The Facts of Death Documentary

    This is a rather good documentary on what happens after death.  It looks at many aspects of the funeral industry and what happens after death.  The most interesting part for me was the way the industry has changed in such recent years.

The Facts of Death - Part 1 of 6

    The promotion of the companies at the start was also interesting.  It really sums up the way things work, that this documentary was funded by these companies thus it needs to advertise them.  So I wonder how bias it could be, does the documentary skip things that would make the companies look bad?  Does it emphasise things that make the companies look good?  I doubt it, from what I saw it was relatively unbiased and just looked at the funeral system rather than companies.  Yet because of the ads at the start I am left wondering how directed this documentary was by the companies.

    Either way, a rare and insightful look into funeral and the funeral system!



Obituaries: The funeral industry sports pages

    Obituaries are something most overlook.  Many avoid them or never think of them until the death of someone they know.  However this is not the case for those in the funeral industry.  To them the obituaries are like the gossip page or the sports page.  It is a good example on how simply looking at something differently can completely change the meaning and use.


Don't Drop the Coffin Documentary

    Last night someone sent me a rather nice little documentary.  It's follows the funeral home 'FA Albin and Sons' who have been operating for over 200 years.  This is actually a fairly interesting little TV show that I would recommend.  Unfortunately I cannot embed the video here, but you can follow my youtube link!

    Click here for Don't Drop the Coffin: Series 01 Episode 01 or copy and pase the URL below.




Funeral Graffiti

    I was looking through old pictures and found this one interesting one.  Then I realised how it had been a while since I posted any pictures and thought it was a perfect time for this!

    It's a piece of rather amusing graffiti I found on my way into a hospital morgue once upon a time.

Funeral Fun - A close call

    Working in the funeral industry is often rather amusing.  Yet it can also be a bit dangerous.  I remember one occasion where it was a combination of 'funny' and 'danger'.  The time someone nearly pulled another undertaker into a grave.


Slow Rise of Obesity - Part one: The transfer

    The funeral industry is a great indicator of society and our daily lives.  Through looking at funerals and death we can examine how we live, how we think, our beliefs, attitudes and more.  Our death and funerals do not simply reflect our lives or society.  Instead the we die is entangled with how we live; how we die is inseparable from how we live just as how we live is inseparable from how we die.

    I intend to explore this idea through first examining obesity in the funeral industry.  By doing this I intend to illustrate how we can look at things like obesity and funerals to look at changes in society and our lifestyles.

    Yet to truly understand this one must understand obesity and funerals.  How an obese body is different from a non-obese body and how an 'obese funeral' is done.  Thus I thought I would write three posts exploring obesity in the funeral industry.  Starting with the transfer, then handling of the body in the mortuary and finishing with the cremation and burial of an obese body.  So here is the first part, the transfer of an obese body.


The InvoCare Share - how much of the industry does InvoCare really own?

    A few days ago I was at a small gathering of leuters.  When talking to one lecturer about InvoCare and how they had a strong hold on the funeral industry she asked me about numbers.  About proof.  Of which I have little to none.  It was here that I realised all the numbers I have are based solely on what others think and believe, not on actual research or facts.  Thus I did some research into how much InvoCare actually owns.  What i found was rather surprising.


Working Funerals - Driving in cortege WNBull style

The car I was assigned, WNB004
or 'Kevin' as I called him.
    It's been a while since I posted, I've just been too busy and too distracted to write.  But it's about time I got back into it, and what better way than writing about my favourite part of the funeral!  Driving in cortege.

    A while ago I wrote a post about how to drive in cortege from a mourners perspective.  This is my promised follow up from an undertakers perspective


Carrying a Child Coffin

    As odd as it sounds to many I have been attending funerals in my spare time.  It is part of my ethnographic work into the funeral industry and the funeral process.  To learn through observation and participation as much as literary research (which there is little of for this industry).

    So recently I was at a child's funeral and the way they carried the coffin was quite surprising, and a little worrying.


