

Why did you choose this career?
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AJBUS300
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Mon Apr 04, 2005 1:39 pm

yea, why and do you ever have nightmares with the dead people you work on?

Do you wash your hands A LOT like after you wash them just out of grossness?

Do you eat right after you embalm or do you find that repulsive?

Are you ever afraid of the dead person you are working on from coming to life and touching you or the spirit be standing behind you or something?

In the embalming process, what EXACTLY is it that you do?...give details

SOrry lots of questions but not often you get to ask a person in your profession questions......and if y'all are wondering, yes I am a big fan of the show "family plots" on AE......
Live each day as if it was your last day on God's beautiful green earth
 
AsstChiefMark
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Mon Apr 04, 2005 1:40 pm

Gov: That's cool! I have two friends that are funeral directors. Sometimes they call me to help them move bodies, caskets, and vaults. I enjoy watching them work with families. The compassion and professionalism is amazing. It's something I've thought about adding to my repertoire of professions. How much more education is required if I'm already a BSN?

Mark
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TheGov
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Mon Apr 04, 2005 1:43 pm

Pl4nekr4zy ~ I ask myself that question from time to time. But, in all honesty, it is a calling. I enjoy serving the families that call on me. It is an awesome task to help a family deal with the death of a loved one. Even after almost 10 years in this business, I still don't always know what to say. But, they are counting on me to deal with something that they may only deal with every 10 years. There is a great amount of self-satisfaction when a family knows and acknowledges that you have given them the best service you can for their loved one. That makes it worth doing day in and day out.
Always a pallbearer, never a corpse.
 
Confuscius
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Mon Apr 04, 2005 2:08 pm

Please describe how to use a trocar in the embalming process.
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ACDC8
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Mon Apr 04, 2005 2:39 pm

This is what I've always wanted to know. Since you are around death all the time. What are your views on the death of your loved ones or yourself?

cheers,
Patrick
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TACAA320
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Mon Apr 04, 2005 2:45 pm

Did you have any scary experience[s] in your career?

If yes, can you describe it?

Thanks,
'Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind'. Albert Einstein
 
flybyguy
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Mon Apr 04, 2005 3:30 pm

What is done with decomposed bodies? Are they dressed or kept in bodybags for burial? Are they still embalmed?

Is sterilization of tools necessary if they are used on the deceased?

When bodies are shipped, are they shipped in crates or original caskets? Is dry ice used in the preservation process for the journey?

My parents have seriously considered building a family tomb overseas, but in that particular country there seems to be no experts on the subject, can you refer them to anyone that may have some clue how to do it?

[Edited 2005-04-04 08:35:07]
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aerorobnz
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Mon Apr 04, 2005 6:35 pm

Would you do the full Egyptian embalming/mummification process if requested by the deceased?

Personally I believe that if you can handle the families in this job, you could do just about any job in the world. I have the utmost respect for you guys, I'm sure you get some horrible situations that make airline customer services look tame in comparison.
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TheGov
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Tue Apr 05, 2005 11:56 am

Answers, we have answers. Sorry for taking so long, but work does occupy part of my day.

Quoting AJBUS300 (Reply 2):
yea, why and do you ever have nightmares with the dead people you work on?

Nope, no nightmares, ever.

Quoting AJBUS300 (Reply 2):
Do you wash your hands A LOT like after you wash them just out of grossness?

While we do wear gloves during the embalming process, I still prefer to wash my hands afterwards. After all, we never really know what disease/illness a person is carrying. And they certainly cannot tell you.

Quoting AJBUS300 (Reply 2):
Do you eat right after you embalm or do you find that repulsive?

I eat when I get hungry. Doesn't bother me if it is right after embalming or not.

Quoting AJBUS300 (Reply 2):
Are you ever afraid of the dead person you are working on from coming to life and touching you or the spirit be standing behind you or something?

Nope. I do, however, treat the deceased as if they were watching what I was doing.

Quoting AJBUS300 (Reply 2):
In the embalming process, what EXACTLY is it that you do?...give details

In the interest of brevity, let me send you to this link:
The embalming process explained

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 3):
How much more education is required if I'm already a BSN?

It really depends on the state in which you would like to work. When I was in school, Colorado required no school whereas Ohio required a BA. I went to a mortuary school that has a 9 month or 12 month program, depending on what you want. ( a degree or a certificate). I already had a BA so I went for 9 months.

Quoting Confuscius (Reply 5):
Please describe how to use a trocar in the embalming process

A trocar is a long, hollow instrument with a pointed end used to remove any body fluids in the body that are not removed via arterial embalming. Most often, it is used to remove fluid from the lungs, intestines, stomach and bladder. Once the body fluid is removed, it is then used to insert a more powerful embalming fluid into the body trunk.


Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 6):
This is what I've always wanted to know. Since you are around death all the time. What are your views on the death of your loved ones or yourself?

I recently conducted the services of two individuals that I was very close to. Both were unique and difficult in their own ways. I try not to let it get to me, but I am human. I just want to do the best job I can, be the deceased my relative or not. As for me, I am trying to live forever. So far, I am succeeding.

Quoting TACAA320 (Reply 7):
Did you have any scary experience[s] in your career?

No, not really. The relatives of the deceased can be scary sometimes, especially if they are mad at each other.

Quoting Flybyguy (Reply 8):
What is done with decomposed bodies? Are they dressed or kept in bodybags for burial? Are they still embalmed?

Ask any embalmer out there, and their immediate answer would be to suggest cremation, especially if the body is body decomposed, but not yet to bones. If they are really bad (been in the lake for a week, etc.), the best thing to do is to cover the body with an embalming powder (to reduce the odor) and to bury them right away.

Quoting Flybyguy (Reply 8):
Is sterilization of tools necessary if they are used on the deceased?

Yes, a decomposition process called tissue gas can travel from one body to another via unsterilized instruments. And that is not good for any funeral home.

Quoting Flybyguy (Reply 8):
When bodies are shipped, are they shipped in crates or original caskets? Is dry ice used in the preservation process for the journey?

It depends. A body can be shipped within the US without being in a casket. The boxes used are called combo units. However, some foreign countries require the remains to be in a casket. The casket is shipped in a box called an airtray. BTW, a sealer casket cannot be sealed if it is going to be put on an airplane. The pressure difference will cause the lid to collapse. No, dry ice is not used. It is best that the body be embalmed before being shipped. Dry ice is considered a hazardous material by the airlines and is not used by the funeral industry.

Quoting Flybyguy (Reply 8):
My parents have seriously considered building a family tomb overseas, but in that particular country there seems to be no experts on the subject, can you refer them to anyone that may have some clue how to do it?

I cannot help you directly. But you might try a local funeral home or perhaps a local stonemason. They may be able to help you.

Quoting Aerorobnz (Reply 9):
Would you do the full Egyptian embalming/mummification process if requested by the deceased?

While I am not trained to do that procedure, if a family asked for it, I would certainly try to help them.

Quoting Aerorobnz (Reply 9):
Personally I believe that if you can handle the families in this job, you could do just about any job in the world. I have the utmost respect for you guys, I'm sure you get some horrible situations that make airline customer services look tame in comparison.

Thank you for the compliment. Having worked in both the airline industry as well as the funeral industry, I can easily see the pluses and minuses of both jobs. Right now, the stability of the funeral industry makes me glad that I am not suffering with my former co-workers at a well know, established Georgia airline.
Always a pallbearer, never a corpse.
 
jaysit
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Tue Apr 05, 2005 12:06 pm

Based on what you know, how long does it take for bodies to decompose after being subjected to modern day American embalming? To what extent will embalming arrest the decomposition of the body? If the body is exhumed, say, one year after burial (lets say burial in a place with a dry climate), what would you expect it to look like?

Very interesting thread, by the way.
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TheGov
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Tue Apr 05, 2005 12:31 pm

Quoting Jaysit (Reply 11):
Based on what you know, how long does it take for bodies to decompose after being subjected to modern day American embalming? To what extent will embalming arrest the decomposition of the body? If the body is exhumed, say, one year after burial (lets say burial in a place with a dry climate), what would you expect it to look like?

I honestly could not tell you. It might take 30 days or 30 years. Embalming is like medication in that what works for one person may not work for another person. In other words, some bodies react positively to the embalming process while some do not. I have seen some bodies that look just as good seven days after the embalming process as they did the first day. And I have seen bodies that you hope will make it through the funeral, which is just two days after death. Believe it or not, the mode of death plays a big part in how well an embalmed body will last before significant decomposition begins. An accident victim may begin decomposing well before the 90 year old who died of heart failure.

After one year in a dry climate? If the deceased were an average person ( no accident victim or an agressively treated cancer patient) I would expect them to look pretty much the same as they did when they were buried. There would probably be areas of dehydration around the fingertips, nose and cheeks, however. I have heard that mold has been found on some bodies that have been buried for a while. But, in a dry climate, mummification might have occurred even after one year.

Quoting Jaysit (Reply 11):
Very interesting thread, by the way.

Glad to be of service.
Always a pallbearer, never a corpse.
 
Springbok747
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Tue Apr 05, 2005 1:16 pm

Wow Gov, cool profession.

