I’m 30 & I Embalm Dead Bodies For A Living | For A Living | Refinery29

I’m 30 & I Embalm Dead Bodies For A Living | For A Living | Refinery29


Not all bodies, but a good amount of bodies, need tissue builder. It is lovely to help with building out faces such as sunken in temples, eyes, even lips. It’s like a botox for the deceased. My name is Miranda. I’m a mortician here at Milward Funeral Directors in Lexington, Kentucky. This is the entrance to Milward’s. Our casket showroom. Walnut, hickory, maple, I mean all kinds. This room is our visitation room. We call this our music room. What I’m sitting on is an antique. This is a casket bearer, it’s made for casketed bodies. This is our embalming room. This is an absolutely sacred place and no one is allowed in here without authorization. This is Miranda. She is just at a hospital over at Baptist, so that would be a pretty simple removal. I don’t mind going by myself. Right now I’m going to Baptist, to pick up a decedent who has just expired. When I was in mortuary school I learned about death care, but now that I’m working in a funeral home I have learned more about the process of grief. I believe that my job has given me strength that I didn’t know I was gonna have. And when I first realized what death was I was scared. I would lay in bed, think about death and it was like this black hole. It was anxiety. My feelings on death have affected my feelings on life. I really do live every day like, maybe I’ll die when I’m washing my hair and putting myself together. I’m like, “Well if I was in a car wreck, it could just be cut off any time.” Everything is so small in life and you really realize the big picture when you’re faced with death how simple and sweet life can be. I believe that women in the death industry are the change we need in funeral service. For a long time it was a men driven business and having women in this field, it’s lightening the load for these grieving families. Embalming makes me feel like an artist more than a scientist. Yes, I know my anatomy. Yes, I know what these chemicals are doing, but it has everything to do with art after that. An average embalming from start to finish for me takes anywhere from an hour a half to two hours. I look at the deceased and think, “Wow.” After everything they’ve done on earth it just must be amazing to be having the answers that they’ve finally been given. I might even talk to them sometimes. They haven’t talked back yet. Cosmetics for the deceased really aren’t like the ones we buy in stores. The ones we buy in stores are gonna react to the warmth of your skin. That’s why we use special cosmetics. For the ladies I like to use more of an opaque makeup. After I do cosmetics on a body and dress the body, I look at that body in the casket and think maybe this is how you look in the afterlife. I hope that’s what families take away from what I do as well. That they can have that image of their loved one enjoying whatever’s next. I think green burial is lovely and cremation is also an option. There’s so many options for cremation, which I think is a good thing. But I also, obviously think embalming is beneficial for the viewing process. Viewing is number one priority. This beautiful pink and white casket has been very popular with our little elderly ladies. Even if it’s just you coming in and spending a minute with your loved one, I think it’s so important to view the body. When I die, I would like my makeup look to be like my everyday look. My lipstick will be a bright red. Preferably Ruby Woo from Mac. The brighter the better. I feel like I’ve gained a positive outlook on death more than a fear. I’m not afraid of the dead body. I’m not afraid of touching the dead body. I’m not afraid of cleaning up. I’m not afraid of just being a comfort to someone that most people would be afraid to comfort. If someone dies and I’m there, I will absolutely and honestly take care of your loved one as though you were taking care of them. I will give them the love that you will give them. I will make sure that whatever happens to them happens with respect and dignity. I just hope that people can take away that death doesn’t have to be a negative experience.

100 thoughts on “I’m 30 & I Embalm Dead Bodies For A Living | For A Living | Refinery29

  1. I’m currently interesting in becoming a mortician. It seems to be the only job I’m interested in in terms of a forever job😪

  2. When I viewed my Nan when she died I got a very weird feeling that when I looked right at her or even just in the room with her it felt like she was going to just wake up and look at me and say “stop your crying, I’m here now” 😭 is that normal? 5th July 2019 at 12:15pm in the afternoon on a Friday 😔 I’ll never forget you Nana 😩

  3. 24/7 someone around the world dies they don't go through this process but those who do through it that sad because they were once living human beings now there being prepared to be buried

  4. Hi I'm hoping you can answer a question. I just recently received a copy of my Dad's death certificate. In California there a spot that reads embalmer's signature and on my Dad's it reads not embalmed. Is there anything I can do to prove or guarantee that my Dad was embalmed. Sincerely

  5. How is that respect and dignity showing dead body on tv?
    And also she used ( expired)
    Omg you can say cheese expired
    Can you she use word ( gone or passed away)

  6. Cool lady. I appreciate her style, her heart, and her level of dedication to her craft. It's a complicated profession…

  7. I would want all embalmers to be like you. You are a truly caring person and I get the impression that each client you work with is treated as an individual with respect and care. Thank you for sharing this.

