Misconceptions & Questions part 4

    Time for another round of questions and misconceptions!  Here are a few things I have heard, seen or been asked about the funeral industry.

Misconceptions & Questions - Part 1

Misconceptions & Questions - Part 2

Misconceptions & Questions - Part 3

Can the family ride in the hearse with the body?
    Maybe, there is nothing against it, but it really depends on the specific funeral home.  Firstly it might not be practical or possible.  Some funeral companies use a single-cab hearse, which only has two seats.  But the duel-cad design is more common now, this hearse has four seats which means there is room for passengers.  However, some funeral homes use these seats for their own staff, saving them a car.  Plus some funeral homes might be reluctant to the idea.  So really, this depends on the funeral home, but it is possible and probably could be done.

- Is it harder to deal with an obese body?
    Yes, obese bodies are always more difficult in every way.  They require more work and are sometimes dangerous to transfer (pickup or collect).  They are more effort and sometimes need more people to dress, prepare and coffin.  Then to carry at the cemetery they need more people and are more difficult, as it when lowering it.  Or at the crematorium they take longer to burn.  Recently in Austria a crematorium burnt down when an obese body blocked the vents.

How deep is a grave?
    This depends on two things, the land and what was paid for.  Simply there are three different depths a grave can be dug, the deeper it goes the more it costs.  Either way a grave is rarely around 6 feet deep.

I explain in more detail here.

Do black people turn green when they die?
    This was an odd question I saw on a forum a while ago.  But yes, everyone will turn green in time.  The green colour starts in the stomach area, then moves its way up through the body.  The process is the same regardless of race or skin colour.  What can influence this is condition, as in if the person had an illness before they died.  Certain things speed up the decomp process.

What's it like to be around death all the time?
    An undertaker is not really around "death" anymore than a doctor or nurse.  Undertakers deal with the funeral, not death.  Sure, the funeral involves transporting and preparing bodies, but that is not the main thing or the emphasis.  Undertakers do not see people die, and put more work and time into paperwork and families than bodies.  Think of the undertaker as an events organiser, who specialises in a specific type of event.

Why does the decomp smell cling to things?
    All smells cling to things in one way or another.  Just the decomp smell is more noticeable and we 'look' for it.  The sense of smell is tied with an emotional area of the brain (like sound), so smells can evoke emotions in us.  We are also good at finding things we do not like, people who have a dislike of a certain smell will find it before anyone else does.  So the smell of a decomp body is bound up in emotion and dislike, making it noticeable.  My trick with the decomp smell is to just take a deep breath, as unpleasant as it is.  We adapt very quickly, and after one or two deep breaths the smell is very weak or gone.

Can you cremate a body that has been in a mortuary fridge for a long time?
    Yes, everybody can be cremated.  Bodies that have been in the fridge for a long time will mummify. If anything they might even cremate better as they are dry and have less tissue to 'burn off' in the cremator.  Crematoriums can also cremate exhumed remains.

Misconceptions & Questions - Part 1

Misconceptions & Questions - Part 2

Misconceptions & Questions - Part 3


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