As you would imagine, dressing a body isn’t the easiest task. But funeral directors do it every day so that families can spend their last moments with their loved ones.
Though virtually every funeral home has to perform this service for their families, each funeral home does it differently based on their families’ wishes and their own personal preferences. Some funeral homes have women dressing women and men dressing men, while others just use whoever is available unless a family makes a specific request.
Sometimes, it’s best to have several people working together to dress the deceased. This is because one person can work on putting the clothes on, while another helps lift and position the deceased to make it easier for the person doing the dressing.
Regardless of who does the dressing, though, the clothes are usually provided by the family. Many funeral directors will provide underwear if the family does not, out of a desire to honor the dead in their care by ensuring they are fully dressed.
The process of dressing a person can be quite a feat, and there are a lot of things that funeral directors have to think about before they ever put a single garment on. For example, if the family wants a belt put on, it’s best to put the belt in the pants loops before you put the pants on, as it saves you from having to lift the body more than you need to.
Some funeral directors prefer to cut garments and drape them over the top of the person, tucking them under them so that it simply appears as though they are dressed. But this can be problematic if the family wants the garments back after the viewing, or if the family or funeral director finds this to be disrespectful.
But, regardless of who does the dressing, or how the dressing is done, this part of the process plays an instrumental role in helping families grieve. In fact, some families even opt to help dress their loved ones; but if you decide to offer this possibility to your client families, there are some things to keep in mind:
- You may want to have them sign a waiver.
- Stay with the family throughout to assist or take over if necessary.
- Use discretion and common sense when deciding if this option is right for your family.
Some religions actually encourage taking part in dressing the dead, such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon church.
What are some suggestions you have for funeral directors or families who find themselves faced with dressing the deceased? Leave your tips in the comments below!