funeral law

What happens when you die? Behind the scenes at funeral homes in America

A lot needs to take place before you can rest peacefully after death.

Sienna Perro, a photographer, explores this procedure, together with the ethos of funeral parlours as “businesses, domiciles, and places of grieving in her program ‘Staging Service’”.

“Mostly, death is handled in shockingly general terms, but regardless of the lack of mourners, small instants of personalization hint to people who go through this place,” stated Perro, who spent one-year visiting funeral parlours all over America.

This information are dashes of the service offered and merchandise vended—created by means of a process wherein the corpse are made-up, prepped, costumed, and presented for grievers, she wrote.

The death business is a long and complicated process, particularly after losing someone. Prior to the beginning of the mourning, morticians and health professionals have loads of things to do.

Initially, a doctor should certify a deceased individual’s death, and a cremation or death certificate should be issued. If doctors have not seen the patient in several weeks, doctors should report the passing away to a coroner, reported The Guardian.


A coroner will sometimes appeal an autopsy to determine what causes the death.

“If a young individual dies, the possibility of having an autopsy is high since their passing away is much more probably unexpected,” pathologist Dr. Rob Jenkins stated to the Guardian. “Numerous older individuals who die will not have an autopsy since they probably already knew that an illness caused their death.”

Next, the corpse goes to the mortician. The mortician will sometimes collect the corpse from hospitals, occasionally from somebody’s home.

It is directly placed into a frozen compartment at the funeral parlour. When it has been listed and once permission of the family is given, the embalming initiates.

An embalmer wipes the body with a disinfectant or formaldehyde spray. The embalmer may have to massage the limbs of the body if they’re still rigid from rigour mortis.

Following the application of formaldehyde, blood, as well as fluids from the chest and organs, are drained of the body.

“I perform an incision just below the rib cage, then I make an insertion of a metal suction instrument, called a trocar, which is attached to a pressure pump,” Karen Koutandos, an embalmer, told The Guardian. “I then perforate the internal organs in order to withdraw the fluid. I get rid of the contents of the intestines, bladder and bowels, as well, since these can emit smell and gases.”

Koutandos stated that a body’s throat and nose are filled with cotton wool so as to avoid fluids from leaking out.

Funeral Homes

If the deceased does not have teeth, cotton could be utilized to make the mouth appear more natural. Mouths are stitched closed from within. The eyes are dried, and the plastic material is kept beneath the eyelids so as to preserve a natural form.

After embalming, the dead body is then washed.

The hair is washed, and men’s faces are shaved. The embalmer will as well cut nose hairs and clean the nails of the deceased. Makeup is applied in order to reduce the waxy appearance a dead body could have.

The body is cloth prior to being placed in a casket, and occasionally two or three individuals will clothe the body.

The skin can be extremely fragile. A plastic suit could sometimes be placed under the body if it’s deteriorated considerably.

Dress and embalming could be different basing mainly on the faith of the deceased. An immigrant’s body could be set for a return to their country of origin.

Once embalmed, a body could be put in a viewing chamber for a few days, weeks or even months. It can be buried or cremated.

“The ultimate product is specific and personal, with a frontage of custom-made individuality that covers the fact that death is normal,” Perro wrote regarding her photography program. “The futile quality of these insides is highlighted by the pictures’ formal composition—showing death as unremarkable, routine, and inevitable.”