After I posted in TIL about the difficulties of embalming gunshot cases and drug overdose deaths, they encouraged me to post here about the crazy experiences I've had.

Here's an album showing the mortician side, the cosplayer, and the bikinis I've made. (YES, I hand make All of my costumes)

Time for FUN stuff!

My most difficult case to restore.

I've worked on many gunshot wounds and they're insanely difficult if they entered the skull, bid my hardest case was a decapitation. We used dowels in the neck for structure and stability, used a cauterant and stitched the vessels shut, and sewed the head back on. Then, a product called wound filler (a wax-type substance) covered the baseball stitches and have the appearance of smooth flesh. Then l airbrushed the makeup on.

This is the funniest way I can describe one of the grossest parts of my job... Washing and plugging up vaginal and anal holes

Why do I like my job?

It's really rewarding. I love getting difficult cases and giving the families a peaceful chance to say goodbye.

Fact: very obese people can start grease fires in crematories so most use an absorbent such as Kitty litter. So in obese cases, not all of the "Ashes"are necessarily cremated remains.

How do you become a funeral director/embalmer?

Go to college and get a degree in mortuary science, pass the National Board Exams (arts and science), complete an apprenticeship. Ta Da!

What is the saddest part?

The saddest part of the job is children. I am still emotionally haunted by a two year old girl... She was the most adorable little thing and her parents were told, after her, that they would never be able to have kids again... Autopsy/coroner employees in most states only require a high school diploma... No college degree or license... The coroner determined the cause of death to be SIDS.... No reason known why she died. I cried a lot.

Drug overdose? Why is that complicated?

Drug overdoses make embalming difficult for two main reasons; it causes a chemical imbalance which can render embalming arterial fluid ineffective, they cause major organ damage. If the liver and kidneys are weak or torn, they can release urea into the body which basically neutralizes the formaldehyde. If the arteries, veins, or heart are damaged, the embalming process (which requires an intact circulatory system), would be unable to cycle.

What is involved in facial reconstruction?

Depending on the case, here are some procedures that may have to be done; puzzling the skull back together, using prosthetics to fill in for missing bones or body parts, applying cosmetic waxes or wound filler to gashes, lacerations, and open wounds, treating the areas with wax (adding hair, stippling to appear as porous, adding wrinkles and lines, etc), applying cosmetics either by hand or with an airbrush, and styling hair.

What's the craziest thing someone had asked me to do to their loved one.

I get requests quite often to make someone's deceased wife "perky" but the one that takes the cake wasn't mine but my college professor. They had top prop a guy up in the corner, holding a beer... She said it was incredibly difficult.

I'm happy to answer questions about any of my three jobs.

Oh, I'm also a life insurance "purchaser" meaning in licensed to sell life insurance policies. In Colorado, you have to have a life insurance license to sell pre-need funeral arrangements... Weird, huh?

Oh, and if anyone cares, here's my Etsy.

Comments: 287 • Responses: 128  • Date: 

Liv-Julia32 karma

I've seen you on etsy! I recognize the bikinis and the eight note tattoo.

Seriously, would like to know:

  1. Do corpses really sit up? I'm a hospice nurse and have washed and dressed many dead people, some starting to get into rigor. I have had them groan in my ear when I rolled them over and their glottis opens. But sitting up seems impossible to me.

  2. Do you have any unwinding rituals?

  3. Do you believe in an afterlife and/or a Supreme Being.

  4. Have you seen anything creepyspooky you couldn't explain away?

  5. Do you interact with the family at all? That must be tiring/take it out of you.

Tejnin24 karma

Cadaveric spasms are incredibly rare and are usually only triggered by being touched/moved, but it does happen. I was done with a removal at my first funeral job and had an arm hit me (not hard), moving him off the cot. I screamed like a sissy

Cosplay is my unwinding.. There's days that families chew into me for no reason other than that they Ste grieving, so I go home and start sewing, painting and resining.. It's relaxing.

As for my religious beliefs, I joke that at work I'm a chameleon. I have been trained in every main religion so I know the cultures, customs, and mannerisms of each. For very religious families, "I will pray for you" for atheist families, "I'll keep you in my thoughts"

I personally, I guess I'm non-denomination or agnostic... I think there could be a god or multiple gods, but I don't think they have much control if any. I definitely believe that spirits live on, be it ghosts, guardian angels, whatever, I have seen crazy things that really make me believe we aren't alone.

When I was a little girl my Guinea pig died and my mom told me she ran away. That night, I heard her squeaking, and screamed for my mom to help me find her. Mom came in (looking very confused) because she heard the squeaks too.

Mom finally sat me down and tried to explain that rosebud died. I was in disbelief for weeks...the squeaks continued on until will after we moved out. The people that moved in asked us, while we were all at a neighbor's house, if there was pipe problems or such...

I also geocache a lot and myself and 5 others were looking for one in a cemetery at night (yes, I'm weird) All but one of us saw this woman in a white gown appear and disappear put of no where... I would have blown it off as fog or mist with matrixing but then my other friends all freaked out. It could still be mist, but it wouldn't surprise me either way.

I love working with families. That's where the emotional reward is. In the beginning, they're lost and angry but at the end, they're at peace and calm.

kushwonderland5 karma

Did you find the geocache? Maybe it was setup to scare people looking for it.

Tejnin7 karma

Oh yeah, my teams, the CLBandJedis and the RogueJediElite are masters at finding geocaches!

Crazydraenei2 karma

Wtf is a geoache?

Tejnin8 karma

gasp ...


It's a worldwide scavenger hunt that goes on 24/7.

Go to or download the app, it'll give you coordinates, and find the hidden container... There might be treasure inside... Though usually it's just a scroll that you sign, log online, and move to the next one! It's a blast!

chickenwinning2 karma

Yay! Another fellow geocacher redditor. high fives

My question for you is, how would you say the funeral business is? Obviously, a lot of people die everyday, but are there less people in that business, or is it expanding? I would think that there are less people in the business because it's an unusual job choice.

