S3E2: The Vital Secrets of Desairology

This week has a special lineup! Learn about the art of desairology, the unknown history of Chop Suey, and we have a special guest: Claire Luckey, the “Grieving Bitch” on Instagram. Claire is sharing her grief journey and life challenges as a 34-year-old widow living in New York City.

So What is Desairology?

This week has a special lineup! Learn about the art of desairology, the unknown history of Chop Suey, and we have a special guest: Claire Luckey, the “Grieving Bitch” on Instagram. Claire is sharing her grief journey and life challenges as a 34-year-old widow living in New York City.

So What is Desairology?

Desairology is an all-encompassing term for the practices of funeral cosmetology, mortuary makeup, and restorative arts, which are a product of the practice of viewing a deceased person in their open casket prior to burial.

If a traditional funeral is planned, specifically, with the body present and laid out in a coffin, the first step is embalming (S2E45: What You Need to Know About Embalming).  In this process they get as much blood out of the body and as much embalming fluid into the skin. Embalming firms the skin and prepares the “canvas” on which the desairologist will do their work.

Before the viewing at the funeral home the body is prepared with the use of cosmetics. The hair is styled, and the deceased is dressed. The body is then “casketed” in the coffin; typically, the right shoulder is lower than the left, so the body does not look like it is flat on its back.

We talked about the purpose of the funeral in our episode on funerals (S2E49: Should I Have a Funeral?); this ritual is for the living to prepare themselves for the grieving process to come. Some people will say they do not want to go to the funeral because they want to “remember them as they were when they were alive”.  That may be useful if it were a sudden death, and their appearance did not have the effects of disease and weight loss.  In these cases, the body is going to look better in death than they did in life once the desairologist has completed their work.

Listen to learn more about the importance of a “memory picture” and how these craftsman help create a peaceful image.

Resources & References:

Grief as a Millennial

Claire Luckey, who goes under the name “Grieving Bitch” on Instagram has joined the Everyone Dies correspondent team.  At age 32 and only 5 months into her marriage, her husband did not recognize her when she arrived home from work one day. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 glioblastoma (brain cancer) in February 2020, and Claire was his caregiver until his death in June of 2021.

Claire struggled to find any resources for dealing with loss of a spouse at such a young age. She channeled her sense of humor (and inner bitch) by creating the “Grieving Bitch” account on Instagram.  Claire is sharing her grief journey and life challenges as a 34-year-old widow living in New York City with Everyone Dies in a regular ‘Third Half’ segment.  Please join us in welcoming Claire and her first third half segment with Marianne.

Related Podcasts for this episode:

Recipe of the Week

This week Charlie tells us the surprising history of Chop Suey. Will the true recipe make a comeback? You be the judge!

Chop Suey originally had organ meat. Lamb with a shocked look on its face. Every1dies.org
Is sheep organ meat going to make a comeback?

This recipe is more like we remembered! Enjoy this Chinese-American version from All Our Way.


From Everyone Dies

Everyone Dies: and yes, it is normal!

Everyone Dies (and yes, it is normal) is a story about a young boy named Jax who finds something special on the beach where he and his grandpa Pops are enjoying a wonderful day. Pops helps Jax understand that death is a normal part of life. This book provides an age appropriate, non-scary, comfortable way to introduce the important topic of mortality to a preschool child. Its simple explanation will last a lifetime.

Mourning Jewelry

We offer a way to memorialize your loved one or treasured pet with a piece of handmade jewelry.  When people comment on it and the wearer can say for example “I received this when my mother died” which opens the conversation about this loss.

All our jewelry is made with semi-precious stones and beads, vintage beads, and pearls. You can choose between earrings or bracelets and the color family.

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