We educate and support families so that they know how to responsibly care for the body of their loved ones. Cooling the room, washing and dressing the body and placing frozen gel packs under the body all serve to significantly slow down the process of decomposition.
Initially rigor mortis or stiffening of the joints sets in from two to four hours after death. There is no exact science in this regard and often rigor mortis comes and goes over the course of the vigil. As a home wake progresses the muscles of the body begin to relax more and more. The jaw may slacken and open slightly. The same with the eyes. The skin turns whiter. All these changes happen over a period of days and are almost imperceptible. Families report that they are grateful that their loved one remains in their natural state, looking like themselves versus the process of embalming which often leaves a body looking artificial and unfamiliar.