To Embalm Or Not To Embalm - That Is The Question

Death is never easy. It does not matter if death occurs after a lingering illness or comes suddenly. But shortly following the death of a loved one, you must make several decisions. Even if you already know you choose to have a cremation service, your cremation provider will ask you whether or not you want the body embalmed. While not embalming may not seem the way to go, it may not be the correct answer. Here are a few factors for your consideration.

What Is The Purpose Of Embalming?

The process of embalming cleans and sanitizes the body. The funeral home cleans and sanitizes any bodies you or your family will view.

Embalming allows the funeral home or cremation provider to temporarily preserve the human remains. This form of preservation forestalls further decomposition and helps keep the body suitable for viewing. 

What Type Of Service Are You Having?

Are you planning a public viewing at the funeral, memorial service, or celebration of life? If so, the funeral home may require the embalming of the body. While there is no state or federal law governing this process, there are reasons funeral homes have this requirement. Embalming not only helps to stem the undesired effects of decomposition but is performed for other health, safety, and liability issues. 

If you only have a brief family viewing at the funeral home shortly after death, embalming may not be required. Ask your cremation provider what their preference is.

What Were The Desires Of The Deceased?

What would the deceased want to be done? While a public viewing could assist with closure for family members, is this what the deceased would have wanted?

Some people who would have been uncomfortable being the center of attention in life would not want to be the center of attention in death. Honoring the deceased's final wishes can also help you decide whether or not the body needs embalming. 

What Are Your Other Options?

If you choose not to have your loved one embalmed for viewing or not to have a viewing at all, you can select a direct cremation. Direct cremation is often one of the least expensive options offered by the funeral home. 

With direct cremation, the body goes directly to the cremation provider, and the provider performs the service with no other preparations. The cremains, or ashes of the deceased, are then returned to you or other family members.