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.

    When a someone dies they become a body.  As much as many will say how the deceased remain 'like a person' the fact that they have to say this just speaks volumes about how untrue it is.  Unless you know the deceased (and usually even then) they simply are now a "body".

    Here I will note that if one dies at a hospital or nursing home the nurses will wash the body.  This is the general policy, yet it is not the general procedure.  Many nurses have issues with death, bodies and are very busy.  I have a couple of friends who are nurses and have spoken with several nurses, they all say how overworked and under staffed they are.  So a body is not always washed or prepared as it should be. If one dies in a hospital they will be put in a body bag.

    Once the person becomes a body through death the family finds a funeral home.  How they find the funeral home varies considerably.  Some have already picked the funeral place, other times the deceased has already chosen it, but many times the decision has to be made then.  Yet when the person dies the pressure of time pushes on the family to pick a funeral home quickly.  Because of this there is little room to pick and chose, to evaluate and debate different funeral companies.  I have little experience with how a funeral home is picked, so I will skip over it and maybe revisit the topic another time.

    When a funeral home is chosen a 'transfer crew' is dispatched to collect the body.  Basically it is the process of collecting and transporting the body from one place to another.  The crew will arrive to wherever the body is, pick it up and take the deceased to the funeral home.

    Upon arrival at the funeral home the body is either put into the fridge until later or 'processed' right away.  This 'processing' differs for every funeral home.  However at the end of the day it is the same thing everywhere.  The body is cleaned and dressed.  Sometimes if the body is going to travel internationally or be interned in a vault it is embalmed at this stage.  Next the deceased is dressed, and then put into the coffin.

    On the day of the funeral the identity of the body is checked and the coffin is checked.  Everything should match, the right body for the right coffin for the right funeral.  Each funeral home has its own way of doing this check.  In all honesty some do a better job than others, you can read about an identity mistake which resulted in a court case here. 

    Finally the coffin is loaded into the back of the hearse and it is driven to the funeral.  This is how a body makes it from the death to the funeral.  In my next post on this topic I will be looking at InvoCare and how they specifically operate.


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