I have one question:

What do you do with all the internal organs that you remove from the deceased?
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gocaps16
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Tue Apr 05, 2005 3:43 pm

I dont know if it's true or not.and you can clarify..but do you use glue to close the eyes together? any other areas too? My uncle passed away couple monthsd ago and during his viewing I noticed on his hands felt like and looked like clay or artificial skin...is it just the natural dead skin? Very interesting....I've done military funeral details...not really a big deal to me seeing veterans, retired, and active duty members fighting for our country...but it's really sad and it's an honor to be part of the detail for their loved ones.

Kevin
 
TheGov
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Wed Apr 06, 2005 12:35 pm

Quoting Springbok747 (Reply 13):
What do you do with all the internal organs that you remove from the deceased?

Nothing. The embalming process does not require nor include the removing of any or all of the internal organs. We only remove the fluids (i.e. blood, fluid in the lungs, etc) and replace them with embalming fluid. This is one of the biggest misconceptions of the embalming process.

Quoting GOCAPS16 (Reply 14):
but do you use glue to close the eyes together? any other areas too?

Yes. Also to close the mouth.

Quoting GOCAPS16 (Reply 14):
I noticed on his hands felt like and looked like clay or artificial skin

This is somewhat normal. The embalming fluids firm up the cells in the skin and the skin can turn somewhat leathery.
Always a pallbearer, never a corpse.
 
emiratesa345
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Wed Apr 06, 2005 12:57 pm

I have a friend who explained to me that a man's penis is tied tightly with a string and then stapled up to his stomach. He also mentioned something being done to the ass so that nothing comes out of either end. Is this true?

Disgusting sorry, but curious none the less...

Mark
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gocaps16
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Wed Apr 06, 2005 1:08 pm

oops, he just soiled his $700 tuxedo in his sleep.

Kevin
 
Jet-A gasguy
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Wed Apr 06, 2005 5:56 pm

Quoting EmiratesA345 (Reply 16):
I have a friend who explained to me that a man's penis is tied tightly with a string and then stapled up to his stomach. He also mentioned something being done to the ass so that nothing comes out of either end. Is this true?

As an ex-mortuary technician myself, I can tell you that we did tie the males penis tightly with string. However, there was no stapling involved. We also inserted wads of cotton into the anal orifices to prevent seepage.

The bodies never bothered me........but the smells! You just never get use to it.

J-AGG
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leroidescieux
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Wed Apr 06, 2005 6:23 pm

I have a few questions...
How long can a body go without being embalmed before emitting odor and causing a health hazard?

How are limbs properly positioned after rigor mortis has set in?

Are heads always removed/opened during autopsies to weigh the brain? If so, how is the wound/scar covered so it is not seen?
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aa777flyer
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Thu Apr 07, 2005 6:26 am

At least you will ALWAYS have clientele, never have to really worry about being out of work...

As far as cremation, how long does that take in the oven? How hot does it have to be? Do you embalm those to be creamated?
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jake056
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Thu Apr 07, 2005 6:55 am

The Vatican says the Pope's body wasn't embalmed, but "prepared" for viewing. What could that mean? A little make-up? I don't think so given the lenght of time between death and burial.

I think this is truly a great service funeral directors perform. My only personal experience was when my dad died. The funeral director couldn't have been nicer or more sympathetic. The family still agrees years later that he made a sad time so much more bearable. What a nice guy he was.
 
planespotterx
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Thu Apr 07, 2005 7:13 am

A few questions I have

Why cant someone just die and then be buried, whats this Embalming thing about, why not just bury them straight away.

Also if your non-religious and want to be buried facing south what sort of place/church would I best be asking.
Its not the fall that kills u, its the sudden stop at the end..
 
jake056
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Thu Apr 07, 2005 7:27 am

In NY the body can't be displayed for viewing unless it has been embalmed. Embalming has to do with seeing the body after death. If not embalmed it will decay real fast, so a health issue (not to mention unpleasant!!). The viewing thing is cultural/religious. Either you believe in it or you don't. No big deal, just cultures doing things differently. In some Jewish traditions, for example, burial has to take place within 24 hours so embalming is not an issue.
 
JAGflyer
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Thu Apr 07, 2005 8:34 am

Quoting Jake056 (Reply 23):

I can field this question:

Modern reform/conservative jewish tradition is for the burial to be ASAP. Orthodox (very religious ones with the black coats, beards and hats) tradition is burial must be done within 24 hours unless the death occured between sundown on friday and sundown on saturday.

