From her party shop to working in the funeral industry: embalming the deceased Amalia

Amalia Angel Rodriguez from Rotterdam is a secondary practice. With her company “With Funeral Love and Care” in Kapelle aan den Igsel, she lightly embalms the deceased. A remedy still unknown to many people since the time of the Egyptians used to slow the decomposition of the body. She talks about her own profession: “My son always says: Mama makes the dead prettier.”

Interest in her profession arose only at a later age. “Of course I wasn’t 16 when I thought: This is who I want to be. But I really see that as my calling now,” Amalia says firmly. RTV Rijnmond. Her nephew’s funeral prompted her thinking. He died ten years ago at an early age. Things go wrong during his funeral. I thought: “I could have provided for this family much better.”

That moment was decisive for Amalia’s career turnaround. “In the beginning, strange as it may sound, I had my own party shop. In addition, I organized and decorated parties and parties. With this job, I would have done exactly the opposite.

Strange as it may sound, I had my own party shop in the beginning.
Amalia Angel Rodriguez

First transaction with your grandfather
Amalia made her first transaction with her grandfather. “This has set a very high bar for me in this business. I treat everyone the way I would like my loved ones to be treated.”

Sometimes therapies still involve tension, for example when someone dies due to an accident already reported in the news, a murder, drowning, or a car accident.
Amalia Angel Rodriguez

The treatments afterwards were also exciting. “At first, of course, you are a little afraid of horror stories and sometimes you think: ‘If someone hadn’t suddenly started breathing or moving all of a sudden!

Although she no longer fears it, the treatments can still cause stress at times. “Especially if you already know a thing or two about your destination. For example, when someone dies because of an accident that’s already been on the news or a murder or drowning or a car accident. But once the deceased arrives, the switch turns. You judge the body and think, “Well, how am I going to make this person as beautiful as possible?”

Passion in the profession: “Tears fall sometimes”
Do you need to be able to let go of your feelings when you deal with death every day? Not according to Amalia. Of course, I do not cry with every deceased person. But I have a certain feeling every time. You look at a person, you touch a person. He becomes nothing to me, he always remains someone’s lover, someone’s father or someone’s brother. There is a certain emotion involved, but it is not always sadness.”

There are situations when we definitely feel very sad. For example, when we treated a child and returned her to her parents.
Amalia Angel Rodriguez

But sometimes tears still ran down her cheeks. “There are situations where we are certainly very sad. For example, when we have treated a child and returned her to her parents. When they see how much better their child is and when they can hold her again, put her to her breast and even take a bath… Then you really have to swallow your tears, but sometimes falling off. “

“It’s a little nicer to say goodbye”
After death, it is often decided to put the body of the deceased in the refrigerator. But according to Amalia, not many people know that there is another option. “The funeral director always asks if someone wants a funeral or cremation. He also has to ask if people want refrigerated embalming or light embalming. That’s something that didn’t happen very often.”

This is not always forgotten, but sometimes it is not done intentionally. “Some funeral directors are also against it, for example because they think it will be more difficult for the family to say goodbye when they see the deceased recovering.”

But Amalia sees the therapy as having enormous added value for a dying person. “The body no longer needs to be cooled after treatment and the person is back to normal again. The body remains flexible. And that’s actually what I do. Instead of someone lying ice cold and freezing on a cooling pad, the person is concrete. It’s better to say goodbye.”

Amalia is also a mother of young children. While death can be a scary topic for children to talk about, she has always been open about her work. “With my five-year-old son, naturally I explain it in jip and janneke language. Last year he asked me what kind of work I did. I said: Mama works with the dead. Mama will take care of them, wash and dress them.”

Some information has been omitted. “Of course, I’m not saying that I do a treatment in which fluid is injected into the body. My grown-up children know that. My son always says to others: ‘Mom makes dead people beautiful.'”

process by writing
At home, don’t often discuss what you experience at work. “I once told my husband about a hard day at work and he had to deal with it for three months. He really doesn’t like it. Sometimes I let things go, but I can always discuss it with my colleagues.”

She also has her own way of processing what she experiences in her profession. “I write off a lot. I also post a few stories on Facebook. That’s one way to wrap it up. You have to be able to release those feelings in some way, so I write about it.”

I often ask the funeral director when the funeral is, so I know when I can give the deceased away.
Amalia Angel Rodriguez

“People also often ask me: ‘Can you sleep well? But I actually wake up quite a bit. Sometimes I find it hard to let go of an intense event, for example if it keeps coming back to the news. I often ask the funeral director when the funeral is, so I know when I can let go of the deceased.”

humble towards life
The work did not change Amalia’s view or her fear of death, but it did create a different awareness. I have never feared death. But this work made me realize that you should be grateful every day that you are there. It makes you more humble about life, about what you have and what you have to be content with.”

She cares more about the things she has. “Of course I see a lot. From a deceased mother who has just given birth to a child who dies after a few days. Then I realize that we live in a hurry and always fit in with society.” When a violent event passes at work, I often think: “Oh my God, what are we doing?” We need to be proud of what we have so much more.”

This is a story from our media partner, RTV Rijnmond

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