Tejnin3 karma

It's not terribly competitive but it's something that people can do all their lives so it's difficult to get started

LizardKingRumsfeld1 karma

I always wanted to geocache and tried a few times, but I have no GPS or money for such, and therefore, I failed to ever find anything.

Tejnin2 karma

You don't need money or a GPS, use your phone. The app does cost $10 but it's well worth it... There's hundreds, all around you... Most walking/biking distance.

MiG_Eater3 karma


Tejnin1 karma

Yes, after the Beethoven movies

CapAnson18 karma

I don't know that I have a question other than you seem like an incredibly interesting person. Ok here's one: have you ever had to work on someone that you knew? Was that awkward?

Tejnin63 karma

My grandfather. Not awkward but made me incredibly OCD... I wanted him to look perfect. I'm proud.

My grandma hugged me and whispered "Shelby, that's incredible, he looks hot!"

It was great to hear her laugh.

EB30319 karma

Not awkward but made me incredibly OCD

That's a strange way of putting it...

Tejnin17 karma

Made me incredibly obsessive compulsive. Oops!

Scharute5 karma

Aren't there any rules against embalming family members?

Tejnin19 karma

I want to embalm my kin.... Always... I don't trust anyone else better than myself.

Billebill3 karma

Can't believe I missed this AMA, my wife is a funeral director/embalmer, and the second person she ever embalmed after starting her job was her grandmother

Tejnin2 karma

It's really difficult. She's strong.

Billebill1 karma

She is strong. If you're still around I guess I'll keep some questions coming because I'm really curious about your perspective on some things as opposed to my wife's. She hates dealing with families because of the business side, asking for so much money up front(not a wealthy area), and her corporately owned(SCI/Dignity) forces her to work more in the front office than she prefers, so she spends alot of time being chewed out by families for reciting the prices. She is a true artist in the prep room, I've spent quite a few nights up with her driving to and from homes and watching her work. That said, I do enjoy seeing success stories in the industry which you are, my wife is considering nursing.

Tejnin1 karma

Get her out of SCI... At my work, my bosses have "fondly" nicknamed them "the enemy" My managers have over 60 years experience at SCI and said they're going downhill so quickly... It's all about the money and it's still very sexist and strict.

I shadowed there for 2 weeks and went nuts... The music had to be a specific tempo, the prices were outrageous, the packages were a rip... And it didn't take into consideration the demographics because prices were universal... I've never seen so many people leave because of price.

I am really lucky and currently have a female boss who hires many women, kindof reverse sexism. The hours are still a bit overwhelming at times but I get to participate in all aspects. We work with medicaid and a lot of other organizations/foundations to help families afford the cost, and my bosses are meticulous in training, always guiding so you know if there's a better way to do something. It's not perfect, but it's not as bad as it could be.

It's better for families.

Billebill1 karma

I bet your ex-SCI managers have some great stories. The sexism is very rampant and SCI management is ridiculously concerned about their JD Power score. How many funerals/bodies does your place pickup in a year? She has about 200 on average. Got a favorite memorial service story?

Tejnin1 karma

We do 800 a year. And there's only 13 of us :) Including support staff Only 7 of us meet with families... So yeah, it's crazy.

My favorite memorial service... Hmm... I like the people who go all out for military. The other day we had a flyover, the patriot guard(and all their motorcycles), the army honor guard, and live musicians. It was awesome...

I also enjoy themed funerals. Back home, my friends Aunt passed and she was OBSESSED with the Detroit Tigers. Everyone, and I mean everyone, came in with either Tigers gear or orange and navy colored clothes . She was buried wearing her favorite Jersey, tiger cat ears and a stuffed "Paws" the mascot.

Everyone better be in costume for me :3

mister_gone3 karma

My brother in law had to work on his grandma (maybe it was a close aunt) and my mother within about a week of each other. I don't generally like the guy that much, but he pulled his shit together and did an amazing job. I'll always respect him for that.

Tejnin1 karma

Good, I'm glad that worked out :3

tptguy8313 karma

Do you think you'll reach a point where performing your mortician job will be unbearable? Have you thought about parlaying your skills into a career in special effects make-up? I would think that would be less heart breaking long-term.

Tejnin31 karma

I don't find it as heartbreaking except with babies and toddlers. I only see those cases once a week. Other than that, the job is incredibly rewarding.

I use my special effects skills on my cosplay work, too, though. It's proven very beneficial... And I can turn people into badass looking zombies because I know what real deposition looks like.

I even messaged Greg Nicotero after season 1 of The Walking Dead and explained some potential flaws in his makeup... He never wrote me back, but everything (except the lime green stomach) was changed for season 2.

(Edit: bodies showing early signs of decomposition have lime green abdomens)

Jesusbait26 karma

I once emailed him about a decade ago. Didn't get a reply, but a week later a stranger forwarded me a chain of emails starting with the one I had sent. The whole chain was making fun of my email. It was quite aggravating, and really uncalled for. Hopefully yours turned out better.

Tejnin10 karma

I was very scientific, technical, and tried to use my own special effects makeup knowledge to help..

Who knows... All I know is, I saw a change and even if I don't get credit, I like to think that myself, other funeral directors, and autopsy techs helped.

NoNeedForAName20 karma

I only see those cases once a week.

ONLY once a week? Fuck that noise. I don't know that I could deal with a dead baby every week. You're tougher than I am.

Tejnin17 karma

My employer only charges $100 for everything (except urn) if they want a cremation, and $200 if they want viewing and burial. Plus in Colorado, there is an organization called TEARS who helps families pay for the expenses.

In Colorado, there is a severe thinning of oxygen and a lot of babies can't handle it when they're separated from mom. Don't give birth in Colorado.

lannister806 karma

Yeah, but don't they check the infant as soon as he's out of the womb for Apgar score, O2 sat, blood sugar, etc? And if O2 is low, straight to the O2 tent?