Jewish funerals are always burials. Jewish law prohibits any kind of altering off the body. No embalming or cremation. Even for transport they are exempt from having to embalm even if the country's law says all travelling bodies must be embalmed. Autopsys are not preformed unless absolutly nessesary (ie. suspection of murder or abuse causing the death) There is no wake or viewing in a jewish funeral/burial service. The only people that see the body are are the "shomers" (see below) and sometimes the family of the deceased. (This was the case in my grandfather's death. He went out shopping, had a heart attack and then died a day later in hospital. My grandmother never saw him since he left to go shopping and she wanted to say goodbye).

Jewish law also states that caskets must not have ANY metal parts. Most jewish funeral homes sell fancy ones with metal handles/screws but they are not considered kosher (and they cost $10K). Reform/Conservative jews buy wooden caskets with no metal. Some choose ones which are stained or have carved out symbols on them. Orthodox jews buy caskets that are as basic as possible. They usually buy the cheapest ones ($500?) which are basically just wooden crates. It is not because they are cheap, it is because they believe in a simple burial.

Deceased jewish men are buried only wrapped in their "talit" (prayer shawl) and jewish women are buried wraped only is a silk garment. During the time between preperation of the body (undressing and wrapping in talit or silk garment) a people called "Shomers" stay with the body while it is in the casket and say prayers until the body is transported to the cemetary for burial.

That's basically a jewish burial explaination there. I can go into more details about the actual burial ceremonies and the after-burial period of mouring but I don't bore you. (unless you ask me to explain it).

Hope this gives you a good idea.

[Edited 2005-04-07 01:37:15]

[Edited 2005-04-07 01:41:22]
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mirrodie
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Thu Apr 07, 2005 8:48 am

What do you think of the job they did on the Pope's embalming? check cnn.com for reference photos


Also, thanks for shedding light on a very interesting subject.

Like it or not, most of us will have to think about the subject.
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Yu138086
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Thu Apr 07, 2005 9:34 am

Question...

How much does it cost to administer funeral services to somebody (i.e. bury somebody) in a coffin vs. creamation vs. other options, if any?

Thanks.
 
TheGov
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Fri Apr 08, 2005 12:13 pm

Answers, more answers

Quoting EmiratesA345 (Reply 16):
I have a friend who explained to me that a man's penis is tied tightly with a string and then stapled up to his stomach. He also mentioned something being done to the ass so that nothing comes out of either end. Is this true?

Tied only when needed (i.e. leaking). No stapling. And the anus and vagina are "plugged" only when need be also. They are plugged with a specially designed plastic device. Some embalmers make it a regular part of their embalming procedure, however, our firm only does it when it is called for.

Quoting Jet-a gasguy (Reply 18):
The bodies never bothered me........but the smells! You just never get use to it.

Yes, the smell can linger.

Quoting Leroidescieux (Reply 19):
How long can a body go without being embalmed before emitting odor and causing a health hazard?

A dead body is techincally a biohazard. If you really stop to think about it, any sick person is a health hazard. And if the sickness killed them, it could be considered a health hazard. We are taught that if a person has a virus, then when the host (person) dies, the virus will no longer have anything to live off of, so it will die as well. Bacteria, however, can continue to live, even thrive, after a person dies. How long before an odor appears? No one can say for sure, but it can start within a few hours. But by 24 hours, you are sure to have one appear.


Quoting Leroidescieux (Reply 19):
How are limbs properly positioned after rigor mortis has set in?

You can generally relieve the effects of rigor mortis by moving the limbs back and forth until they become flaccid again.

Quoting Leroidescieux (Reply 19):
Are heads always removed/opened during autopsies to weigh the brain? If so, how is the wound/scar covered so it is not seen?

Since there are degrees of autopsy, I will say that in a toxicology autopsy, there is generally no cutting, just the removal of fluids with a needle. But, in a full autopsy, the brain is removed. But, since I am not a medical examiner, I am only guessing. That is what I have seen in our firm. The wound is sewn shut and hopefully the hair has not been shaved off and we can cover the wound with the hair. Otherwise, it will need to be waxed over with mortuary wax.

Quoting Aa777flyer (Reply 20):
As far as cremation, how long does that take in the oven? How hot does it have to be? Do you embalm those to be creamated?

I have never operated a crematory, but I seem to recall that it is 1,500F for about three hours. The only time we embalm a body to be cremated is if they purchase a casket and request a public viewing. Otherwise, they are not embalmed.

Quoting Jake056 (Reply 21):
The Vatican says the Pope's body wasn't embalmed, but "prepared" for viewing. What could that mean? A little make-up? I don't think so given the lenght of time between death and burial.

