NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - It might seem gory and sometimes grotesque, but two local women are doing what they can to make sure our loved ones look beautiful even after death.
Constance Engelking, the funeral director for the Cason Monk-Metcalf funeral home in Nacogdoches, and Ann Erdman, the funeral director for the Gipson Funeral Home in Lufkin, attended the Fountain National Academy Training Facility in Springfield, Mo. last week.
Engelking says the seminar focused on specialized techniques including Soft Tissue Injuries, Waxing and Airbrush Cosmetics.
"Death does not look pretty. People don't often pass away in a beautiful pose and everything just looks beautiful. There's usually been a struggle or there's some heartaches," Engelking said.
The ladies aren't the only funeral directors who are dual licensed in embalming, but they are the most advanced in the area.
"I think what sets us in a different place is that we have been attending specialized classes to help fine tune the skills that we have. In this industry, there's not so many places you can go to learn more things so it's real specialized training so you have to look and learn. I think having the other training and skills really improves what you can present to your family as far as the options that are open to them with those techniques," Engelking said.
Some of the skills the women learned at the seminar is removing scars, and wrinkles people might sustain from traumatic injuries. They also learned reconstructive techniques in regards to broken bones and swelling.
"Since my return from this class, I'm more energized. I'm more excited to learn more. It just sparked something inside of me," Engelking said.
Engelking has been in the business for six years, but has only been dual licensed since May 2012. She says her interest in the funeral business peeked after her father died traumatically.
Engelking said embalming isn't required in the State of Texas and doesn't recommend it to everyone. But she says she is happy to offer her skills to anyone who asks for them, especially those who want a public viewing of their loved one.
"A fog comes over you when a loss occurs. I don't know how to explain it if you've ever been there you know what it feels like. So having someone you can trust to lead you through those first kinds of days until you can take care of things it's; I wanted to be that person," Engelking said.