Embalming is not something new. Years ago every single deceased person was embalmed upon their arrival at a funeral home.
This is because years ago every single body was viewed for at least one day, usually two, and was present for a traditional funeral service.
Over the years there has been a huge decline in traditional funerals and people are now opting for memorial services with an urn or picture present, or direct cremation with no services at all.
Basically, people have found there is less value in viewing their deceased loved one, therefore making the demand for embalming less and less.
Let’s start with the positive.
If the family finds value in an open casket visitation then embalming is a necessary procedure that will hopefully provide a positive memory of the person who’s being viewed.
At Basic Funerals, we provide embalming every day for families that want to physically say goodbye, and have a prolonged, traditional visitation and funeral.
It can be a very positive experience that allows families to follow tradition and for those that need it, “say goodbye” and help with the grieving process.
Embalming is more of an art than a science and unfortunately, the procedure doesn’t always go perfectly well.
In my experience, 75% of families that arranged for an embalming wished they hadn’t in the days and weeks following the funeral.
Viewing the deceased is seldom the positive experience they had hoped for because when we die, all of the energy that made us who we were is gone and that energy cannot be recaptured by embalming.
The magic of our personalities has been immortalized in pictures, videos and stories and these have become the new focal points of funerals.
There is another downside to embalming that most people are unaware of which is the invasiveness of the procedure. In order to preserve and disinfect the deceased, blood and other bodily fluids must be removed from the body and replaced with a chemical.
This often results in multiple incisions throughout the body. The methods used to try and restore facial features are sometimes barbaric as well, and the list of intrusive methods continues.
I will say that these procedures are performed with great respect by well-trained funeral directors, but the invasive aspects are unavoidable.
There are other options for families that wish to see their loved one before burial or cremation.
Alternative preparation is something that we offer families at Basic Funerals which consists of bathing and dressing and is infinitely less aggressive than embalming.
This is perfect for families that do not want open casket visitation but still want some time to say goodbye.
At Basic Funerals, we believe in educating the families we serve so that they can make the decision that truly best suits their needs. If the benefits of viewing an embalmed person outweighs the invasive aspects of the procedure in your mind, than embalming is exactly what we will provide to you and at the best of our professional abilities.
However, if you had never thought of alternatives to embalming and traditional funeral services, our funeral directors are always available and would be more than happy to educate you on your choices.
So tell us your thoughts. What is your opinion on embalming? Has it changed over time?