Mum dropped out of university to follow a dream of becoming an embalmer and even worked on Grandpa’s body

A mother who gave up her fashion degree to work on her grandfather’s body after her grandfather’s death and even to see the deceased as a “respect” for her loved ones after her death prepared. Drawn to her profession since childhood, when, at the age of seven, she saw her nanny’s body and worried she “doesn’t look good,” 32-year-old Rachel Carline worked by sending speculative letters to funeral homes. asked for when she was studying.

While taking an administrative role at a co-op funeral home in Rochdale, Lancashire, where she still lives with her web designer husband Simon, 35, and their daughter, Iris, three, when she turns 20, Even so, he arrives early to see the Emblemers at work. Now an expert in her field, she feels it is a privilege to be able to prepare a body to be viewed by loved ones after death, adding: “Although it is difficult and emotional, I am also in this situation. I feel honored.”

She continued: “Feeling this way really motivates me to make sure I do everything within my power to support families during this very difficult time.” While Rachel knows that many people find her overwhelming desire to work in the funeral industry from such a young age somehow strange, she is extremely proud of her work and the service she provides to the public.

She said: “Even as a child I was fascinated with things that other people would consider morbid. In elementary school, I was obsessed with ancient Egypt and mummification.”

She said: “Ironically, at the time I wanted to be a vet, but couldn’t face the idea of ​​putting animals down. When I told my mother I thought working in the funeral industry was a great job.” Will, he called it ‘disgusting’.

“My dad was just worried about what kind of things I’d see. But I think it’s a real privilege.”

Rachel and her grandfather Dave on their wedding day

A profound early inspiration for his career in embalming – where a body is preserved to slow natural degradation and to rest the deceased in an open coffin or chapel of comfort in preparation for viewing by loved ones – Then came when he saw his grandmother’s body as a little girl. She said: “We were really close. My grandmother Edna had a great influence on me. I think she’s where I get my artistic streak from, because she spent a lot of time watching me draw and paint.”

“But when I saw her when she was dead, her complexion was really, really, really unnatural and there was a smell. The smell really stuck with me. It wasn’t a good experience. But, now that I look back I see, I understand why she looked the way she used to.”

While Rachel was “happy”, her parents took her to see her, which helped her understand death – something she also did to Iris, who recently saw her ‘great maternal grandfather’ – her great-grandmother – After his death, the experience had a profound effect. And, although Rachel initially went to university to study fashion, fell ill before her final year, she postponed her position and, over time, began going to funeral homes for work.

She said: “I was on a loose end for a few months, so I pursued getting a job at a funeral home. It’s hard to explain why. I just felt the vibe. I sent letters, CVs, called Then I just started turning.

She continued: “There was a cooperative funeral home in Rochdale and I wouldn’t leave them alone.” Eventually, a position opened up in the admin. I really didn’t care what it was for so long it was a foot in the door. ,

Leaving her degree, Rachel began her role at the age of 20. She said: “I loved going early and watching them embalming. They would let me help me with even the smallest of things, things that were within my range.”

After studying for a vocational qualification, Rachel became a funeral arranger at the remarkable age of 21, but she soon realized this was what really fascinated her. She said: “I was visiting families then but still coming early to take care of the deceased. I felt more attracted to it.”

Rachel At Her Funeral Home
Rachel at her funeral home

So, in December 2012, Rachel began studying to become an Ilmmer. After qualifying in 2015, he landed a role with Co-op Funeralkare Lancashire. As of 2018, she was chairperson of the North-West Division at the British Institute of Emblemers.

She has now mutilated thousands of people, including her grandfather – whose wife’s body she had seen as a child – and many friends. Excreting three or four bodies a day, taking an average of two hours to ensure that the deceased looks their best, she also restores and reconstructs the faces of those who have been in an accident or have been dead for some time can.

To do this, Rachel asks the family of the deceased for photographs showing her loved one from different angles, so that she can recreate the way she likes to see life. She said: “Sometimes I’ll get a picture of a 30 year old. I’m a good embalmer but I can’t take a 30 year old vacation!”

I’m a good embalmer but I can’t take 30 years off! She continued: “Many people think embalming is just doing hair and makeup, or preserving the body, but it’s so much more. It’s anatomy, maths, and chemistry.

“To find out the amount of fluids you need, such as formaldehyde, water, and dyes, you need to know how much the body weighs, how long it has been since the person died, how long until the funeral, Plus many other factors. But we always look at them as a whole person, not as an equation.”


Rachel cared for her grandfather, Dave Phillips, 76, when he was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in March 2015, before his death in September, and his body is considered one of his most poignant works. She recalled: “When Grandpa was ill, he got sick, lost a lot of weight and was very weak. I looked after him and spent a lot of time with him in his final weeks.

“No matter who it is, I treat everyone like a close friend or relative, so the technical aspect of the excretion process didn’t feel so different. When he was sick at home, I was much more involved in his care.” So why wouldn’t I do it when he passed away?

“It was the most natural thing for me to continue to care for her after I died.” Rachel continued: “I was devastated when he died. But I also felt like I had extra time with him that nobody else was going to get. It was such an honor to know that I was going to do the last thing anyone was going to do for him.

“Once I had all the paperwork and was in a position to legally embalm, I came to work on a weekend when it was quiet. I was fine while I was doing the process. The technicalities of embalming, The procedural part, which is visceral in nature, is what I do day in and day out.

“I was just taking care of someone who has passed away and it was my job to give him a peaceful and alive look that would benefit my family. Once their body was taken and they were again Looks like my grandfather, then I found it quite sentimental.

“While I was washing his hair, I put some shampoo in his eye and apologized to him. I shaved his face, cut his nails. Those last elements of care, however difficult, I feel benefited me in my misery. ,

Mental health support, provided by both Co-op FuneralCare and the British Institute of Emblemours, gives Rachel the strength to function in difficult and emotionally demanding situations when needed, such as with Manchester Arena terrorist victims, Some of which he had attenuated. And she also feels a deep emotional reaction when she is emitting people of the same age group.

She said: “As well as people I know who are emotional, I really used to impress people who were the same age as me. It really made me face my mortality. Now I debate the conversation. But don’t quit. The job has changed me like this.

“Since being my little girl, I now find babies and toddlers even more difficult, but it inspires me to do what’s best for that family.” While she rarely talks about her job with her husband at home, Rachel is aware that people can be very curious about what she does.

She said: “My husband is afraid to go out with people we don’t know because there’s always a lot of interest in my job, but I don’t mind answering his questions. People can’t really go anywhere else.” and ask them!”

Rachel shares information, educates and informs people by hosting the podcast, The Eternal Debate, with fellow embamer Andrew Floyd. She said: “Some people in the profession still have the attitude that emotions keep you from doing your job properly. It’s the opposite for me. The day it doesn’t have any effect on me, or I don’t care what I’m emitting, that’s the day I stop.”



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