Genuinely curious.

Tejnin3 karma

Being as I'm not a doctor myself, I don't know all of the science behind it, but that's the "short story" I was told at the histology department of a local hospital when I first moved here. Edit: There's a lot stillborn too. Unexplained, most of the time, still.

Tejnin3 karma

Update: we've had 9 little ones in the last two weeks.

TheOrqwithVagrant2 karma

Seasoned FX pros like Nicotero will know exactly what realistic decomposition looks like; they generally use actual medical/crime scene material for reference, and they will have seen a lot of it. However, realistic rarely equals cinematic, and ultimately FX artists need to deliver what the director requests - which is more often than not what "looks good on screen", rather what it would look like in reality. Hence, mails "correcting" an FX artist on their "mistakes" may cause annoyance, no matter how well intended.

Tejnin6 karma

I understand, and it was definitely written with heart and was polite. I'm sure he had access, I just think there were enough people who wrote to either him or TWD that it incorporated more realism the following season. More than likely he ignored my message.. But a girl can dream.

manimal2810 karma

Does there seem to be any change in the number of people being cremated vs embalmed and buried? Any growth in concepts such as "green" burial; environmentally friendly chemicals and compostable coffins and such?

Tejnin12 karma

Cremation rates are growing consistently. It's less expensive and so many things can be done with cremated remains.. Turned into a diamond, shot off in fireworks, mixed with concrete in a mold and sunk to help endangered species in reefs, or simply placed into a necklace and always being with your loved one.

There's a few places that specialize in green funerals and I think they're wonderful. The problem is that in every state, after a certain amount of time, if anyone wants to view their loved one, they have to be embalmed for biohazard reasons.

Another misconception that seems to be popular is that cremation is green... It's far from it... It takes 16-20 gallons of gas per body, then if you sprinkle it on a garden too thickly, it'll kill everything. They only have one or two beneficial ingredients after the cremation process but it's heavily outweighed by the negatives.

It's always hard to explain to people that they have to scatter, not dump out the cremated remains.

molrobocop7 karma

A friend of mine just died, and I planned to scatter the ashes. How much is your most modestly priced receptacle?

Tejnin2 karma

Make one. Or go online... But insist that you open it from the box, regardless. I find tool boxes and fishing lure boxes are popular.

ndc36 karma

My dad said he wanted to turned into a diamond . I thought it was so bullshit he made up . So I guess it's diamond or get turned into a lamp that you have to kick in the balls to turn on

Tejnin3 karma

Yup! You really can be a diamond. There's so many crazy things that can be done with cremated remains... Just don't buy that silly "plant" that you put cremated remains in... It will be wimpy or die

x86_64Ubuntu4 karma

So I could become a toering after I die?

Tejnin4 karma

In all honesty, yes.. You must have a foot fetish?

yegit9 karma

Do you get bad nightmares at night? Ever? Also staying on the mental topic level how has the job adjusted your mental state of mind/physiologically speaking.

Tejnin31 karma

I do get zombie nightmares but I blame a Cadaveric spasm when I first started in the industry. When a body is entering or exiting rigor mortis, muscles can tighten or relax causing the body to move. It's very rare but I had an arm move and bump me... I don't think I've ever screamed that loud. (I was also only 17?)

As for how I've adjusted, I appreciate life more and how short it is... I do more spontaneous things and ko don't sweat small stuff... More importantly, I treat people better because I don't want regrets.

chrisWarn17 karma

Just in case of a future zombie outbreak you should do us all service and tie there shoes together.

Tejnin20 karma

Oh if I had a dollar for every time someone sent me that on Fb.....

Truth is, most people don't give us shoes.. And caskets lock, do without a key, they're stuck.. Plus, embalming fluids solidify them. They aren't going anywhere.. My zombie apocalypse weapon, the trocar! The instrument meant to pierce organs. Super sharp.

LizardKingRumsfeld2 karma

Well you've forced me to google trocar now and also start playing WoW again so I can call myself Trocar, Piercer of Organs.

Tejnin1 karma

Haha it's a fun instrument. Use a rapier as your weapon.. It's the most trocar-like

Beanieboru11 karma

I had a friend who was an undertaker, had to pick up a body in the middle of the night. On his way home, over some lonely misty hills - the body sits up in the back - he stopped the van jumped out and ran 5 miles home...

Tejnin9 karma

It's incredibly rare but it's called a Cadaveric spasm. Something triggers a body entering or exiting rigor to trigger the chemicals in the muscles.

MstrQf8 karma

To shadow someone what's the best way to go about that? Talking to funeral homes?

Tejnin6 karma

Go in looking classy (white top, black suit) and ask to speak to a manager or set up an appointment with one. Then express your interest and offer to do a week or two free, if you do a good job, they'll hire you. That'll give you a chance to see if you can handle it.

suddenlypenguin8 karma

Can... Can we be friends? You sound more awesome than any of my current friends.

Okay actual questions.. What do you like most about Colorado?

Edit: removed "where did you go to school" question. Saw an answer in a different comment. Interesting about Colorado being the only state to not require a degree!

Tejnin4 karma

Hi! Nice to meet you!

I like the hiking but I hate how it is so much more difficult. I did the Manitou Springs Incline last week... Thought I was going to die. Totally worth it!

curiousbrian8 karma

Death by hanging - always a closed casket?

Tejnin9 karma

Heck no. Wax and makeup and you'd never know

curiousbrian2 karma

recently attended a service where that was the case. Closed casket and have been curious as to why.

Tejnin8 karma

Either the family didn't want to pay for reconstruction (which they shouldn't have to, hanging cases aren't bad) Or the director was lazy... There's no excuse. I do that stuff as included in cosmetic costs.

corkentellis3 karma

A choice by the family, maybe?

