We don’t try to conquer deep theological questions relative to the afterlife in our funeral blog. But we do spend a lot of time around dead bodies. So, we have a certain degree of expertise when it comes to death. As a result, we can offer a few ideas about what happens to the human body after it dies. After all; like it or not, death is a natural part of life. In fact, it will happen to each and every one of us. Have you ever wondered what will happen to your body after it gives up the proverbial ghost? If so, read on.
(Adapted from Business Insider)
Whatever the cause of death, once the body dies, the process known as decomposition begins. Here are the nitty-gritty steps:
- Your brain activity surges, then stops.
- Deprived of oxygen, cells die.
- As they die, the cells break down and leak, starting a process known as putrefaction.
- Your body temp begins to fall at a rate of 1.6 degrees F per hour, until your corpse is room temperature.
- Calcium builds up in the muscles causing them to tense up. Known as “Rigor Mortis,” this lasts for about 36 hours.
- Eventually (no matter how uptight you were in life), your muscles relax. This could result in the release of remaining feces or urine.
- Gravity pulls blood down, draining your face of color. Light skinned people will look pale with red splotches. (And you thought your white skin made you look ghostly while you were alive!)
- As it dries out, your skin starts to shrink. This has the added gross-out factor of making it look like your hair and nails have started to grow. They haven’t.
- Your decaying body starts to smell as it releases chemicals called Putrescine/Cadaverine.
- With the help of bacteria, enzymes in your organs start to digest themselves.
- If you are left to the elements, maggots begin to digest you. Uninterrupted, they can digest 60 percent of a human body within a week.
- Aided by bacteria, your body turns purple, then black.
- Your hair starts to fall out.
- The soft tissue in bodies left at 50 degrees F will begin to decompose until all that is left is your skeleton.
Thankfully, you were born at a time when funeral home technicians, such as the ones at Foothill Funeral & Cremation, know how to delay or even prevent some of the biological functions that occur naturally after death. In most states, including Glendora, California, bodies which are not buried or cremated within 24-48 hours after death, must be properly preserved. These methods include but are not limited to embalming and refrigeration, which the funeral home will be able to provide.
- Preserved through controlled temperature.
- May be preserved for weeks.
- Cost less than embalming.
- May be required. (In California, for example, bodies must be embalmed or refrigerated if final disposition will not occur within 24 hours. If embalming is not possible, the body must be sealed in an approved container.)
- Preserved through surgical removal of bodily fluids.
- Can be preserved for up to a week or more.
- More expensive than refrigeration.
- May be required if a viewing or wake is to be held prior to cremation.
About Foothill Funeral & Cremation
Although we jest, we take death very seriously. 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. Or, if you prefer, reach us by email or drop by our Glendora showroom. Our relationship with United Methodist Church is the perfect place for mourners to host funerals and memorials. You’ll love the grandiose yet intimate setting.
We also specialize in helping with burial arrangements. And we 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.