The Truth About How A Body Is Placed in a Casket
Published Dec 28, 2020
People often avoid talking about end-of-life care and planning, and with good reason. Confronting the reality of death and mortality can be extremely uncomfortable and uneasy for the majority of us that we’d rather not face it altogether. However, it’s essential to start planning for this phase in our lives while we still can. Doing so would save our loved ones a lot of effort and stress of putting together last-minute arrangements.
One particular matter you should be concerned with is whether you should opt for a burial or cremation for you or your loved one. It’s in everybody’s best interest that they and their loved ones’ bodies are well taken care of after they depart. With that, we’re here to answer a burning question in how a body is prepared and placed in a casket. We hope that this article will answer all your questions and help you decide on this crucial matter.
How is a body placed in a casket or coffin?
There are many different types and variations of caskets and coffins out there, but the general process with which funeral homes handle your body is typically the same.
Before a body is placed in a casket, it must be prepared accordingly first. This preparation usually follows a series of steps, depending on several factors, including the time elapsed since death. Nevertheless, these are some of the steps and components you should expect.
The primary purpose of embalming is to preserve the body and prolong the decaying process. A few days following the death, the body will start to decompose because of the enzymes that eat at it. This process is what causes the telltale signs where the body bloats and eyes protrude. Embalming prepares the body for the wake, funeral, or cremation. The embalming process injects chemicals into the body to slow down the decomposition rate.
You won’t always need to have a body embalmed, though, especially if the funeral home has a refrigerator and the burial or cremation follows shortly after the viewing.
Moisture is one of the primary factors that influence decomposition. In order to help preserve the body, it must be drained of blood and other bodily fluids from all its organs. What will typically happen is that the embalming specialist will make an incision at strategic points in the body, where a suction tool will be inserted to extract all the moisture. This step is usually finished off by pumping odor-preventing fluids in some parts of the body.
Setting the Facial Features
The deceased’s eyes are sealed shut, either by skin glue or synthetic flesh-colored “eye caps,” which are placed on the eyes to keep eyelids in place. The mouth and lower jaw are also secured by sewing or wires.
The next step is the cosmetic preparation. This step ensures that the body will be attractive and presentable during the viewing. It’s here where the body will be washed, given a hair and nail trim, shaved, and applied with makeup. The one in charge will also be dressed in clothes provided by the family. Funeral homes and parlors do their best to ensure that the dead look as much at peace as possible.
After all the body preparations are completed, it is time for them to place the body in the casket. The funeral home checks the body’s tag to ensure they are placed in their correct casket or coffin. How the body is placed into the casket depends primarily on what equipment those handling the body have on hand. In more premium funeral homes, they have a machine handle this responsibility. But for most, they have trained staff to lift and place the body into its respective casket manually.
The process does not end after the body is placed into its casket. Those in charge will still have to arrange and position the body so that it’s displayed well.
If you’ve noticed, the head of the body in the casket is usually angled to a slight degree. It isn’t angled too much that it would be an uncomfortable position for a living person, but it’s not laid flat because that would appear too “corpse-like.” For this reason, the handlers typically place a small block under the head to angle it perfectly, not too much and not too little. It’s not an uncommon practice for the head to be tilted to look slightly to the right as well. This helps viewers have a better look at the deceased’s face.
The conventional hand position requires both hands to be on the person’s abdomen. If the deceased was married, the hand with the wedding ring should be on top of the other.
As for the legs, they are simply placed together with feet pointing upward. In many cases, their position is inconsequential, with only the upper half of their body being visible.
About The Author
Terrence Tan Ting is an industrial engineer by profession but a full time writer by passion. He loves to write about a wide range of topics from many different industries thanks to his undying curiosity.