Why are you SO MEAN to Embalming?

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  • Jenn Comisso

    I am so glad to hear you say this. In fact, when I die, I want it explicitly known that I wish to not be embalmed or have my body prepped, washed etc. I do not see why this should be a problem since I want to be cremated without a viewing. How do I make these instructions know and more importantly legally bound?

    • Nicholas Cullen

      Designate someone you trust to make sure this happens and have this discussion with them. Pay for it up front if you can afford to do so. some states have laws protecting your wishes, others don’t. in my state for example there is a section on the advanced medical directive form for “other instructions such as burial arrangements, hospice care, etc.”. for the record, I’m not a lawyer or in the death industry, just a person happy to do some quick research for the benefit of another.

      • Jenn Comisso

        Thanks! I have looked into our a bit myself and will continue to do so.

  • Geneva

    My mom wanted to be embalmed, and then buried in a water-tight coffin, in a water-tight vault. She had enough insurance and savings to cover the expense, so we honoured her request. Another mourner told me that the coffin and vault are indeed required by law if the body is embalmed, because it then becomes toxic waste that must be kept from leaching out into groundwater. I’ve attended more than my share of Southern Gothic funerals, and the whole business creeps me out. (Interestingly, a lecturer said that the first BC case under NAFTA involved competition between funeral home chains. I’ve also read that the Bush family – who have generated their share of corpses – are heavily invested in the funeral industry.) Just wrap me in some organic fabric and plant me near a tree – I’ve baited enough fishhooks in my time, and the worms deserve some payback!

  • R. Johnson

    I was a mortician in a former life. I give people this same advice all the time. Glad this is out there on the Internet for those that happen to know you are here.

    I completely agree with you that it should be an option where “necessary” or desired but more Funeral Directors need to be honest about the “need”. In my recent experience with the professionals in the industry they have been much more open with this option. When my wife died we had a brief viewing with no embalming. Same with my step-daughter.

  • Cynthia

    When my grandmother died in 1969, my parents and grandfather wanted a wake at our home. I recall my folks said embalming was ‘necessary because grandma would be viewed for an extended period of time at our home’ (like 3 days). I was was not present during the discussion w/the funeral director. I was initially scared that grandma would start releasing an odor of decay because of the delayed time between death and burial. Knowing now, that packing a body in dry ice is possible makes total sense. We had more trouble getting a Catholic priest to officiate at the graveside because the Cemetery was NOT a Catholic-designated place (stupid petty shite). Eventually I think my dad bullied/shamed the priest into doing the graveside service. After all, my grands were heavily involved in the local Parish for many years.
    I appreciate your comments about obtaining the necessary paperwork (death certificate, etc.) and saving costs by doing some of the tasks ourselves. I didn’t know the bank freezes the deceased assets for 40 days after they are notified of a death. Very important!