1."We had an elderly lady who passed away who wished to be buried with her poodle. The family had the dog put down and cremated and the ashes went into her coffin. I found that strange!"
2."I did a funeral with all NSYNC music. We [played "Bye Bye Bye"] as the coffin went down into the ground. On request."
3."I have dealt with plenty of screaming fights. Casket jumpers are a real thing — rare, but they happen. I've seen two in my 10 years of work. I've also witnessed fist fights. I got in the middle of a huge screaming match to break it up while eight months pregnant."
4."I did a funeral for the Queen's private secretary's mother, and it was requested she be buried in a fishing jacket. I was told she never went fishing when I asked."
5."The first time I embalmed someone who had had an autopsy, we used paraformaldehyde and the senior embalmer I was with made a reference to how it was just like putting a rub on meat. It made me think about how I hadn’t had ribs in a really long time. I got ribs for dinner, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the autopsy the whole time. I don’t eat ribs anymore. Honestly I wasn’t much of a meat eater to begin with, but I avoid it even more now."
6."Caskets are massively marked up. Cemeteries charge ridiculous amounts of money for digging a hole and filling it in. The worst is when you are entombed and the cemetery literally just opens a door to slide the casket in."
7."People expect me to be an elitist about [Six Feet Under], but I think it was really well done. A colleague of mine was one of the mortician consultants on the show, so they took getting the death stuff right pretty seriously."
8."I've heard of people who jumped fences at night, dug a hole, and poured cremains in. It's not unheard of!"
9."I've seen two exhumations. One was buried in 1989 and exhumed in 2015. He was in surprisingly good shape and must have been embalmed well. He still had cosmetics on his face, but his legs were bone."
10."I generally tell my families that we will do our best, but I never guarantee any results until I'm much further along in the process. So many things can go awry, and sometimes bodies don't react the way we want them to during embalming."
11."I was surprised at what a physical job it was. Lots of heavy lifting (bodies, caskets, etc)."
12."Especially with old ladies with wispy grey hair, the family often brings in a picture of when she was 20 and asks for her hair to be done like that! They also fetch clothes that have been put away for years and the person has put on weight since."
13."It's a painfully stagnant industry. The funeral industry is also stubborn and doesn't like to hire women. The business is predominantly male and they like to keep it that way. Even though I graduated at the top of my class and had a stellar resume, I was passed over for a guy who graduated dead last."
14."Once I got someone with a huge Civil War-style mustache and I wrote on the embalming report that he died due to 'complications from time travel.' We joke around a lot."
15."It can get busy after major holidays, but not because people 'hold on' for one last Christmas. Believe it or not, families will wait to have calling hours and a funeral so not to upset anyone. I've had families that left bodies in the prep room for a few weeks. So to them, it's better to leave Auntie Sue lying on a table for a while than to upset anyone during Christmas dinner."
16."I don't really get creeped out. I always say that the living can hurt you – not the dead. I've [worked with] people of all ages and even family members and friends and never been creeped out. TBH I would sometimes rather work with the dead than the living!"