I put makeup on corpses for funerals – sometimes they leak but I can handle it

I put makeup on corpses for funerals – sometimes they leak but I can handle it


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A mortician has been sharing every detail about her work in a bid to make people less afraid to talk about death.

Eileen Hollis spends her days embalming bodies at her family's Hollis Funeral Home in New York and makes videos on TikTok about how she prepares corpses so they look their best for loved ones.

In a recent video uploaded on her @hollisfuneralhomeTikTok, Eileen explains that embalming normally takes a couple of hours but things like edema will make the process more complex.

Embalming is when the body is prepared with chemicals like formaldehyde to delay decomposition and it's popular in the US where open casket funerals are common.

The mortician will also do the makeup and other cosmetic work on the bodies.

Eileen told Daily Star: "Occasionally morticians will hear air escaping from the deceased person’s lungs. It sounds like they’re exhaling, but with a bit of a gurgle.

She continued: "I usually hear this when I’m lifting the person's upper body. It’s normal and nothing to be afraid of. Also the dead do not sit up."

Eileen also explains corpses can sometimes get a bit messy and says there are "many reasons why a dead human body may leak".

She adds: "I’ll give you one example… Sometimes the body is edematous."

Edema is swelling that’s caused by fluid trapped in the human body’s tissues.

It’s often caused by congestive heart failure, chronic illnesses, and medications.

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"We also use plastic mortuary undergarments to create a barrier between the body and their clothes", Eileen explained.

"Sometimes an edematous person's upper and lower extremities may experience blistering.

"In those cases, morticians must drain the fluid-filled blisters and chemically treat each and every blister.

"Once the tissue is preserved, I personally wrap their extremities with cohesive tape.

"Nobody can see them because in those cases, I would ask for an outfit with long sleeves."

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Eileen says people shouldn't "overthink" death because "most people don’t know how or when they’re going to die".

She says: "Death is a natural part of life and it’s the one thing we have in common.

"It’s possible for deathcare workers to have anxieties surrounding death. I certainly do!

"My anxieties aren’t about being in the presence of a dead human body, though.

"I get anxious when I think about taking over my father’s business. I was born ready to carry on his legacy, but the fear of failure still floods my mind from time to time."

Eileen says the reality of her family members one day passing sometimes "makes me worry myself into a tizzy".

She says: "I could be lounging on the couch watching Great British Bake Off and *WHAM* I spiral into existential dread and wonder if I’m having a heart attack.

"I want everyone to know that these feelings are NORMAL – what’s abnormal is that we aren’t talking about it!"

Eileen's fans agree with her sentiment, with one commenting on a video: "Thank you for being 'morbid' you have helped so much accepting this crazy little thing called death and preparing our shells for burial."

  • TikTok

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