Ask Me Anything (except for money)

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Tue, 11/07/2017 - 2:02pm (Reply to #51)
Caleb Wilde
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Yes, I do. I'm emotionally

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Yes, I do. I'm emotionally constipated.

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 9:13am
jjb2008
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out of state burial

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My family owns several plots at a cemetery in my hometown. I would like my husband and I to be buried there. (he doesn't have family that he would be buried with). But if he dies first, I think it would be hard for me to not have a place to go to (it's 8+ hours away). Do people ever have someone in a above ground mausoleum thingy (I think they look like shelves with doors). and then move them to another location later. I feel conflicted. I personally greatly prefer burial over cremation - yet I think if I don't have a place to visit (should he die first) that would be hard -- ie, if he is buried far away. We are healthy now & middle aged, but I have thought about this some due to recent deaths in my circle. What are your thoughts?

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 8:26am (Reply to #53)
Caleb Wilde
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If money is no concern, and

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If money is no concern, and if this situation played out, you could place him in a mausoleum, or have him buried. You could make arrangements to have him disintered and moved to your hometown cemetery upon your death. Again, this would be pretty expensive ... and I can't even give you a ballpark price because there's so many factors that I simply can't account for. You'd have to call the funeral home you plan to use and ask them to give you a ballpark price for disinterment, plus transport to you hometown cemetery, plus interment in your hometown cemetery.

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 8:37am (Reply to #54)
jjb2008
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Thanks. I will make some

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Thanks. I will make some inquiries. Hopefully this would be years away, and may never happen - but getting today's prices could be a starting data point.

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:36am
Nmb1974
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I loved your book!

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I've been following your blog for a few years because I love your writing, and that's pretty much why I bought your book, tbh. (I'm just a word wrangler, myself; I have no real personal or professional interest in the death/dying business.)

I was particularly interested in reading the parts about creating a death positive experience. I'm an older mom, which means that my 6-year-old has gone to three funerals in three years -- nobody she was particularly close to (great-grandparents and a great-great-aunt with whom she'd had little contact), but it's definitely had an impact on her all the same. And as she is far closer to her own grandparents than I ever was to mine, I've begun to worry how she will handle losing them. (Old mom = old grandparents. I'm also worried how I will handle losing them -- I won't lie.) Given my family history, I was raised to believe that death was a horrible tragedy, and sheltered from exposure to it until I was an adult. I don't think this is a particularly healthy attitude, though I completely understand why my family felt that way. Given that death is inevitable, and in the case of certain family members hardly unforeseeable, I am educating myself about death-positive experiences so that perhaps I can help us all better cope with losses as they come. Thank you for introducing me to the concept.

And none of that was really a question. Just a request to keep sprinkling that positive stuff. The world needs more of that.

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 8:27am (Reply to #56)
Caleb Wilde
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Thank you :)

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Thank you :)

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 7:25pm
Fran.Ladybythesea
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Most Embarrassing Moment

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What was your most embarrassing working moment and how did you handle it?

Francesca

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 8:30am (Reply to #58)
Caleb Wilde
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A couple years ago I was

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A couple years ago I was opening the door of the funeral home for a couple elderly ladies to enter. They were chatting and didn't see that I had opened the door for them, so one of the ladies reached out for the door handle and instead of the handle grabbed my "man area". Because she was talking, she it took her a couple seconds to loosen her very tight grip on my parts. It was all very awkward.

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 8:30am (Reply to #59)
Caleb Wilde
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A couple years ago I was opening the door of the funeral home for a couple elderly ladies to enter. They were chatting and didn't see that I had opened the door for them, so one of the ladies reached out for the door handle and instead of the handle grabbed my "man area". Because she was talking, she it took her a couple seconds to loosen her very tight grip on my parts. It was all very awkward.

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 7:04pm (Reply to #60)
Cheryl Whitney
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Embarrassing moment

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Duplicate answer for #57.

Cheryl J. Whitney

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 7:11am
M. Joy
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transporting boy for burial

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My mother-in-law is in failing health and we will soon be looking at planning her funeral. She lives in FL, family burial plot is in PA. Paying for the funeral is a HUGE issue. Who do we go to find out about transporting her body and how much does this typically cost? And how do we know we are not being swindled? Can family members save money by transporting the body themselves in a large truck and if so, what is the paperwork involved with driving a body across state lines? We don't even know where to start with this.

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 8:19am (Reply to #62)
Caleb Wilde
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You can transport the body

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You can transport the body yourselves. And you probably don't need a large truck. A minivan with all the seats folded flat will work. As far as permits, each state varies and I can't tell you which states require what. There's no transport permit needed in Pennsylvania. Talk to the funeral director in Florida and ask him Florida's transport laws and he might be able to provide you a permit. We have independent drivers transport bodies across state lines all the time and there's never, ever been a problem. To be honest, I wouldn't worry about the legality of it as much as I'd worry about the legistics of securing the casket and planning your trip in a safe and timely fashion.

Florida is a rather competitive state for funeral homes because there are so many shipouts (like your mother-in-law). Just like your MOL, many people retire in Florida but want to be buried in their home state. That competition can be used to your advantage. Call around to a couple different funeral homes, explain to them what you want to do and ask them for a price. Go with the cheapest funeral home.

