Funeral director and mortician Victor Sweeney answers your curious questions
Although a little creepy, these questions can help us feel better about death and a YouTube video uploaded by WIRED gives us all the details we need to know.
Twitter user @SaintSeverin asks:
“A question for #morticians. When someone dies, do you remove their poo, or are we buried with unpooed poo?”
Victor very quickly answers by saying: “There’s a myth that everyone poops themselves before they die, it’s not always the case, sometimes it is.
“For my purposes in the funeral home I’ll clean them up if they’ve started to poo due to abdominal pressure and flush out the bowels with a hose.”
The next question is from @JadedNever1 who asks:
“If a person wearing contacts dies, does a mortician take them out?”
Interestingly, the answer is yes.
Victor responds: “Yes, I have always removed contact lenses, because one of the things that we need to do is ‘set the feature’ which means close the mouths and eyes.
“We have a device called eye caps that lets us do this, which are basically spikey contact lenses that grip the eyes and remove the contact lenses.”
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An odd yet interesting question asked by user @laneyg7 was:
“Will my cat eat me when I die?”
Actually, the answer to this one is yes.
Victor says: “I’ve actually heard of that happening with some colleagues of mine, cats will eat anything, they are opportunists.”
Next, @clementoontown asked:
“Okay, full disclosure, I’m fat, I’m not trying to be fatphobic, but how do extremely obese people like 400lbs+ fit in a coffin? Do they make a plus sized coffin?”
According to Victor, no fat is removed from the dead body.
He continues: “We actually have caskets that are made oversized, typically when someone is larger we measure them at their elbows as they stick out the furthest.”
As the video continues, @cforchase asks:
“Do morticians put chapstick on the bodies or are they just sitting there, casket open, lips cracked out?”
Victor responds: “That’s actually a great concern of ours, drying out. As you die your body is not producing oils so your skin can get quite dry. We have a heavy face cream we use on almost everybody that comes through in the interim.
“It’s used so their lips don’t dry out, but as far as chapstick goes, I’ve never put it on a body, but if someone wanted me to, I probably would.”
This is someone many of us might wonder, @Court8311 asked on Twitter:
“now I’m on Google looking up the weirdest stuff like what do dead bodies smell like?”
Victor responds by saying: “Dead bodies smell awful. Rotting anything smells awful, it’s a smell you never forget.
“I myself went out to a nice restaurant to have some aged steak and I couldn’t do it.”
Here are a few more questions that may have been on you mind:
“What do morticians do with our organs after embalming? What happens when they aren’t donated?”
Victor says: “If you’re not donating, all your organs will stay inside your body. We can prep them all internally. After we finish arterial embalming we do cavity embalming.
“Cavity embalming is when we puncture the lungs, heart, intestines, stomach and kidneys too.”
Morticians use a tool to drown all the nasty fluids out of your body to preserve your organs, so that’s one less thing to worry about.
Finally, @LeoDeMontaque asks:
“Does a mortician feel just as sad when someone close to them dies?”
Victor responds: “The short answer is yes. That was one of the things I really got worried about when I first came into this profession. At a certain point, when you see a dead body, you almost go into work mode.
“My own grandpa passed away a few months ago and I feel just as sad about that as I think I ever would.”
You can watch the full video here if you are still curious about the life of a mortician.