If you’re a fan of any of the (original or remake) Laura Croft Tomb Raider or The Mummy films, you probably have an idea of what happens after death. The problem is that if it’s based on those movies, your impression misses the mark. Like most Hollywood fare, the truth is a little less sensational.
The term ‘mummification’ typically reminds folks of Ancient Egypt. But embalming is a more contemporary term for the processes used in funeral homes today. That said, embalming is actually just one step of the mummification process which could be defined as: “the purposeful preservation of a corpse to delay decomposition.” Short of Hollywood studios, people no longer mummify in order to protect the bodies of those who have passed. Embalming is de rigueur (which seems a fitting term to use since it is reminiscent of rigor mortis, something we encounter in the mortuary field.)
While we’ve covered the art of embalming in previous blog posts, we wanted to take this opportunity to discuss something many people wonder but few understand – what happens to your body after you are buried. Unless your dead body miraculously lands in an Egyptian tomb, your remains will likely end up in a funeral home. Unless you have pre-planned your final wishes, your friends and family will decide what to do with your body.
If they opt for cremation, your remains will be prepared and then delivered to a crematorium. Click here to read more about that process. If, on the other hand, your loved ones decide to purchase (or rent) a casket, your body will be preserved either temporarily (for a short, small family-only viewing) or embalmed. But have you ever wondered what happens after your body is placed into the casket and the coffin is buried in the ground?
Stages of Decay after Burial
(Warning – not for the faint of heart. If you don’t want to know what happens to your body after death, stop reading now.)
- Initial decay
(AKA Autolysis) In this stage, the corpse looks fine externally. However, internal organs start to break down.
Within two-three days, bacteria is active. As a result, the body becomes swollen with gases and accompanying odors.
- Black Putrefaction
At this stage, the skin starts to blacken as gases escape from the body.
Very strong odors emit from the surface and mold appears, although the body begins to dry out at this stage.
- Dry Decay
For the most part, the cadaver is entirely dried out by this time, which considerably slows the rate of decay.
If you don’t want to know about this stuff, that’s okay. We’re here to handle it for you, so you can celebrate the life that was lived.
About Foothill Funeral & Cremation
We know your loved one was very important to you. And we value the opportunity to celebrate his or her life or help you pre-plan a service for yourself. Feel free to contact us now to pre-plan your own memorial or at your time of need (626) 335-0615. Our relationship with United Methodist Church and Sacred Heart provide great places for mourners to host funerals and memorials. You’ll love the grandiose yet intimate settings in both locations.
We also specialize in helping with burial arrangements and proudly serve the San Gabriel Valley, San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles Basin, Orange County and the Inland Empire. Finally, working in the mortuary industry since 1996, our reputation is one of quality, sincerity and trust. Please allow us to help you at your time of need or in the future. Call today (626) 335-0615 or contact us via email.