Tejnin3 karma

That is also a possibility ... some families just want to remember their loved one the way they were before.

mister_gone3 karma

My dad wanted a closed casket for my mom's funeral. My sister wanted it open. As she was married to the mortician, she won. Dad has since made me promise to not let her do that to him.

Tejnin2 karma

If you have him pre-arrange, the director well do as he asks

Impius7 karma

Hey, I've got a question for you, and its kind of an odd/personal one but its one I've had for a few years now.

My ex passed away from what we ultimately found out was a morphine overdose (I had no idea she had it or where she got it) anyway I was the one that found her, called 911 and performed chest compressions as instructed by the 911 operator. My question is while doing the compressions there was this orange foam stuff that bubbled up out of her throat/mouth.

What the fuck was that?

Tejnin12 karma

Foam is actually the fluid that comes from the lungs.

There's a few reasons why this could have happened...

While doing compressions, breaking ribs is incredibly common during the process for CPR. A rib could have punctured a lung. Not what anyone wants to hear, but it's a common complication of CPR.

The overdose also could have had a traumatic effect on her lungs which would have had the froth coming back up through her trachea.

Either way, I am so sorry that you had to go through that and I'm here for emotional support if you need me.

Impius5 karma

Thanks for the answers! This was about three years ago and I've dealt with it and moved on and now its just an event that happened in my life, but I've always been curious about the foam. It is one of the things I remembered vividly and didn't have any answers to.

Tejnin8 karma

I hope that information helps. :( Internet hugs

Impius7 karma

It did, it gave me a bit more closure on the subject. One less mystery means that I can wonder about it less. It was difficult, a lot of unanswered questions when it happened. There have been a lot of things come to light over the last few years that have made it a lot easier to let go. But there are days that the image of the foam creeps up on me and I've never knew what it was until now, so thanks.

Tejnin7 karma

You're welcome :) It's the least I can do.

yohanleafheart6 karma

Wait. An Angewomon cosplay????? I'm in love. I think it is the first time I see a good Digimon cosplay. Congratulations. And as soon as I get my payment I will probably by one of your bikinis for my wife. I loved them all

Tejnin3 karma

Aww thank you! It means a lot!

billalphonso6 karma


Tejnin10 karma

Ok here's a misconception.. Blood is what makes a penis grow. Blood, after death, gravitates to the back (if someone died on their back) The tissue gets firm because of rigor so the only "hard on" that can actually happen, would be flaccid penis size.

honkytonks13 karma

In the event of my untimely death, I would like to point out that I was in the pool... And the water was kinda chilly.

mister_gone8 karma

If I die, roll me on my stomach so the blood pools in my penis.

Tejnin2 karma

Eeh... Then it's big, but it's more like a penis-shaped water balloon.

mister_gone1 karma

Wow. You're still replying to this thread? Incredible.

Also, wanna have a water balloon fight? :P

Tejnin1 karma

No... One of those breaking is INCREDIBLY unpleasant... Especially if there's pressure built up.

mister_gone1 karma

I feel like you've witnessed that, and that is terrifying.

Tejnin1 karma

You have no idea...

Tejnin6 karma

Uh huh... Suure ;)

billalphonso0 karma

I have seen pictures of dead guys that appeared to have erections. "Angel Lust".

Tejnin7 karma

I can make a guy have a boner with tissue filler, but I don't ever want to... Those "boners" were just from spongey tissue in rigor. Which would only be flaccid length or less because the blood gravitates to the back, in general.

bella_morte6 karma

I, too, am a female embalmer and I have a question for you.

Have you ever faced misogyny in the workplace? I know that I have. I would like to know about your experience.

Tejnin5 karma

Almost all of the old men thought I should stay in the kitchen... And I've been told that to my face at interviews before. The hardest part about this job is finding a job. What's worse is the fact that, if you do get hired, most male owners won't let a girl in the back to embalm... Only for makeup and hair. They'll stick you up front in accounting and as a phone operator.

Emminora4 karma

Well now I'm sad and unmotivated.

Tejnin10 karma

My graduating class was 70% female... We'll be taking over the industry soon.

Emminora3 karma

I should hope so... I'm doing creative arts in college right now but have seriously considered a trade in machining/welding. It terrifies me to think about the opposition I would face at every angle if I did do it.

Tejnin3 karma

It'll be a challenge but if you can prove yourself, there's nothing that can stop you.

bella_morte2 karma

I was lucky enough to get my foot in the door and prove my skills as an apprentice before being hired, but I've learned that my experience is /not/ the norm. Thank you for sharing.

Tejnin3 karma

Absolutely :) You were on the TIL thread, werent you?

bella_morte2 karma

That's me. :)

Tejnin5 karma

Hey, I'm glad to see that more directors are younger women... And are on Reddit :3

MstrQf6 karma

Your job as has always been a dream of mine. Morticians have the most amazing job. I read above that in most states you only need a high school diploma? I was always under the impression there were years of schooling for this. Do you just shadow someone until they feel you're ready? I would love any information on becoming a Mortician that you might have. Anything. Even advice. I understand the Gore side. Not a weak stomach person. Thank you.

Tejnin6 karma

Colorado is the only state in the US that does not require a college degree. (they require a license to sell pre-need funeral arrangements, but not to embalm someone's grandma ... It's bull)

The rest require college, passing of board exams, and a residency.

Try shadowing someone first to see if you'd like it.

Draws-attention6 karma

Was this something you decided to get into early on, or did you just sort of happen upon this path? Also, are there any noteworthy differences in requirements of preparation for people from different cultures?

Fascinating so far!

Tejnin25 karma

I am a Halloween baby so was in to the morbid stuff all my life. I knew in middle school that this was what I wanted to do.

Orthodox Jewish culture is probably the most interesting.

