Modern Funeral Embalming Important Questions Answered

Does modern funeral embalming preserve the body forever?

No. Many myths abound about embalming and they are perpetuated by the stories about the mummification of the Egyptian pharaohs. Modern funeral embalming serves an entirely different purpose.

What is the point of funeral embalming then?

Modern funeral embalming does not aim to preserve the bodies of our loved ones for a long time or even for more than a few days. It replaces the natural bodily fluids with embalming fluid and can help lift the features for family and friends to see the body more clearly. This does not last for more than a few days.

Do I have to have the body embalmed?

No. Only very rarely is embalming required by law. Most of the time it is something you need to chose personally.

Is embalming expensive?

Embalming can be expensive. Your funeral director can give you advice about the expense and will give you more information about embalming. Do not be afraid to ask. They will be professional, sensitive and helpful about this.

Why might I want to embalm the body of my loved one?

Embalming can help lift the features of the body, so that the face looks less sunken if you or your family wish to pay your final respects or if you want to have an open casket. It might be helpful to remember that you should pay equal importance to the clothes your loved one is dressed in. If these are unusual or unexpected, it can be surprising or even a shock.

I am a bit concerned about the whole process of embalming. Should it bother me?

First of all, remember that embalming is a personal decision. It does not have to be done. Your funeral director will give you good advice. If you really cant make your mind up, or have specific worries, why not let it become a decision for the funeral director? Just remember this needs to be within your budget and you should reassure yourself of this.

Should I have environmental concerns about the whole process?

If you are particularly environmentally minded or have concerns about this, remember embalming is not required and is a personal choice. Certainly embalming fluids are used and there are chemicals which are returned to the earth. If you have concerns about this, just talk to the funeral director. They may have suggestions about green funerals as well.

Above all, remember this is a personal choice.

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