The funeral home staff will obtain your permission before proceeding, and they should explain what exactly will be done. If they do not, you have the right to ask.
Caring for someone’s needs, does not end with death. There are many questions that must be answered after a loved one has died, and some of those questions revolve around preparation and proper disposal of the deceased. An individual’s death can be just as unique as their life and having the right information will help you to make those important decisions.
The mortuary staff will bathe and disinfect the deceased. This is done not only for the safety of the funeral home staff, family and friends, but also for dignity and respect of the deceased. A human body starts to change immediately after death occurs and bathing and disinfecting are necessary.
If you wish, you can help the staff to dress the deceased. Usually the body is carefully washed and dried, the eyelids are closed, and the mouth is supported shut. The person’s hair is tidied and sometimes washed. The staff will usually shave a man’s face, as whilst hair does not grow after death, the process of tissue drying out and shrinking away from hair shafts will give the impression of growth. This process also applies to nails
Great care is taken to close the eyes. The traditional method for doing this involves placing a bit of cotton between the eye and eyelid. Sometimes after death the eyes sink back into their sockets, so small plastic eye caps are placed on each eye ball. A small amount of stay creme is placed on the eye cap to avoid dehydration of the eyelids. Contrary to popular myth, the eyelids are never sewn shut, but in some cases that may be glued together to prevent separation. The mouth is closed either by tying the jaw together with a piece of suture string or by a special injector gun.
If it is important to have a particular hair style or make up application, it would be wise to give the funeral director a photograph of the deceased in good health, and the deceased’s own make up if possible.