They are supposed to be buried the same day, they cannot be embalmed, they cannot touch man-made objects (we have to use wooden planks under the deceased at all times), Women around women, men around men only, The casket has to be entirely biodegradable (no metal) and they have a group of religious members come in to bathe them and clothe them. Also, everything they touch after death is supposed to get buried with them.

nothertheothergirl10 karma

You said no man made objects - do you wear gloves? Cause I can't imagine not wearing gloves.

Also, thanks for doing this AMA!

Tejnin15 karma

Yes we wear gloves. I think the only reason why the Jewish culture allows us to, is because, in funeral service, we have to take "Universal precautions" and follow safety regulations, treating everyone as if they have shingles, AIDS, or CJD.

NoNeedForAName9 karma

From what little I know about Jewish culture, they tend to be fairly lenient with the rules when it comes to things that are necessary or semi-necessary.

Tejnin9 karma

Some definitely are, this was geared towards Orthodox Jews. They are much more strict

mjh2155 karma

What is your preferred method, when you pass how would you like your remains handled? Is there anything that is typical that you just find stupid, pointless, commercial, etc?

Tejnin22 karma

I want to be cremated and turned into a diamond... But then I think my family might have to pawn me someday, so I'm still not positive.. Whatever service I have better have jello shots and The Beatles music.

gnualmafuerte12 karma

But then I think my family might have to pawn me someday

coffee all over my keyboard, thank you.

Tejnin11 karma

As long as nothing's broken, you're welcome, if it is, I'm not liable :P

gnualmafuerte13 karma

IBM Model 101 FTW. This keyboard has survived for over a decade, it's immune to liquids, magic, and armor piercing.

Tejnin4 karma

Sounds like a weapon from my D&D group... Yes, I play D&D ... I have an Archer from Eberon with the highest DPS in the group :3 (V.3.5)

gnualmafuerte1 karma

haha! It's actually an old keyb from IBM, It's got a kind of cult status among IT, and with good cause, it's the best thing since sliced bread, they don't do them that way anymore.

Tejnin1 karma

Hm.. I learned something new

meow-bark1 karma

how much does it cost to be turned into a diamond? I've never heard of this option before

Tejnin2 karma

It's about the same as a decent casket, a few grand (single digit K) depending on what you want. Check out LifeGem

inculcation0 karma

can i RSVP to this now or do i have to wait until you die?

Tejnin3 karma

Prearrange your funeral and thy will be done

two_off5 karma

Which job do you have the most fun and laugh the most in?

Tejnin28 karma

Oh definitely cosplay... being around a bunch of fellow nerds at a convention, dressed up as my favorite character, hell yeah!

Though my funeral director since of humor always gets laughs...

If stiffness lasts longer than 4 hours, consult your mortician, they know how to pump the fluids and work a stiff one.

pnuggets5 karma


Tejnin10 karma

Oh yes. Most of the managers/owners in this field truly believe that women should stay in the kitchen. It's incredibly difficult to get a job as a young woman.

mjh2154 karma

Have you seen Six Feet Under, and if so, what did you think of it?

Tejnin9 karma

I have not... My heart is stuck on Game Of Thrones right now. I've heard good things. For some reason, I have an obsession with "potential apocalypse" movies and shows... Walking Dead, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Evolution, The Mummy, Twister, etc.

mjh2152 karma

Well, it is a show about a family running a funeral home, complete with embalming and reconstruction (not in depth), etc.. Would be curious to hear your opinions on it. It is more about the dysfunctional family dynamic than anything...

I watch and read a bit of everything. Just finished the British series Life on Mars and the sequel Ashes to Ashes...

Tejnin7 karma

I've been told to check it out before. My problem is that when I watch stuff like that, I critique on how inaccurate it is and it ruins it for me...

Example, NO ONE dies with both their eyes and mouth open... No one. Most die with a screaming appearance to their mouth and the tired/stoned look, staring off into space.

nothertheothergirl4 karma

Do you smell when you come home from work? I used to work at a restaurant and when I got home my clothes had a distinct smell (not like the food, unfortunately, I wasn't near the kitchen). I imagine working with the chemicals that you do might have a similar effect.

What kind of hours do you work?

Tejnin10 karma

I smell like cavity fluid on occasion but that's because it's so damn potent.

That's the chemical they place in the thoracic/abdominal cavities after we have a hydroaspirator suck out all the organ fluids (urine, bile, froth from the lungs, stomach acid and chime)

Luckily we wear a ton of protection around the decomposition cases so the smell doesn't permeate our clothing.

corkentellis5 karma

I thought you meant fluids from cavities. I'm glad that was not the case here.

Tejnin2 karma

Eewl.... nope.

Tejnin9 karma

Forgot to say my hours, I'm on call 24/7 ... Someone dies at 3am, I go get him/her... And then I'll likely still have to work at 8am the next day

Biomortis2 karma

As a very large man (400lbs), I often wonder about the hassle I'm going to be to someone in your position, hopefully far off in the future. Do you have special teams to assist or equipment to accommodate someone my size? I kind of envision a "Screw this" mentality as the mortician chops me up and dumps me in the coffin piece by piece.

Tejnin10 karma

Oh geez no. Companies make oversized caskets, special weight bearing stretchers, etc. and there are lifts. The only reason you may tick off a funeral director is if you die where there are stairs. I just had a case where there was a 700lb gentleman up 3 flights of stairs. It took 6 trained removal funeral directors to get him down the stairs. .

Other than stairs, it's nothing we haven't dealt with before... And no good funeral director will complain. It's a challenge, but you're special to someone. :)

Biomortis3 karma

That's all good to know since you know, you literally can't care after the fact.

Tejnin1 karma

400 isn't that bad nowadays... It's not healthy, but it's not the worst I see..

SteroidSandwich2 karma

Cosplayer huh... last weekend I went to Anime North and dressed up as Fierce Deity Link from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.

Who is your favourite character to cosplay?

Tejnin3 karma

You did a great job!

These two are my next big competition pieces

Satsuki from Kill la Kill in her Junketsu

And Mirajane in her halphas transformation from Fairy Tail

SteroidSandwich1 karma

Why thank you. I'm glad you like it.