The Transfer Stretcher

    Lately I have been updating my transfer posts and pages such as this one.  Fixing the formatting, correcting mistakes, adding more information and so on.  In doing so I have realised that there is no post and little information about the transfer stretcher.  This is something that needs fixing as the stretcher is such an important part of the industry.

Identity tags

Various coloured wrist tags.
    There is a common belief that in the funeral industry they use toe tags to identify the dead.  We see it all the time on TV and it is part of common language.  Yet this is not the case and would be rather impractical.  Here I explain how we actually identify a body and why this is the method we use and why we must use it.

Between Death & the Funeral: The last trip

    I recently got a question about how bodies are processed in Sydney.  As in what happens to the dead between death and the funeral.  It is a rather interesting question many of us never think of.

    So far I have found nobody has an issue with knowing the details (so long as they are not too graphic) about what happens.  In fact most people are rather interested in it.  However many think of this as a 'taboo' subject.  Well, actually that is not quite true, people think others think death is taboo.  They themselves do not see it as taboo or something to avoid but think most other people do.  As such they avoid this topic to avoid offending or upsetting people.

    We do not avoid this topic because it is taboo.  We avoid it to avoid upsetting others.  And we also know so little about it.  How does your water make it into your tap?  Something most cannot answer, not because it is taboo or upsetting but because they simply do not know.


Death & Sex Difference

    I always find the sex difference with death to be quite interesting.  That women live longer and men are more likely to die young.  Thus I thought it was time for a little bit of social sciences and statistics.  In this post I look briefly at differences in deaths related to sex.  I do not look at race or location, although there are some interesting numbers there.


American & Australian Style Lowering

    I found this American product video demonstrating two automatic lowering devices for the graveside.  It made me think of the difference between American funeral and Australian funerals.  Many conductors here in Australia do not like the American lowering system.  Continue on for the video!


Funeral Fun - Broken down in the cemetery

    A breakdown is never a fun thing.  Especially in the funeral industry.  Even more so in a cemetery during a funeral!  But this is exactly what happened one hot summer day.

    This is the story of how our hearse broke down in a cemetery, during a funeral, and how a gravedigger came to our rescue.


Survey Reminder

    If you haven't already done so I would like to as people to answer my short survey.  It shouldn't take too long and I would greatly appreciate the answers.  Either way thank you for participating and thank you for reading this blog :)

>> Click here to do the survey << (if you have trouble clicking here the link is also at the end).

    As always the responses will be anonymous and confidential!!  But if there are any issues or questions about the survey feel free to contact me.

    So far the answers are proving to be very interesting and somewhat surprising.  When I get more responses I can put the data together and make a detailed post about it.  For example almost everyone has attended over 5 funerals.  This trend remains stable across all age groups, the young and old have generally been to more than 5 funerals.  This is surprising to me as I expected most people would have been to 2-4 funerals.  Also that almost nobody remembers the funeral home who took care of the most recent funeral they attended.

    These are just a few of many interesting and surprising results.  So if I can get more data perhaps I can discover even more!



Attending a Funeral - Driving in cortege

    I that i tend to get questions following my posts on how to attend funerals.  People appear nervous, unsure and generally hesitant.  Who can blame them, funerals are a tense thing to the inexperienced and many of us are inexperienced with them.  Thus I thought a few posts detailing the mist important or tricky parts of the funeral could help.  Starting with one of the most difficult and stressful parts for many mourners, driving in cortege.

    Driving in cortege is the act of following a hearse (or any other lead car).  You will be driving quickly and closely behind a hearse or other cars.  This makes it tricky and worrying.  Yet this was my favourite part of working funerals.  It can be quite easy and simple as long as you think ahead and apply some common sense.

    This post is for mourners, however I will write another post about hot to drive in cortege as a funeral director.  This is because driving as a mourner and as an undertaker are very different.  Comparing both posts might be interesting or helpful.  I do go over driving a funeral car in this post here.  But I want another new posts focusing on driving in cortege.

Anyway, here is how to drive in a cortege from a mourners perspective: