Funeral Director Secrets - Exploding Bodies, Parts Salvaged For Scraps & More!
As grim as the thought of it might sound, we and our loved ones will all die at some point. Of course, for many, that is a very sad and heartbreaking time, yet many don’t really know what will happen and the process that follows preparing the body for burial. The bodies are usually given to the funeral directors to prepare the departed for their final resting place yet what are some of the secrets from that industry? Do they take advantage of those who are mourning? Is this a job that is slowly killing those working in the death-care industry? And what are some other shocking and surprising things from the industry? Read on to find out.
The Costs Of A Funeral
It is nothing surprising that the costs of funerals can be really high. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost for a funeral and burial can be over $7,000 and just $1,000 less for cremation services. Yet depending on many other factors, especially when the passing is unexpected, the price can range anywhere from $9,000 to $15,000. It is normal for people to want to give their loved ones the best send-off possible and as one funeral director revealed in an interview with the Medium, funeral homes often try to take advantage of the bereaved by usually having the most expensive caskets on display and the cheaper options, that can cost as little as $900 in the back or storage out of sight. Others had also pointed out that if someone wanted to provide a casket themselves, big stories such as Costco and Sam's Club also sell coffins. But there are other ways in which people can save money and find those out, and some rather shocking news from the trade, be sure to read on.
More Ways To Save On The Costs
Of course, there are plenty of other fees involved in such ceremonies and in the days leading up to the funeral. Especially with those involving embalming and preparation. Some funeral directors have a trick for people who want to save money on this. The embalming process, which involves injecting the formaldehyde embalming solution into the carotid artery via a small tube connected to the embalming machine, is not always necessary if the people do not plan to have an open coffin viewing or plan to bury or cremate the body shortly after their loved ones had passed from this world. Skipping this process saves money but, should someone still wish to have a close casket viewing, one funeral director revealed that it’s not actually necessary for the body to be there unless the family requests it, and so without the body there the family won't have to pay for the mortician's services thus saving more money.
Though as it turns out, going for the most expensive options might not be the best option either. Some caskets that have vacuum-seal rubber gaskets are being marketed towards people as “protective” or as resistant to the “entry of outside elements”. This is something that Mark Harris talked about in his book ‘Grave Matters’, where he explained that they create conditions that in a way encourage the growth of anaerobic bacteria which break the body down which in turn “turns soft body part to mush and bloats the corpse with foul-smelling gas”. And as it turns out, that trapped gas creates something that people in the industry call “exploding casket syndrome” and as the name clearly suggests, it causes the coffins to explode and the doors of crypts to be blown off. Harris spoke with a former cemetery owner who revealed that those protective caskets are “routinely unsealed after the family leaves so that they relieve the inevitable buildup of the gases”. But prior to burial, do funeral directors use any common house items to prepare the body? Read on to find out.
Superglue To The Rescue?
Of course, at times people wish to have an open-casket viewing, and that is one of the most important jobs of funeral directors. Especially setting the features, so that they can create a peaceful facial expression even with a smile on the deceased’s body. Though what might look calm at the end, takes a lot of work and at times is grisly. Mortificans, stuff the throat and nose with cotton and suture the mouth shut by either using a curved needle to stitch between the jawbone and nasal cavity or by using a needle injector machine to accomplish a similar job more quickly. Speaking with Mental Floss about the process one mortician revealed that small, spiked cups are also inserted under the eyelids to keep the lids closed and the eyes from caving in. Some revealed that if those methods of setting features aren’t sufficient enough, superglue is a secret weapon, and to keep a deceased person’s hands folded neatly at their abdomen, they sometimes bind their thumbs with a hair tie. Of course, some bodies might need more work than others. There is also restoration to consider if a person had some sort of an injury, and at times like that, the morticians might use wax or surface restorer. The mortician also revealed that when having to prepare a body that had been decapitated for an open-casket viewing, he used a wooden dowel to rejoin the head and body, suturing the neck back together. Doing the hair and make-up for the body of someone’s loved one is also important, as well as dressing in the clothes provided. The make-up used at times is just the same that people could be using on a daily basis but there are also make-up companies such as Lola Seven that specialize in mortuary cosmetics.
Funeral Home Waste Ends Up Where?!
Now thinking of all the liquid waste that is involved in preparing a body for burial or the embalming process, you would think that they would be disposed of like biohazard waste, right? Well, actually it’s industry practice to just wash it all off the table and right into the drain. One embalming can generate 120 gallons of “funeral waste” that involves blood, fecal matter, and the former contents of internal organs, as well as chemicals in the preservation fluid itself. And it all ends up in the public sewer system to eventually be released into the waterways. Though as one funeral home director pointed out, “blook isn’t any worse than the other things that go down the loo.” But are parts of your loved ones salvaged for another purpose after their death? Read on to find out!
Not All Burial Wishes Can Be Fulfilled
There are some who dislike the idea of embalming and who have environmental concerns that come with funerals and often would like a “green” burial. When it comes to that, one of the most common wishes is that people want to be buried under a tree, usually one that was favored by the deceased. However, as Sarah Wambold a funeral director and a green burial expert has revealed, that such a burial is not possible as “a body must be buried at least four feet from a tree to protect its root system”. Though she did note that people can, however, plant new trees or shrubs on top of their graves and the roots can that way grow over the body. Another funeral director, in an interview with The Sun, had revealed that some people wish for “sky burials” which means a body is placed out in the open for vultures and other animals to pick apart, which is not possible as it is illegal.
Medical Parts Are Salvaged
During a person’s life a metal hip or knee implant may help to improve their lives and reduce stress on their joints. Though after their death there is little use for them. Following a cremation, some families might ask for those medical replacement parts back but most do not. However, these don’t go to waste, as they are then salvaged, and melted down to be recycled for road signs or car parts, among other things. Though speaking of medical parts, pacemakers are removed prior to cremations due to the fact that if they are left in the body, the heat of the chamber can cause them to explode which in turn can cause damage that can be worth as much as $10,000. But you don’t have to worry, the funeral directors will be doing the removal for you. But could their jobs be endangering their lives? Find out on the next page.
Takes A Toll On Their Life
Death doesn’t wait around for anybody and can strike at any moment. While that most certainly applies to those who had died, it also applies to those working in the funeral business. One funeral director had replied that his job has severely impacted his personal life, especially the relationship he had with his friends. Due to the nature of the job he does not know when he will get the call that he is needed which in turn had made him miss countless birthday parties with his friends as well as dinner parties. He even revealed that once he had to leave in the middle of a wedding during which he was the best man. As he commented, “When death calls, we have to respond.”
It Can Even Impact Their Health
While working as a funeral director can cause relatively minor problems, such as muscle pain from heavy lifting, formaldehyde which is used as the embalming fluid, often causes health problems itself. Some are minor such as sinus issues and rashes, including one called ‘embalmer’s eczema, it also has other issues as it is a carcinogen. The U.S National Toxicology Program, among other groups, had revealed that people with high levels of exposure, such as embalmers, are at a higher risk for nasopharyngeal cancer, myeloid leukemia, and other forms of cancer. Though there are other ways that the chemical affects their lives. Some who have been exposed to it said they experience something they describe as a ‘dull brain’ and in order to feel some stimulation such as joy, turn to drugs or alcohol. Others reveal they become more stressed or lazy, though that could also be impacted by their mental health. Yet others had also been experiencing memory loss as a result of inhaling the toxic fumes. Though changes are being made to make things safer for those working in the death-care industry and National Funeral Directors Association that they are gearing up to make their workplace regulations stricter and recommends that funeral homes start to transition to preservation products that don’t use the dangerous gas.
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