Those look like pretty neat characters. I would love to see pics when they are completed.

What convention are you going to be wearing them to?

Tejnin3 karma

Those two are for Youmacon in Detroit, but I go to conventions constantly... Colossalcon, Steamtopia, Denver Starfest, Reno Wizard World, I'm trying to get to RTX(Rooster Teeth Expo)

Ssilversmith2 karma

Having read through some of your posts so far, and seeing you're a nerd, have you ever read Sandman/Vertigo? Theres a part of the story that focuses on a city (I think it was called Necropolis) where just about every one living there is deddicated in some way to taking care of the dead. I'm curious as to whether you had read it, and what you took from it if any thing at all.

Tejnin1 karma

I have not. My coworker (Who is also a cosplayer and funeral director) has and she loves it.

latticusnon2 karma

Could you find a kid to dress up as Kari to go along with your Angewomon costume? Maybe get TK and a Magnaangemon? That would be my favorite thing.

TrailerRay2 karma

"Fact: very obese people can start grease fires in crematories so most use an absorbent such as Kitty litter. So in obese cases, not all of the "Ashes"are necessarily cremated remains."

Do you run the retorts yourself? I am a certified and experienced cremation operator. I run 4 machines daily with obese cases and unless the operators don't know what they are doing this is untrue, or at the very least has only happened under extremely rare and unlikely circumstances.

Tejnin1 karma

We have a retort in building and everyone who operates it is CANA certified. They try and do large bodies in the morning while the retort is cool, but in cases where they have to do multiple large bodies in a day and the crematory stays warm, they add in an absorbent to avoid the risk.

gradadv2 karma

No question. Just chimed in to say this is a fascinating AMA.

Tejnin3 karma

Thanks! If you ever think of anything, pm me

PoopyMcpants2 karma

Somebody likes herself

Tejnin1 karma

I'm happy with myself? Not narcissistic.

sumatnaja1 karma

Hello. I think you're just awesome! Too cool for school, for sure. Speaking of school, did you ever think about upgrading your education, perhaps going to medical school? I only ask because I imagine your knowledge of anatomy would give a leg up.

Tejnin1 karma

I could never do that... Besides the continuing education and competitiveness, I just couldn't get to know someone before they died... That hurts. I don't know the deceased, in most cases, so I can focus on caring for the family. Nurses are the strongest people...

Arcterion1 karma

Kinda late, but oh shi- Awesome Angewomon cosplay. :D

Tejnin1 karma

Haha thanks!

Ebenezer_Splewge1 karma

well... where to start!!!

Tejnin3 karma

I'm happy to answer anything that doesn't break HIPAA Laws.

Ebenezer_Splewge1 karma

Given the wide variety of unnatural "ways to go", what would you choose and why? (hard to come up with an original question)

Tejnin7 karma

I want to go in some unique way ... out with a bang ... having fun!

One of the things I joke about with my other cosplay friends is that I'll be an old lady dressed up as Yzma from The Emperors New Groove and just die in costume

PoopyMcpants1 karma

That second pic, who is it/what is it from?

Tejnin1 karma

The two cosplays are Angewomon from Digimon and the sorceress from Diablo II

ryallen231 karma

Just wanted to say that your AMA description is probably the most interesting one I've ever seen.

Tejnin1 karma

Haha thanks! No questions?

IntenseCanni1 karma

I hope you're still here... There was a story floating around a while ago, like a few years, where a female who was working with a body decided to have sex with it and ended up making the body "let go" to put it nicely. That isn't true is it?

Tejnin2 karma

I'm sure there's some idiot out there somewhere who has tried, but it won't ejaculate. There are too many body processes involved in that...

notsoregularjoe1 karma

Can I borrow $20?

Tejnin5 karma

Funeral directors whose names aren't on the side of the building are NOT rich at all... In Colorado, the highest you make is around $15/hr ... In Michigan, it's about $25. And we work with very deadly diseases..

If you aren't in it to help people, You better own the business or it isn't worth it.

notsoregularjoe1 karma

So no then?

Tejnin3 karma

I'm in Colorado.. So no...

I can do free shipping on a bikini! Haha

notsoregularjoe1 karma

You had my curiosity. But now you have my attention!

Tejnin2 karma

Totally not kidding.. I could do a Reddit coupon code

Setiri1 karma

I... wow, $15/hr? I feel a bit guilty about what I make now. I do hope you'll get your name on the side of a building sooner rather than later. Also, you seem very empathetic and fun. Great qualities and I wish you the best.

Tejnin5 karma

Aww thanks, but there's no way I'd own one. The owners are there basically 24/7... I've even come in at 2am for a pickup call and seen them in the office. I like to be able to take time off and enjoy my life.

[deleted]1 karma


Tejnin12 karma

Thank you! If you think of anything, let me know :)

First, I wanted to be a vet... I was able to junior shadow a family friend once. (I lived in Detroit almost all of my life) Well, this young couple brought in this adorable blue pitbull puppy with bright pale blue eyes... I'll never forget this pup... he'd swallowed a bouncy ball.

My mentor quoted around $400 for the operation. The young couple was quite ghetto and said "Fuck it, it's cheaper to buy a new puppy", signed the form to have him put down, and left.

I cried for weeks.

Then I decided to deal with the people who've already passed. There was nothing I could do to save them but I could at least give their families peace. It's worth it... The appreciation from happy families makes the work and sadness worth it .

gnualmafuerte4 karma

Holy shit, I have so much hate for people that treat animals like disposable toys. I only once had to euthanize a dog, and he was 16 years old, half blind, half deaf, couldn't walk, and was just diagnosed with cancer, considering he didn't really have more than a few months to live, I didn't want him to suffer.