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 4:04pm (Reply to #63)
M. Joy
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Thanks. Very helpful.

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Thanks. Very helpful.

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 8:10am
Varkalis
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Body Identification For Re-internment?

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Recently Judy Garland's body was reinterred to another mausoleum after many years. Would a family member or anyone else have to identify the body before it is reinterred?

Midwest Cemetery Preservation

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 8:20am (Reply to #65)
Caleb Wilde
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No. I've never heard of such

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No. I've never heard of such a thing. It would be incredibly traumatic if there was such a requirement.

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 3:17pm
imnotbetty
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Women Funeral Directors

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Hi, Caleb!

I grew up in a unique situation, where my parents had a care home for people approaching end of life. We often worked with hospice, coroners, funeral directors, etc from the time I was a child. Being involved in this process created a lifelong passion and interest in becoming a funeral director, but I'll admit that it seems like a largely male dominated field which is intimidating for me as a mom of three considering finally taking the plunge. Any insight about women Funeral directors? What about doing this line of work with kids?

Bethany

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 4:41pm (Reply to #67)
Caleb Wilde
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Hi, Bethany! When I went to

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Hi, Bethany! When I went to funeral school back in the early 2000s, about half of my class were women, providing some evidence that the industry has changed ... for the better.

The work schedule for funeral directors -- especially those looking to break into the business -- is generally difficult, especially if you have little ones. There are options you could look into that would give you a kinder working schedule, such as a pre-need counselor, or some other role that doesn't involve evening and night shifts. If you choose to pursue this line of work, you'd definitely need a strong support team of friends and relatives to help you through the first couple years of school, apprenticeship and job searching. But, your familiarity with death and dying certainly gives you an advantage.

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 6:07pm
Cryssie9705
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Filling out clothes

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Why would clothes need to be stuffed to fill them out? For example an obese person who died with extreme fluid retention and edema, their clothes were stuffed at visitation, do the bodies lose their fluid and fat?

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 8:20pm (Reply to #69)
Caleb Wilde
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What do you mean by "stuffed"

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What do you mean by "stuffed"? Was there cotton underneath the clothing, or something similar?

For cases like this, I'd likely use plastic undergarments underneath the clothing to make sure the potential fluid leaks were contained in the plastic. Do you think that the "stuffed clothing" was maybe just plastic undergarments?

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 10:43pm
Missy Brewer Woods
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Cremation

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My 23 yr old son passed away in January this year.
He was cremated, but we had a “casketed” funeral service (not sure if that’s really a word) with open casket viewing for family only and closed casket for others.
My question is: When a person is cremated, are they cremated with absolutely everything they have on or in the casket with them?

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 8:55pm (Reply to #71)
Caleb Wilde
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We make a habit of asking

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We make a habit of asking every family what they want to stay with the deceased and what they want to go with the deceased. It's my absolute nightmare that we'd bury or cremate something that the family values. But, if they don't tell us to remove something from the deceased, it goes with them. Clothing, shoes, belts, etc.

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 10:22pm
Kitty-bit
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Transferring a body from overseas

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A little background: 10 years ago next month my best friend died while doing a short-term missions trip in Burkina Faso. So, her parents had to have her brought back to the U.S. (she was their only child). Fortunately, she had thought to purchase insurance prior to travelling. Anyhow, I'm wondering what the process is like from a funeral director's point of view? I'm friends with the funeral director who picked her up, etc. but I've never wanted to ask him about it...I don't know why.My husband (who used to work as a grave digger/monument carver) has been able to answer some of my questions, but the real person to ask is someone who has been there. So, who calls you, who do you work with...how does it all come about?

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 5:51pm (Reply to #73)
Caleb Wilde
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Generally, the family calls

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Generally, the family calls us to get the ball rolling. There are businesses solely dedicated to orchestrating the process of getting the body from one country back to our country. The paperwork can be daunting depending on the country where the death occurred. As you can imagine, countries with a poor relationship with the US are usually more difficult to work with.

Thu, 11/23/2017 - 5:10am
Lori55
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Various questions.

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Hello from Australia. Looking forward to reading your book when I can get my hands on it.

A couple of questions that I’ve often wondered:

How do you deal with things such as smells whilst preparing a body?

What is the most common special request you get asked to accommodate by families?

And what part of your line of work brings you the most joy?

Thu, 11/23/2017 - 11:37am (Reply to #75)
Caleb Wilde
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I've dry heaved a few times

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I've dry heaved a few times from the smells. There's a number of methods people us. My dad used to chew tobacco. On occasion, I've used really strong mints (Altoids) to overcome the smell. There are some products designed specifically to mask the smells. It's the surprise smells that are difficult. That is, you have a death call at a house, and you walk into a situation where the deceased has been dead for a couple weeks. At that point you all the gods to help you keep your food down.

The most common special request? That's a hard one. We get a lot of people who want the cheapest casket possible. Does that qualify?

I get the most joy from working with families, figuring out how to serve them, and then doing the best I can.

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 11:53am
anjalich
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Sankranthi Designs

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Can anyone of you please give a brief description about the rangoli designs orsankranthi muggulu with chukkaluwhich are well popular in the India . Particularly the south Indian side.

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