For some people, the idea of embalming might be an uncomfortable or scary decision to make following the passing of a loved one. It’s more than a simple yes or no. Whether families are hosting a funeral or a celebration of life, looking to scatter the cremains, or simply wanting to share amongst family, it always makes the decision easier when we understand exactly what embalming is.
So What is Embalming?
Embalming is described as the process whereby a body is taken through a chemical preservation process that prevents any decomposition of the body. Though the process might seem eerie and unnatural, it can bring about quite a few benefits.
When Does Embalming Happen?
For instance, in some states the process of embalming might be required when transporting a body across state lines following a death. If a funeral service or viewing ceremony is going to be held anywhere from three to five days following one’s death, embalming is required. This helps keep the body in a condition that prevents malodorous smells and allows family and friends to view a body that most closely reflects their memories of the deceased. It is also required in order to eliminate safety concerns, like disease or bacteria, or other components such as those that might arise as a result of decomposition.
If there is significant time between when a body is embalmed and when a funeral or viewing will be held, there may be an increase in fees as a result of storage needs.
When To Say No.
A viewing might be a crucial religious or spiritual part of the process; it can bring closure and eliminate feelings of denial about a deceased person’s passing.
If a funeral and a viewing ceremony simply aren’t a desired part of the mourning process, embalming is not necessary. Depending on social, religious, or cultural backgrounds, the notion of holding a viewing might induce fear or hesitation in some.
If a viewing is not wanted, or there is no need to transport the deceased, there might not be the need for embalming.
What To Keep In Mind
Families must be made aware that, for cremation, embalming is not a requirement by law. If the intent is for direct cremation, everyone is in their right to reject the embalming of their loved one.
Knowing what is wanted and what is ultimately desired out of the final disposition is different for every family. Everyone deserves to know their rights and expectations during a time that is already difficult. Grief can make people susceptible to be taken advantage of so it’s important that people inform themselves on what is truly required by law. Families need to feel comfortable with asking questions, demanding answers, and following the path that is right for them and their loved ones.