The art of embalming

LItzi

Do you ever wonder how anyone would have the guts to prepare a body for an open casket? People who have always feared death understand that everyone dies. Death is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean when you die you won’t be remembered.

Whether its embalming or cremation, embalmers and everyone else working in the funerary industry want to give the families a lasting memory of their lost loved one, in an open casket resting in peace. 

Embalmers and morticians, at the request of the family, try their hardest to give you a lasting memory of your lost loved one before they are buried. 

Morticians are in charge of the makeup to make the deceased look the best they can without overdoing it. They usually only put enough makeup to make the deceased look more lively, at the request of the family members. 

“I’ve been to a viewing and I can just say that it really doesn’t look like an easy job, but the people who do it are so skilled in trying their best to make the deceased look so lively, but you can always tell the difference,” said Abi Boudreaux. 

Embalming has been around for centuries, up until the 6000 B.C. According to www.si.edu, the Egyptians mummification process would take seventy days and they start by removing all internal organs that can decay and was followed by removing all the moisture from the body, they did this by covering the body with natron, a type of salt that has great drying properties. After this process, the body was then wrapped in yards of linen and a priest placed a mask on the person’s face within the linen. This was their sacred way of preserving the bodies of their royalties and high-class members. 

As the years went on the practice of preserving a corpse has advanced. Now embalmers are in charge of making the corpse look lively before burial. They are not required to keep the body looking lively forever. According to https://basicfunerals.ca/funeral-industry/the-embalming-process/, before you begin to embalm the body you will need to wash the body in disinfecting solution. The limbs of the body are massaged in order to relieve the stiffening of the joints and muscles. At the request of the family, any shaving would have to take place around this time. The eyelids are then closed using glue or by using eye caps that sit on the eye and hold the eyelid in place. The mouth of the deceased tends to open so it is secured by wires or sewing. Once the jaw is secured the mouth can be positioned for the desired look.

Now for the surgical part of the process. All the blood from the body is then removed through veins and is then replaced with formaldehyde-based chemicals through the arteries. Sometimes, the embalming solution contains glutaraldehyde, methanol, phenol, water, and dyes. We then move on to the body cavities that must be embalmed as well. The organs in the chest cavity and the abdomen are punctured and drained of gas and fluid contents, more formaldehyde-based chemicals are inserted into these cavities and then the body is fully embalmed. 

Most of the time it is also the embalmer’s job to apply an appropriate amount of cosmetics on the deceased. The hair will be washed and set depending on the family’s preferences. The deceased will then be dressed in any clothing that has been provided by the family, then the deceased is placed into a casket and prepared for the viewing. 

Embalming will continue to be around for many more years but as time passes things change. There might be a new method for embalming the deceased, all we know is that it is a tradition to embalm and preserve our loved ones.