  8. When I was a kid I used to sit at the side of dead creatures I'd stumble upon on my adventures outside and cry for a moment at their dismay and then I'd find a box of sorts and bring their bodies home and start 'examining' them. My mom thought I was just playing with dead animals and I can see why she thought that, she'd get so disgusted and scold me and throw them in the trash bin outside but to me, in my head, I was so curious about them, (the deceased animals) I never had such an up close moment with them. I was curious about everything about them, all the while mourning that they weren't alive. This fatuation grew and grew and lead me to be the "weird girl" at school. As an adult now, I'd absolutely love to explore taxidermy and morticianary. Now that I know I was never really that weird everyone made me feel, I just had different interests that others were affraid to explore.

  9. What is it with American women and their stupid, put on croaky voices? SO irritating! Had to laugh when you tried to look coquettish, stood in a mortuary, dressed in a dead-body proof plastic outfit! Hilarious!

  10. What morticians do is amazing. I used to work at the medical examiner and after we've done autopsy, especially if the head was opened up, it's not great to look at. But they're able to cover the sutures so well and make them look like themselves again. It's really wonderful what they do for the families of the deceased to let them see them as they were one more time.

  11. What morticians do is amazing. I used to work at the medical examiner and after we've done autopsy, especially if the head was opened up, it's not great to look at. But they're able to cover the sutures so well and make them look like themselves again. It's really wonderful what they do for the families of the deceased to let them see them as they were one more time.

  12. It's a scummy, greedy, wasteful business to support. Just burn yourself and turn yourself into compost for a tree or some shit.

  13. I'm the opposite, I don't need to view ones dead body for closure. I like to remember that person the way they was, not like this. But we're all different.

  14. I wish the people that did this to my grandparents felt this way. They were both cremated and burned her wedding ring with her. My father was devastated.

  15. WTF was that? The idea at looking at a dead body is an antiquated way of mourning. Most cultures the body is in the ground by sunset of the day you die. Viewing bodies days after death is a direct consequence of the Civil War where a guy had the idea to embalm fallen soldiers so the family could see their loved one was dead. Then the businessmen saw the possibility of making $$$$$ off of peoples mourning the loss of family or friend. And $15,000 for a casket? No freaking way. Visit your loved ones while they are alive, not standing by a casket saying “she looks good.” No she doesn’t, she’s freaking dead! And draining formaldehyde into ground water at 800,000 gallons per year is an environmental disaster. The sealed caskets don’t last for eternity, maybe 20 years.

  16. I love how she show us that her job is interesting 😘 💜💙❤️🧡💛💚

    Most of people were scared to dealing with corpes..Do you understand wut I mean ..

  17. Most funeral homes are crooks, the get you for all they can at your weakest moments, which isn't right. In fact most prefer you to be buried vs cremated, because being buried cost more, which is more money in their pockets. Just my opinion.

  18. I wish people would get why i have to see a person after they die. It not only helps my anxieties, it also helps me say goodbye. I cant say goodbye to a box, i need to see their face, hold their hand and say goodbye. Not everyone can, my hubby only saw his dad once and coz i asked him too (i knew hed regret it if he didnt, as we were with him when he died and it was a violent, bloody, scary event, drowning in his own blood from lung cancer, he needed to see dad at peace, all cleaned up and in the suit he bought for our wedding, and for his funeral) i went everyday before the funeral including the last day where hed gone bad as wasnt embalmed (no time was in hospital freezer for 2weeks!). He wanted funeral home across the road as was closest to home. So id go hold his hand and tell him how well the baby slept and fed (he got 17days with her before he passed) and sit for 20mins and then go shopping. Became routine. And then he came home in a nice box and is on the windowsill where he wanted to be, over looking the city and river. It needs to be less taboo visiting dead people.

  19. Folks, I used to work at a funeral home. Young people may not realize how much funerals are now; roughly $7-15k.

    I’m glad I worked there because I learned that you can be cremated for $500-2k these days.

    So I suggest that you go ahead and purchase a cremation for yourself if they offer it, because the price will continue to go up.

  20. She promotes embalming so much. But she does not reveal that embalming is nowhere near necessary and shes a saleswoman. I worked in this industry. I NEVER told people embalming was necessary. And its a waste of time and resources

  21. I have no problem with this woman , maybe she just love her job but this is too much for someone to love so much the coffins and to be underground with dead people I think for she, embalming dead bodies has become an obsession💀😱

  22. Perhaps I'm in the minority or just plain nuts, but I really don't wanna see the body. I'd prefer my most recent memory of the person to be of them while still ALIVE, not dead. I've never understood why "the viewing" is so important, unless you happen to be an undertaker, getting paid a small fortune to make the body look presentable….

  23. thank you for your video. ive wanted to do the makeup or something like that on the decesed since I was like 7…now many yrs later im looking into possibly working in a hospital morgue IF I can. first step of course is the school. which in NC there is very limited places. sadly I cant afford to move and live in Fayettville for 4 yrs where one of the mortician science degrees are, s im going to attempt to ask how to intern/do all classes aka lab work 4 hrs away…any tips?

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