My guess is that he was bathed, his eyes were glued shut and his mouth was sewn shut with his lips glued together. They probaby packed his nose and mouth with cotton. Then they applied a little cosmetics. But, that is only a guess.

Quoting Planespotterx (Reply 22):
Why cant someone just die and then be buried, whats this Embalming thing about, why not just bury them straight away.

They can be. We have done it before. Embalming is strictly a Western thing. When a person dies, their body immediately begins to decompose, albeit slowly. Embalming only retards the decomposition (how long depends on the body, etc.)and allows for a funeral days after death. Embalming also can disguise or appear to reverse the effects of sickness, i.e. give the deceased a more lifelike, healthy appearance.

Quoting Planespotterx (Reply 22):
Also if your non-religious and want to be buried facing south what sort of place/church would I best be asking.

A secular cemetery. I am pretty sure that all church cemeteries work east/west.

Quoting Mirrodie (Reply 25):
What do you think of the job they did on the Pope's embalming? check cnn.com for reference photos

Let me put it this way: I wouldn't want to be the funeral home that put an un-embalmed, non-refridgerated body on public display for a week. Especially if all the world would be watching. And I have seen the photos. He looks awful.

Quoting Yu138086 (Reply 26):
How much does it cost to administer funeral services to somebody (i.e. bury somebody) in a coffin vs. creamation vs. other options, if any?

Costs vary by location. In big cities you will pay more than in little towns. But that is not always the case. In and around where our firm is, cremation can range from $800 to $1500. Traditional burials can run from $2500 up to and past $10,000. Other options include body donation to a medical school.
Always a pallbearer, never a corpse.
 
atrude777
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Fri Apr 08, 2005 12:15 pm

Thought I d share a frightening story,

this is another oen of those I heard it form so and so..

but basically i heard it from my cousins's g/f whos aunt told her the story.

My cousins g/f's cousin died one time. he was embalmed etc etc. during the viewing, the body all of a sudden sprung upwards! The eye was twitching, and the hand was opening and closing. it scared everyone of course bcause he had to be dead? how was he alive? they fought the body and bent it back down into the coffin and shut the door. you could hear the body banging inside as the body would twitch and hit the door. quite a weird experience. after the service was quickly ended short they talked to the guy who did the body. and he said the body must have an allergy or something and is rejecting the emblaming stuff and fighting it therefore the twitching we see from the hands and the body.

could you imagine if this happened to yours? gosh id be scared to death.

Alex
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KFLLCFII
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Fri Apr 08, 2005 12:21 pm

Question....What brings you to Airliners.net?
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JAGflyer
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Fri Apr 08, 2005 10:22 pm

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 28):


I'm no embalmer but I have a hard time believing that is a true story. Dead bodies don't usually "reject" things.

[Edited 2005-04-08 15:24:23]
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Pope
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Fri Apr 08, 2005 10:39 pm

Back to the Pope -

Pardon the crudeness, but if he hasn't been embalmed doesn't it stand to reason that the body began to stink in the last 6 days? What would they have done to lessen the odor?
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AGC525
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Fri Apr 08, 2005 11:25 pm

Quoting Pope (Reply 31):
Pardon the crudeness, but if he hasn't been embalmed doesn't it stand to reason that the body began to stink in the last 6 days? What would they have done to lessen the odor?

I'm sure they used a ton of perfumes and fragrances.
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TheGov
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Sat Apr 09, 2005 6:04 am

Sorry to disappoint you Atrude777, but in 10 years of doing this and working with embalmers with 20+ years of experience, this has never happened to anyone that I know of. And it has never been mentioned in trade magazines. Someone fed you a real good story that has apparently taken on a life of its own.

Quoting KFLLCFII (Reply 29):
Question....What brings you to Airliners.net?

I spent almost 10 years working for Delta before becoming an embalmer/funeral director. The love of aircraft is hard to shake off.

Quoting Pope (Reply 31):
Pardon the crudeness, but if he hasn't been embalmed doesn't it stand to reason that the body began to stink in the last 6 days? What would they have done to lessen the odor?



Quoting AGC525 (Reply 32):
I'm sure they used a ton of perfumes and fragrances.

You are probably right. We do have an embalming powder that can lessen the odor and help to delay the topical decomposition that can occur. And the fact that the Pope is dressed in long sleeve, heavy garments will help to keep the odor "inside" or close to him. But after a while, even those two things will not help.
Always a pallbearer, never a corpse.
 
Klaus
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Sat Apr 09, 2005 6:56 am

I´m pretty sure JP2 deliberately chose the natural course of events to happen with his body. It´s only fitting after the relentless way he subjected himself to the demands of his office right up to the end.

