1. Apr, 2017

The 'Special relationship'

The UK and US have enjoyed a long standing 'special relationship' for many years. We have a lot of things in common but how we do death care is quite different. For instance in the UK we hold funeral services in crematorium chapels and in cemetery burial chapels. As I understand it this isn't common practice in the states?

We use coffins which are relatively plain and simple. Made mostly of plywood and lined with plastic and silk they are fitted with plastic handles as most funerals here are cremations. America tends to use large solidly build caskets with quilted mattresses, metal fittings and silk linings. Embalming here is not required by law and isn't something a lot of funeral homes push for.

I am surprised that in the USA embalming in some states is required by law and some funeral homes will not allow families to view without it. Education is important here but unlike in some states on the US you do not need to hold a mortuary science degree to practice as a funeral director or embalmer. Most of the training is done on the job rather than on a classroom. We carry our coffins on our shoulders almost all of the time. A practice that I have not seen in the US. But the one thing that most fascinates me are our differences in hearses. In the U.K. We tend to have large hearses with glass windows at the sides exposing the coffin and flowers. In America that doesn't seem to be the case. The coffin is hidden away. I may just like to add at this point I love American hearses. They look so sleek. But the one thing we do have in common is our love for the job and the sense of vocation both sets of funeral directors have.