What is a Mortuary and what goes on there?

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What is a Mortuary?

Our brain is an imaginative and powerful thing.  When it is left to its own devices, it runs off and creates these wild and outrageous scenarios and creates an idea based on things we have seen or heard.  Television is a prime contributor to imaginative ideas when it comes to mortuaries and what happens behind their doors.

The truth is, a mortuary is a place where the preparation of your loved one occurs.  For us, it is a place of serenity, peace, process and standards and all of that is underpinned with a sense of love and care.

When we die, we may not always be at our best.  The mortuary is the place where we help your loved ones get back to their best, to look restful and at peace.

The easiest way to explain what happens in a mortuary is to think of it like a bathroom.  The mortuary is where your loved one will be showered, teeth brushed, hair and make up done, and where they will be dressed for their funeral service.  Our approach to the mortuary and the work that is performed there, is that it should be the least invasive as possible, it should be gentle, respectful and always dignified for your loved ones.

What Happens In A Mortuary?

First, when your loved one is taken into the mortuary, they will be placed onto a preparation table. This is where they will be washed, their teeth will be cleaned, hair shampooed and conditioned and their fingernails and toenails cleaned. Once they have had their shower, they will be dried and dressed in the clothing supplied by the family.  Sometimes families find it difficult to select clothing or don’t want to part with the clothing, so instead, we dress your loved ones in a white shroud.

Once they are cleaned, dried and dressed, we then take time to apply light make up (or no make up if the family prefer) and brush and style their hair.  As often as possible we like to provide our mortuary team with a photo of your loved one so they can see how they wore their hair, or how they applied their make up.  Our goal is to have your loved one looking as natural as possible, so we avoid heavy or thick make up and we keep things as light and natural as possible.

Once this has all be finished, your loved on is then placed into their coffin, which has been trimmed (lined, a name plate attached and polished for the service) and kept in a climate controlled area until the day of their service.

The process in the mortuary is peaceful, is soft and gentle and we like to think of it as a little bit of pampering for your loved one before their earthly body leaves us.  It is also important to know that the mortuary is not out of bounds to families.  Some families like to be part of the process by dressing their loved ones or applying their make up. It has only been in the last 80-100 years that we have outsourced after death care, whereas before that, we generally did all of this ourselves.  Our mortuary team are highly experienced, highly qualified and are passionate about the care that they give each and every day.

Most importantly, families should know that our mortuary is a place of peace.  Like everything that we do when it comes to funerals, it is from a place of love, care and compassion and something that we hold very dear.

If you have questions about anything that happens as part of the preparation of a funeral, why not get in touch with us at 1300 043 522 or family@mccartneyfunerals.com.au and let us answer any questions you may have.

*Our Funeral Blog is a place for information and learning, so if there is something that you would like to know, why not shout out to us on social media so we can answer your questions in one of our future blogs!* 

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