He never pretended to be anything but a mere mortal and that´s the way he was going out. I disagreed with him on quite a few things, but among the things I respect about him was consistency and personal humility (his ideological hubris was another matter).

Good thread, by the way. And thanks for answering even the weirdest questions, TheGov!

After having watched a few seasons of Six feet under, the topic isn´t quite as exotic any more as it might have been before, artistic license or not...

Apart from the familial antics of the characters, do you have any professional commentary?
 
atrude777
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Sat Apr 09, 2005 7:10 am

Quoting TheGov (Reply 33):
Sorry to disappoint you Atrude777, but in 10 years of doing this and working with embalmers with 20+ years of experience, this has never happened to anyone that I know of. And it has never been mentioned in trade magazines. Someone fed you a real good story that has apparently taken on a life of its own.

Why would it be mentioned in mags? I wouldn't want that mentioned, it is a a horrible experience to go through and I would not want it in magazines. this "story" was only passed through one person, my cousins g/f she told it straight from me who heard it from her aunt who was at the funeral and witnessed it herself. look down to what i said to someone else in regards about the fluid stuff.

Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 30):
Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 28):
I'm no embalmer but I have a hard time believing that is a true story. Dead bodies don't usually "reject" things.

I heard it from Julie, my cousins g/f , who heard it from her aunt, it was her own son that died, and it happened to him.

It is true, bodies dead or alive can reject things, I talked to the guy who did my grandfathers body and he said he has heard of stories of an eye popping open or a hand twitching because the embalming fluid had not "settleled" into the body yet, therefore, its fighting against the body, making the movements that we see.

Alex
Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
 
Sabena332
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Sat Apr 09, 2005 7:33 am

Ever did something "funny" or macabre with your hearse?

The parents of a buddy of mine own a funeral home. A few years ago we had to use their hearse because we had no other car, before we drove to a club in the evening, we felt hungry and decided to use the drive-through at Mc Donald's, needless to say that the manager made big trouble when he saw the car in the drive-through. It came even better, when we finished eating on the parking lot, we left and had to make a short stop on the parking lot before we entered the street, at the very same moment were some guys walking towards Mc Donald's. I opened the window, pointed on the rear and said "food poisoning".

I know, that was really tasteless (no pun intended) but I simply couldn't refuse to do it.

Patrick
NZ1's mother is a disgusting crack-whore and his father is a worthless alcoholic!
 
AJBUS300
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Sat Apr 09, 2005 7:44 am

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 28):
My cousins g/f's cousin died one time

and it looks like he only got one shot at it!....what a shame!....lol, just had to.

Thanks for answering my question and I am back with another. How can it be possible that the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II was not embalmed? I mean, he was lying in state for awhile so how could his body resist all this time? I know you have answered some questions about this but isn't it unsanitary to have the Pope in this state and have people touching him like nuns and stuff....and the smell must of been awful wouldnt it? I mean, a day short of a week is a long time for a dead body to resist or am I wrong?
Live each day as if it was your last day on God's beautiful green earth
 
Lemmy
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Sat Apr 09, 2005 7:52 am

I've got an uncle who's an undertaker, and it's always been such a comfort to have family funerals at his place.

Having my older cousin lock me in a casket when I was 6, not so good though.
I am a patient boy ...
 
TheGov
Topic Author
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Sat Apr 09, 2005 12:57 pm

Quoting Klaus (Reply 34):
Good thread, by the way. And thanks for answering even the weirdest questions, TheGov!

Thanks. It's all about squelching rumors and getting the truth out there.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 34):
Apart from the familial antics of the characters, do you have any professional commentary?

To be quite honest, I have only seen "Six Feet Under" once and then only the first few minutes. Too much melodrama and other stuff for me.

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 35):
Why would it be mentioned in mags?

Because trade mags are a very valuable source of information to professional embalmers. One embalming chemical company puts out a monthly mag that deals with every issue of the funeral trade, etc. And professional mags do not, as a whole, cover up any issue that the profession might be facing or might have faced.

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 35):
I heard it from Julie, my cousins g/f , who heard it from her aunt, it was her own son that died, and it happened to him.

That ought to tell you something right there. And to be honest, don't you think it would have made it on the internet somewhere if it really did happen? To quote a passage from a well known TV show, "If the weirdos on the internet haven't taken it and ran with it, then there must not be anything to it."

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 35):
It is true, bodies dead or alive can reject things, I talked to the guy who did my grandfathers body and he said he has heard of stories of an eye popping open or a hand twitching because the embalming fluid had not "settleled" into the body yet, therefore, its fighting against the body, making the movements that we see.

