Embalming may seem like a mysterious, unclear part of the funeral process to most people. And that's no surprise. People tend to know more about cremation or burial than about embalming-but it doesn't have to be a peculiar part of the funeral process. Here are six things you need to know about it:
- Purpose: Embalming is meant to disinfect, temporarily preserve, and prepare a body for a more natural appearance for a viewing of the body.
- Process: Embalming fluid is injected into the body; it is meant to replace the blood and fluids in the body. The fluid seals tissue cells so that the body does not begin the decomposition process.
- Pricing: Embalming is not inexpensive. It can cost around $500 USD. Be sure to check pricing with your funeral director.
- Viewing of the body: Most people that choose to have a vigil, or viewing of the body, choose to have an embalming, because it gives the most natural appearance possible to a deceased body. The time between embalming and the funeral and viewing is important, as embalming is meant to preserve the body for just a few days.
- Environmental considerations: As a general rule of thumb, embalming is considered less-than-friendly for the environment, because of the harsh chemicals used in the process-which return to the soil if the embalmed body is buried. Those who are concerned about their carbon footprint typically pre-plan to leave embalming out of the process.
- Necessity: Embalming is NOT a necessary part of a traditional burial nor cremation. It is an end-of-life choice that is truly up to the loved ones. Be sure to discuss with your loved ones and with your funeral director all the pros and cons of embalming; ultimately, it's up to you and your loved ones to decide whether embalming is the right choice.