Your job is really puzzling to me, not because of any morbid reasons ( I don't have a problem with dead people, it's just a natural thing ) but because we don't do any of that in Argentina! That is, we don't embalm the dead, except for very rare occasions. The corpse is just washed, clothed, and put on the casket. They do obvious things like string the jaw so it doesn't open, the eyelids, etc., but no embalming fluids or anything else. Usually the funeral is held the very same day or the day after the person died.

Also, your cosplay pics are awesome, you are particularly beautiful in pic #3, but #1 takes the cake. Yeah, it's a cliche, but I really love those eyes.

Tejnin6 karma

Aww thank you! See I appreciate the embalming process because I see what a difference it makes on the person. Not only does it make the deceased safe, but it gives them their color back and hydrates them. Old people look 10 years younger and sickly/emaciated people look so much healthier. I think it's a peace and ease tool.

The other reason why I like embalming; in a south American country a few years ago, a dead child "sat up and asked for water"

Bull... It's called a Cadaveric spasm and it pushed the air out of his lungs, vibrating the voice box to sounds like words. Agua isn't hard to mumble.

But the parents freaked out. I'd freak out too!

gnualmafuerte0 karma

Absolutely! but people will continue to be superstitious, specially in a time of grief, those stories keep growing out of proportion, so the kid moved slightly turns into the kid sit up right and looked me in the eye, which turns into the kid was a zombie. But I agree, embalming solves that. Maybe if 2000 years ago embalming had been a common practice in Rome, now women could get abortions without idiots panhandling at the clinic ;)

Now changing the subject a bit.

What's your favorite cosplay costume ever?

Tejnin1 karma

I can't tell if it's the grammar our what, but I'm quite confused.. My favorite costume so far is Angewomon because she was my first big award winner and got me recognition. I'm loving Satsuki from kill la kill and I can't wait to compete with her.

Colopty1 karma

You're the chewbacca in the third picture, right?

Tejnin2 karma

Nope, I'm the short one... The thing is, I'm 5'10" ... That was an enormous Chewbacca

Kanthes1 karma

How do you possibly get into a job like embalming? For the lack of a better word, is it a 'fun' job? As in, do you like doing what you do?

Oh, and how do your skills hold up versus the ancient Egyptians?

Tejnin9 karma

I got my degree. In school we had labs... And let me say right now, Wayne State University in Detroit would often get cases that were unclaimed and we'd have to wait for government approval before embalming... I had to work on a guy who was sitting in out cooler for a YEAR! Slow Detroit... Ugh.. So many blood clots...

As for the Egyptians, I have Anubis tattooed on me, the God of Embalming. Techniques and chemicals have changed, but the concept is the same.

Liv-Julia2 karma

I routinely had to call the Wayne Co. Medical Examiner for release/case numbers. Almost always I'd get the dieners, but everyone once in while I'd get the Big Guy himself.

Tejnin2 karma

Yeah, unclaimed cases require a PA or an appointed next of kin.. Then they get records straight and release them... Takes forever!

Dualdottv1 karma

What is picture 2 from? I recognise the characters but my mind is blank.

Tejnin5 karma

Angewomon from Digimon and the sorceress from Diablo 2

Dualdottv1 karma

Ahhhhhh of course it is. Looks really good! Nice one!.

Tejnin1 karma

Thank you! I've submitted a ton of works here and on my Fb

xubax1 karma

How long does it generally take for you to complete a body?

Tejnin1 karma

Depends in the case, fresh bodies take fluid easier so it's only about an hour. If it's a cooler case, obese, and autopsy, it'll take a lot longer.

PedroCV1 karma

Hi. First of all, I gotta say you are a very interesting person, I never imagined I'll find on earth a person with all your skills and the jobs you do. Now that I see that you are work with facial restoration and also as a cosplayer (yay! I checked your images! your "Angewomon" took me back to my childhood)...have you ever done any those latex-like masks that people seem to use in movies? or have you used something similar for your work as embalmer or cosplayer?

Tejnin1 karma

We use prosthetics on difficult cases to substitute for missing noses, ears, skulls, etc. I use liquid latex in my cosplay work because it makes great wounds.

discontinuuity1 karma

What do you think of the increasing corporatization of funeral home businesses? If I remember correctly, a majority of funeral homes in the US are owned by one of two companies.

Also, I live/work next to two large graveyards in Wheatridge/Golden, so I've probably passed by some of your work without knowing it.

Tejnin7 karma

I, personally, don't like corporate funeral homes... I shadowed in one and my coworkers have all worked for them... It seemed like all they cared about was money. They treated me like dirt and have all these crazy rules. The owner of my current establishment worked for SCI for 20 years and fondly calls them "the enemy" now, after how she saw families were treated.

caffpanda1 karma

Have you ever seen the film Departures?

Tejnin2 karma

I have not.

caffpanda3 karma

I think you would really enjoy it, considering your line of work. It's about a Japanese man who ends up with a job doing the ceremony to put people in coffins. It's a very thoughtful film about death and our connections to those we let go. It's available on Netflix instawatch!

Tejnin2 karma


Owtlaw11 karma

Who's your favorite Digimon?

Follow-up question, why is it Beelzemon Blast Mode?

Tejnin2 karma

I'm actually making Beelzemon for my husband for Youmacon. I love wings and his will be articulating.

MascaraStab1 karma

Are you concerned at all about dangers of working with formaldehyde? Maybe inhalation? Also, do you plan on doing this long-term? Very interesting AMA, thanks for doing it! :)

Tejnin2 karma

We use protective gear and the room the embalming takes place in is regulated on the ventilation, so I'm not too worried. I plan on doing this as at least a part time job for as long as I can

mermaid0001 karma

First of all, great job on this AMA! Incredibly interesting read. Not anywhere near your field, but we have a common ground on dead bodies. Im a pre-med student, and 3 hours every Wednesday we dissect cadavers for AnaLab class.

  1. Where do you think does Universities get cadavers? Do they buy unclaimed bodies from morticians (company, firm), do they actually buy them from families that do not have enough money or monetary assistance to bury their loved ones? How much do they cost? These has been a constant question for me and my classmates.

