I run a chain of funeral homes: what happens to your body after you die and why it doesn’t need to be embalmed

I run a chain of funeral homes: what happens to your body after you die and why it doesn’t need to be embalmed

Have you ever heard of a green funeral home?

The answer to that is probably no, but luckily we have details on what goes on at a green funeral home and how they handle the bodies of the deceased.

Truman started the company because he wanted to do something that would make a difference.


Micah Truman, CEO of Return Home, a Seattle-based eco-friendly funeral home, gave us an inside look at his process and why embalming isn’t necessary when you die.

Truman started the company because, in his words, he said, “I needed to do a job that, hopefully, when I was done, would leave the earth in a better place.”

“I wanted to do something that makes a difference.”


The homecoming burial differs from a traditional burial or cremation.

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Return home uses an eco-friendly burial method, which means that unlike a traditional burial, no coffins or embalming are used and the body is allowed to naturally decompose and turn into earth.

According to Truman: “Returning home gently turns human remains into dirt. That’s the way nature has always done it.”

“We just make it faster. Essentially, we’re making sure the last thing we do on the planet is reset it because currently, if we leave it, we’re polluting it.”

He continued, “And what makes us so great is that we’re incredibly kind. And people can bring their loved ones to us. You can be here. There is nothing that could be a problem or scary.”

“You can come back and visit us. And I think that’s the most important thing.”

“We allow our people to take their loved ones and gently bring them back to Earth. And we haven’t had that opportunity before.”


After death, the body begins to recover within 24 to 72 hours.

Caskets don’t really change this process, but they are a traditional tool used to make people feel like they’ve taken care of their loved ones after death.

Micah’s team decides not to use them. Embalming, on the other hand, is a process that preserves the body and delays that process, usually until after the burial.

Most bodies are embalmed before family sees them, but it is a cosmetic procedure and not necessary.

And in Homecoming, they showed that the body doesn’t need to be embalmed to be presentable.

Truman said of the process, “We often feel that we need to embalm the bodies to make them visible to the family.

“And I think one of the things that we’ve really learned is that we can’t use it [embalming chemicals like formaldehyde] that we can enable the family to visit their loved one without embalming and we can make it really beautiful.

“And a lot of people say it’s not possible, it’s impossible. And our answer is no, it’s not.”

Truman explained that since the main ingredient in embalming fluid is formaldehyde, Return Home could not embalm because formaldehyde literally renders the body inactive.

Anything that lives in the body stops living once the formaldehyde has done its job. And so at Regreso a Casa there is no embalming as their process is microbial.


According to Truman, they have had many memorable experiences.

Truman recalled, “The most memorable thing we find is when our families come into a bin here at our facility with their loved one and have a service, and we can put whatever we want in the bin.

“And so our families have done the most amazing things. They fill the containers with flowers and letters. A woman brought a layer of her wedding cake.

“You know how to freeze your wedding cake and eat it later. She was newly married. It was sad, but he brought his wedding cake.”

“So it’s really amazing to see what people are putting in the containers. The other thing that’s really amazing is that people come back and visit the container and cover it with decoration.

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“I had no idea this was going to happen. So you come in and cover it with pictures and LED lights.

“We had a family that would come for a while and have lunch and leave some on top as an offering.”

A woman brought a layer of her wedding cake to place in the container with her loved one


Families fill the pots with flowers and letters


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