Embalming is the process of chemically treating a deceased human to reduce the presence and growth of microorganisms, temporarily inhibit organic decomposition, and to restore an acceptable physical appearance.
Embalming is not required by law, however, under certain circumstances it may be required or considered the most desirable method for preparation of the body. Funeral professionals agree that embalming is the most desirable method of preparing a body for prolonged viewing by friends and family. Contrary to common belief, embalming is not an archaic or gruesome procedure. There are many variables to the embalming and restorative procedures. For example, the presence of disease or trauma may alter the procedures performed by the embalmer.
Modern embalming consists of a few aspects for example bathing the body, washing the hair, and closing the eyes and mouth. To start the process small incisions are made to gain access to an artery/arteries where a small tube is inserted, the accompanying vein is opened to drain as much blood as possible (note not all blood needs to be removed nor is it). The embalming machine releases our embalming solution (Formaldehyde, Esters, EDTA, Water Conditioners, Dye) under pressure that mimics our bodies blood pressure to distribute our fluid.
RESTORATIVE OR RECONSTRUCTIVE PRODEDURES:
Following a natural death, basic care associated with embalming is the only restoration needed. However, when death from severe disfiguring trauma has occurred, it may be necessary for the embalmer to perform a variety of additional procedures, similar to plastic surgeons, in order to achieve an acceptable and identifiable body.
Disfiguring injuries can occur during fatal incidents. When these deaths are investigated by appropriate officials, the family may be advised not to see their loved one due to the condition of the body. Physicians, coroners, and law enforcement personnel are typically not qualified to make a determination of whether the deceased can be reconstructed for viewing purposes. Often these officials are not aware that an embalmer may be able to restore the deceased to a viewable state. There are embalmers that specialize in reconstructive derma surgery that may also be called in to the funeral home. These specialists have advanced training and can reconstruct some of the most severe traumatic injuries. Families should always consult with the funeral home embalmer if they are interested in having a viewing for their loved one, no matter the circumstances of the death.
BENEFITS OF EMBALMING AND RESTORATION:
- Delays the natural process of body decomposition.
- Allows for delayed final disposition.
- Allows additional time for family members and friends to travel and gather together before a viewing.
- Allows additional time for viewing and ceremonies with the deceased present.
- Allows additional time for reconstructive procedures, to restore the deceased for viewing by loved ones.
- Typically provides comfort for family and friends when spending time with their loved one before final disposition.
- Psychologists agree that viewing the body is the first step to get on the path to your grief recovery.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
DO WE NEED TO EMBALM IF WE ARE CREMATING?
We only suggest embalming if the family would like an extended viewing or visitation, no matter the disposition.
DO YOU SUGGEST HAVING A FINAL VIEWING OF MY LOVED ONE?
We do suggest having a final viewing of a loved in most cases. Regardless of the method you choose for final disposition, we believe that one should consider the benefits of viewing the deceased. We encourage all of our families to carefully consider:
- Your family has only one opportunity to make decisions regarding the deceased. Carefully think it through and make choices that will be appropriate and comforting for you, your family, and your loved one's close friends.
- The psychological needs of the family members and close friends of the deceased.
- We believing having your loved one present during a viewing is the best way to honor them.
- People who have the opportunity to say goodbye directly to their loved one often have a healthy grief recovery.
- Viewings allow family members and friends opportunities to show their love, pay their respects, and say goodbye in their own special way.
- As humans we imprint, we know our friends and family by their face and voice. Viewing them deceased allows us to actualize their death.