  2. Our cadavers (we are assigned the same one, by group, for the whole year) stay pretty much intact for the whole year. Soft and bendable, just a little dry. How is that possible? I saw one of our labtechs wiping one of the cadavers with this minty smelling clear liquid, the same way youd apply floorwax to a floor. I meant, with all the muscles and organs dried and sticking out, hed just wipe em on flat out.

PS. Apologies, English isnt my first language.

Tejnin2 karma

Families who can't afford funerals can donate their dead to science. Bodies who are unclaimed (they don't have family) can get released to science via the government.

They are pumped with 6-10 gallons of a highly concentrated embalming fluid and that's what keeps them safe and preserved.

ThatGirlYouMarried1 karma

What do you do to not take that home with you? My best friend thought about doing it for a long time, but decided against it because she has a weak heart. She'd cry every day and let it bother her. She could handle the "gross" stuff, but not the emotion. Have you ever had a person that was impossible to ...fix? Also, my friends grandfather died last year and he was a bigger guy. They buried him in his Marine uniform from when he was a young thing. Was he made smaller by request, or does that happen in the embalming process?

Tejnin1 karma

There are things I take home with me. I have a great support system at home and a puppy who makes everything better.

The only cases that can't be fixed are extreme decomposition ones. The smell is unbearable... Like taco bell diarrhea, raw sewage, ... They've got nothing on dead body. It's unimaginable. And most of the time, in decomp cases, the skin has sloughed off and the body looks completely unnatural.

Families bring in clothing that is WAY too small on a daily basis... We either tell the family to get larger clothes or we cut the back.

I hate cutting clothes, but sometimes it's necessary

tonyblaze1 karma

Did that headstone ever get restored?

Tejnin1 karma

I've had so many problems with this that it isn't even funny...

OP gave me a location to where her boyfriend found the stone. I did some research and discovered that the only cemetery in that area was a family plot, private, with shotty records (in the United States, a property owner can set aside an acre of their land to dedicate as a family cemetery.) So, then I messaged a few people in my line of work that I knew could help...

As all this was happening, (because this post was so popular) a bunch of people used their "internet skills" and determined (and I cannot verify whether or not they were right) that the headstone was photoshopped. Many of whom started calling me a phony for trying to help .. Yes, I'm the phony because OP may have lied.. Oy internet trolls...they thought those insults through...

So, I did alert people who cared, and also lived in the area, that there was an old unkempt cemetery that needed some tlc... Even if OP lied, it made a difference to one little neglected area.

GOODahl1 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA. My best friend is getting into the mortuary services business and I'm really happy for her. Her brother already works in the business so I've heard plenty of interesting things already.

Best wishes

Tejnin2 karma

Thank you! It means a lot and I wish her the best of luck .. It's tough being a woman in this industry.

GOODahl1 karma

Thank you for the reply, after I read the ama I saw it was done a year back. My friend has the right attitude for the business, she just needs to find a way to pay for school. Hopefully an employer will help out. BTW I really hope you get to watch "Six Feet Under"..the series has haunted me in a good way in life. The first season is a bit weird but the ones afterward are very fine.

Tejnin2 karma

Aww I wish her luck. Tell her to look online for scholarships. I'll definitely check out the show.

Ashwasinacoma1 karma

Soooooo are you scared of dying or inevitable death?

Tejnin2 karma

Nope, I appreciate the life I have and live with no regrets!

random32320 karma


corkentellis2 karma

I think that may be correct, but at least 50% of those 90% then realize what an interesting AMA this actually is and start reading it with great pleasure.

Tejnin3 karma

Thank you! I try and be myself, morbid, spunky, and open.

Tejnin1 karma

Weird, though... Almost all of the questions revolve around the death profession :)

Hypergnostic-1 karma

Obviously appearances matter, and your multiple interests revolve around that, but I am always fascinated by nature's tendency to deception and display. Do appearances really matter? Are appearances primarily a communication (true or false) or do you feel they truly indicate things about a creature?

Tejnin3 karma

In what sense? I believe familiarity with a certain appearance brings peace and relieves anxiety. I also know that flashy things do get more attention. (I've never done a simple cosplay) But I'm confused as to what you're exactly referring to.

Hypergnostic-3 karma

Animals use display to attract mates/assert their worthiness. Do you think that display truly betokens worthiness or is it a way of tricking creatures whose neurons are set to respond in a certain way? Are girls with "hot bodies" in bikinis supposed to be regarded as beautiful? Are male peacocks with great plumage the best mates? Is the beauty system in nature an indication of real value or a false front, or is there no difference and it does not matter?

Tejnin4 karma

I really think true beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but first impressions tend to be toward what is socially considered beautiful...

I just like to dress up. I don't care if people don't find me attractive... I have a large butt and thighs... Some guys think it's fat, some think it's curvy. I couldn't care less because I'm cosplaying something I love.

thegreatgazoo-2 karma

What is there to bikini design? 4 triangles and some string and it seems like you are done.

Tejnin5 karma

I do all of the computer graphic designs, have them custom printed, and make them. The design work is the hardest.

simonbake-er-5 karma

As a female, what are your thoughts on gonewild?

Tejnin-1 karma

I'm not one of those feminist jerks... Equal rights, equal fights.

randumnumber-6 karma

Id like to put a ring on it.

Tejnin8 karma

I appreciate the compliment but my heart is sworn to a redditor already.

He's a cosplayer too.

NoNeedForAName1 karma

He's ugly. You could do so much better.

Tejnin6 karma

No he's not? You can't even see his face... Even if he was, he respects me, he cosplays, we compete in video games together and he is great in bed... I'm happy!

NoNeedForAName10 karma

I was actually joking because you can't see his face.

Tejnin1 karma

Oh okay :3 I'm just defensive. Hard to read sarcasm over the internet...