Dead bodies are being preserved and exhibited in life-like situations so loved ones can view them as they knew before they are ultimately laid to rest.
‘Extreme Embalming,’ which explores the rising popularity of ‘lifelike’ funerals in the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico and the USA, was featured in a documentary with interviews with funeral directors and families. The unorthodox practice had grew to prominence in Puerto Rico, prior to spreading out to the likes of Ohio and New Orleans as a means of providing dead bodies more of a celebratory farewell. Last August, the family of Mickey Easterling elected to go for the ‘extreme embalming’ method for her memorial.
She was positioned sitting down in her signature trademark feather boa – a cigarette in one hand, a glass of Champagne in the other – exactly as she was known while still breathing. Easterling had evidently told her daughter she desired her memorial to be one last opportunity for her to throw a gala, so she could be the posh hostess, too in her afterlife. “It was a very nice party, actually,” funeral director Patrick Schoen expressed. “She was kind of set back a little bit from us, almost like a stage setting, with orchids all around her to make it look like she was in a garden. She had a little bucket next to her with the champagne bottle in it, and a pink boa on her. Her hairdresser came and did her hair. She was in all her designer clothes.”
Renard Matthews, 18, just months before enjoyed a similar memorial. After being fatally gunned down while walking his dog in June 2018, Matthews’ mother Temeka felt her son deserved a non-traditional, special send-off. She said her son was ‘a bit of a homebody’ who was the biggest Bolton Celtics fans, thereby the family situated him at the funeral home sitting in a chair playing NBA2K in front of the TV. He was too sporting a Kyrie Irving Celtics jersey with correlating socks, and had a root beer and a bag of Doritos on the table beside him.
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