Why Would Someone Be Embalmed Before Cremation?

Posted on: 16 November 2020


When someone passes away, their family will need to consider whether or not to have an open casket at the funeral or perhaps at a prior viewing. An open casket also raises the possibility of embalming, but what about when your loved one wanted to be cremated? Is embalming compatible with cremation?

Not Generally Mandatory

Embalming can certainly be utilized before someone is cremated, although it's not generally mandatory. Your funeral director can tell you if it's a requirement in your case, but this is usually only when there are additional circumstances to consider, such as if your loved one died due to an infectious illness or if their remains must be transported across state lines for their funeral and cremation. Cremation services companies can take possession of an embalmed body for cremation, even though cremation and embalming aren't ordinarily used together. But there are some circumstances where it might be necessary. 

Part of the Process

For some family members and friends, viewing the body of their deceased loved one is part of the grieving process, regardless of whether the ceremony ends in burial or cremation. Embalming is a form of preservation and restoration, allowing the deceased to appear in a natural state, and might be suggested when there might be a delay between death and the funeral service. Cold storage can often also achieve the same effect, but it's not always possible to store human remains in cold storage for an extended period of time. However, you should discuss the timeframe with your chosen funeral director as cold storage might be sufficient. 

When Restoration Is Needed

Cold storage might not be enough for your purposes when restoration work is also a requirement. Embalming helps return the remains to a natural state, which might not have been how your loved one looked at the time of their death. Death due to trauma or an accident doesn't exclude the possibility of an open casket before cremation, but embalming can be a necessary step to enable cosmetic restoration. This type of restoration can involve rebuilding your loved one's face, often with the assistance of wax or plaster of Paris. Only once this restoration work has been completed can your loved one be made to look as natural as possible.

Embalming is compatible with cremation, even if the two processes aren't regularly used in conjunction with each other. But depending on your specific needs, embalming might be beneficial. Contact a company, such as Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel, for more information.