Arrrgh! Susan over at West of Mars did a TT that juiced me up to do 13 Bar couples this week. I’d been feeling kinda meh about that topic and wrote up 13 things I know because I work at a cemetery. Now I can’t make up my mind! I’d do both, just cause I could, and because I’m a lamer who can’t choose. However, time constraints are forcing me to go with my ghoulish cemetery TT.
Thirteen Things I Know Because I Work at a Cemetery
1. The big oven used to do cremations is called a retort.
2. Cremains are not ash like in a fireplace. It’s more like fine sand. In fact, there are usually small bone fragments so everything that comes out of the retort is put in a grinder before it’s bagged and put in the urn.
3. I have felt warm cremains boxes before. They retain their heat for awhile, and when our crematory guy brings the boxes up to put in the vault, sometimes they are still warm to the touch.
4. When someone is embalmed, blood is drained from the body (usually via the carotid artery) and replaced with embalming fluid. The fluid is pinkish to help give the skin some color.
5. A Depository is a vault in the ground where they drop bags of cremains. It’s sort of a common grave for cremated remains. We have one that does not list whose cremains are within. We have two others with a granite slab where the names are engraved.
6. A lawn crypt is a grave with a cement vault set into it and at least 18 inches of sod on top. When you bury someone in a lawn crypt you peel off the sod, dig down the 2 feet to the top of the lawn crypt and then pry up the cement lid. In a companion lawn crypt, there’s another lid 6 feet down you have to remove in order to put the first casket in.
7. A cenotaph is a marker for someone who isn’t buried in the place where the marker is, or even in the cemetery. A lot of people buy these when their loved one has been cremated and scattered.
8. It’s illegal to scatter human cremains on private property unless you have the permission of the property owner.
9. When I visited the Orange County Coroner’s Office with our Mortuary Explorer’s Club, the sheriffs were selling chocolate toe tags to help raise funds for a related charity.
10. It takes a minimum of 2-3 hours to cremate a person.
11. Some cemeteries, like where I work, require that the family purchase a vault for the casket when burying in the ground. This keeps the grave from caving in.
12. There is a difference between a casket and a coffin. Coffins are no longer used in this country but other places still use them. Many of you who watch the news may have seen Benazir Bhutto’s coffin carried on the shoulders of her people after her assassination. Probably the biggest casket manufacturer is Batesville, located in Batesville, IN.
13. You can have the cremains of your loved one made into a diamond.
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For those of you who know that I have been on pins and needles awaiting this wonderful arrival… IT’S HERE! My giraffe purse arrived from Dooney! I’m so amazed by it, that I have yet to unwrap it from the plastic. I’ll be taking some pics for posting soon. Oh, and I have a naughty giraffe pic for Friday too. Heh heh. Wait until you see THAT! Happy TT!