Dead bodies cannot "reject" anything because they are dead. Embalming fluid does not "settle". What it does is firm up human tissue. Now if the correct mixture of fluid is not used, then the firming action may be less than ideal or may not occur at all. If it does not occur, I would not call this "rejection". I would surmise that the body contained a protein or drug that counter-acted the firming action of the fluid. Also, if the body contains too much natural fluid (water), then the embalming solution is naturally diluted and therefore the desired results may not be obtained.



Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 36):
Ever did something "funny" or macabre with your hearse?

Yes and no. I have to watch myself because I tend to sing along with the radio. It doesn't look too cool to be leading a funeral procession and singing along with the radio. The other thing is that a local school has a career on wheels day whereby people that use cars or trucks in or for their job bring them to show the students. We were invited and took the hearse. The kids loved it. The teachers weren't too hip to it. And for the record, you can get one dead body or 23 live 4th graders in the back of a hearse.

Quoting AJBUS300 (Reply 37):
How can it be possible that the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II was not embalmed? I mean, he was lying in state for awhile so how could his body resist all this time? I know you have answered some questions about this but isn't it unsanitary to have the Pope in this state and have people touching him like nuns and stuff....and the smell must of been awful wouldnt it? I mean, a day short of a week is a long time for a dead body to resist or am I wrong?

I believe it was his personal chioce not to be embalmed. As far as his body resisting, I'm sure that they were at the very edge of the time limit on the very visible beginnings of decomposition. Unsanitary? In my mind, yes. But, I'm sure that they bathed him well before he was dressed. Smell? Like I said, probably getting close on that one as well. A week being dead without being embalmed is tough, but looks like he made it.

Quoting Lemmy (Reply 38):
Having my older cousin lock me in a casket when I was 6, not so good though

Yeah, that could be a problem.
Always a pallbearer, never a corpse.
 
CaptOveur
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Sat Apr 09, 2005 1:08 pm

Quoting TheGov (Reply 39):
I have to watch myself because I tend to sing along with the radio. It doesn't look too cool to be leading a funeral procession and singing along with the radio.

All I can think of here is Queen: "Another one Bites the dust".. Play it loud with the windows down.

I guess thats why I am not a funeral director.
Things were better when it was two guys in a dorm room.
 
TheGov
Topic Author
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Sat Apr 09, 2005 1:14 pm

Quoting Captoveur (Reply 40):
All I can think of here is Queen: "Another one Bites the dust".. Play it loud with the windows down.

I have to be very careful when "Bohemian Rhapsody" comes on. I tend to do a "Wayne's World". And "Radar Love" gets me too.
Always a pallbearer, never a corpse.
 
gocaps16
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Sat Apr 09, 2005 6:44 pm

TheGov, very interesting profession, I think...What do you know about having public tours of a funeral home? I'd love to witness how this embalming procedure work...as the interest of science, so when I die, I'll know exactly what you funeral directors will do to my body.  Smile Ever played with a body? For instance, like moving the jaws open and pretend the dead person is talking or reposition the lips to as if the dead person was smiling?

Kevin
 
Yu138086
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Sun Apr 10, 2005 12:33 am

I've heard of instances where bodies are exhumed/ removed from the ground after some time to make space for another persons body. This is done without telling the deceased's family and obviously is criminal. Have you heard instances of this? Is this common industry practice? If so, where do they throw away the now removed corpse?
 
SmithAir747
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:07 am

Are European-style coffins available in the USA?

By that, I mean the 6-sided wooden coffins that are common in England, Ireland, and other European countries, as opposed to the rectangular boxes (called caskets) common in the USA.

I like the English/Irish coffins much better--they look much more dignified and simpler, and I would like to be buried in one (befits my Irish heritage). I want to know if the European-style coffins are available in the USA. Or should I build my own?

Please let me know.
Thanks!
SmithAir747
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)
 
SmithAir747
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:30 am

Speaking of funeral parlours, my large family has lived in a former funeral home since 1978 (when I was 3).

Built in the 1850s, this house has 2 floors, and in the mid-20th century, it served for a while as Garrett, IN's main funeral parlour (until a competing funeral parlour moved in on the town's main street, forcing it out of business).
The house languished on the market for many years afterward, until our large family (looking for a bigger house to accommodate all of us kids at a reasonable cost) found it. The realtor, desperate to sell it finally, accepted my parents' ridiculously low bid for it! Of course, it had to be fixed up a lot and totally redecorated inside and out to rid it of the ravages of age and neglect (as well as remove the funeral-home decor). The embalming room became the shower/laundry/utility room, the casket lift came in handy for some of my siblings with physical disabilities, and the casket showroom and chapels became normal family living spaces. Out went the "Crossing the River" murals and fleur-de-lis wallpaper, in came inexpensive, brighter-coloured paint. Even the record player, which once played dirges, became our entertainment center for our records.

In a nutshell, our lively large family turned a funeral home into a house of life and family happiness.

Has anyone else ever had the experience of living in an ex-funeral parlour house?

SmithAir747
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)
 
TheGov
Topic Author
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Sun Apr 10, 2005 12:50 pm

Quoting GOCAPS16 (Reply 42):
What do you know about having public tours of a funeral home?

We gladly give tours to anyone who would like to see the funeral home. We have nothing to hide.

Quoting GOCAPS16 (Reply 42):
I'd love to witness how this embalming procedure work

Unfortunately, that is not generally possible. While we have nothing to hide, OSHA takes a dim view of persons who have not had the required training being in an embalming room.

Quoting GOCAPS16 (Reply 42):
Ever played with a body? For instance, like moving the jaws open and pretend the dead person is talking or reposition the lips to as if the dead person was smiling?

No. That is very disrespectful of the deceased. When we are called to serve a family, they trust that we will take the utmost care of their loved one. We would never violate that trust.

Quoting Yu138086 (Reply 43):
I've heard of instances where bodies are exhumed/ removed from the ground after some time to make space for another persons body. This is done without telling the deceased's family and obviously is criminal. Have you heard instances of this? Is this common industry practice? If so, where do they throw away the now removed corpse?

I have never heard of this action and yes, it is very illegal. The only thing that comes close to what you describe is how they use family crypts in New Orleans over and over. The older remains are at the bottom of the crypt while the new remains are placed on the top. But, I defer to anyone from New Orleans to explain it better than I can.

Quoting SmithAir747 (Reply 44):
Are European-style coffins available in the USA?

Yes. And there is a company that makes caskets like they used in the Old West. I'm sorry I don't have a link, but google it and see what happens!
Always a pallbearer, never a corpse.
 
57AZ
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Sun Apr 10, 2005 6:42 pm

Quoting TheGov (Reply 46):
Quoting Yu138086 (Reply 43):
I've heard of instances where bodies are exhumed/ removed from the ground after some time to make space for another persons body. This is done without telling the deceased's family and obviously is criminal. Have you heard instances of this? Is this common industry practice? If so, where do they throw away the now removed corpse?

I have never heard of this action and yes, it is very illegal. The only thing that comes close to what you describe is how they use family crypts in New Orleans over and over. The older remains are at the bottom of the crypt while the new remains are placed on the top. But, I defer to anyone from New Orleans to explain it better than I can.

Actually, it's only illegal here in the states (excepting New Orleans). There are some parts of the world where this is common practice due to the population density-specifically Paris, France and Mexico City and surrounding suburbs. If there is anyone with better understandings of the local practices feel free to correct me. In Paris, the after the body has occupied the grave for the maximum time allowed, it is exhumed to make room for another occupant and the exhumed body relocated to a cemetary outside the city. Previously the practice was to remove the body once it had decomposed and place the bones in the catacombs beneath the City of Light. In Mexico City, the practice conducted by all but the oldest cemetaries is to lease the cemetary space. Once your lease expires, you are removed to another cemetary. The reasons that these practices are employed is the lack of physical space available.

As for New Orleans, I'm no actually from there but my parents are. The crypts to which reference has been made are of two types: those owned by families and those owned by fraternal organizations. The remains are allowed to rest until the space is needed for another resident. In family vaults, the vault may or may not be equipped with interior shelves. This determines how the vault is prepared for the next occupant and what happens to the previous one. In vaults equipped with shelves, the coffin is emptied of contents and removed to allow the new casket to be placed. The contents of the old casket are then swept to the rear and dropped into a pit under the vault. In vaults not equipped with shelves or fraternal crypts, the bones are simply shoved to the rear. Given the climate in New Orleans, by the time a year passes all that's usually left of the corpse is bones. Where fraternal crypts are concerned, coffin removals are typically done annually whether or not the space is needed immediately.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
AJBUS300
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Mon Apr 11, 2005 2:43 am

Quoting SmithAir747 (Reply 45):
Has anyone else ever had the experience of living in an ex-funeral parlour house?

I think I would rather live in a shack or hell, homeless for that matter before living in an ex-funeral parlous house. I dont think I could sleep at night and I know my mind would run wild and I would hear things daily!
Live each day as if it was your last day on God's beautiful green earth
 
AGC525
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RE: Ask A Funeral Director/embalmer A Question

Mon Apr 11, 2005 3:08 am

If your cremated or put into one of those crypts like in New Orleans, what happens to the very expensive casket?
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