little miss funeral

an average girl working at your not so average job

Public Speaking + Advice

One thing that you tend to do a lot of in funeral service is talk. You talk to small groups during arrangements. You talk in front of larger groups on days of services. You talk one on one with a grieving widow. Mortuary school did not prepare me properly for all of the public speaking that comes along with this job.

In this video, I talk about my own tips and tricks that have been passed down to me by others and ones that I’ve picked up myself throughout my eight years of burying people.

Frozen feet.

I buy UGG boots because they’re supposed to be warm. But not those fuzzy slipper-looking ones. The boots that I buy have to be somewhat stylish, since I’ll be wearing them on services. I work outside for half of my job; the days of the funerals. These days we park cars, say prayers, and wait at the gravesite once the family has said their final goodbyes. We wait until it’s finished. We take care of these bodies until they’re placed into the ground.

I try to stay warm on these cold winter days. We always have snow. The air always hurts your face. I own fleece-lined tights, fleece-lined leather gloves, hats that cover my ears, and these UGG boots. But today, I couldn’t feel my toes. Today, the ice grabbed my feet and wouldn’t let go. Today I was alone by the gravesite, with only the cemetery crew to witness this body being placed into the ground. But I waited until it was done.

My grandfather passed away in the middle of November. My grandmother decided to die during the famous October storm of 2006. Google it. We couldn’t bury her for about two weeks.  And then, you all know about Eddie, who passed away on December 14th. Death always seems to come for my family when it’s cold.

Today, January 2nd, also marks a year since a close family friend died. His burial was one of the coldest I’ve ever done. I stood at the foot of his grave and watched as the vault lid went on. I couldn’t feel my feet then, either. But it’s all part of the job. Honestly, I don’t mind that much. During these times, I remember how I felt having to say goodbye. I remember the pain, feeling broken, and the tears. I remember knowing, that even though these are the shells of those that I love, that these bodies still mean something. They matter. It would have been so much easier, if the cold that I felt in my feet could have just traveled up to my heart. We sometimes think that are problems can go away if we numb out the pain.

But we have to go through this pain. We feel pain because we love, and if pain is the price we pay to love, then I will gladly take it all. All of those good times are worth it, they really are. We’re going to cry, and scream. There are days when we’ll try to numb out the pain and find that we can’t succeed. And in the middle of all of this, we’ll find ourselves laughing at a memory and then the tears will roll once again. We have to go through it.

You will always feel what’s in your heart. But today, I can’t feel my toes.

A new year, but the same me.

It’s a new year.

How crazy to think that we’ve taken another lap around the sun. How crazy to think of all of the bodies I’ve placed into the earth, these past three hundred and sixty five days. People often use a new year as the first chapter of their book, but I think that I’m done making resolutions for a while. It’s a new year, but I know I’m the same me.

I know that it’s been a while since I last wrote. It’s always a while from one post to the next. When I first started Little Miss Funeral, I wanted to be able to communicate with my family members and friends about my job working in a funeral home. I never thought that people from all over the world would read what I write. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, especially on the internet, you open yourself up to the possibility of a lot of negativity. When you work around death and grief, negativity is the last thing that you need.

Two thousand and seventeen was a good year for me, in many ways. I traveled a lot with my family. I started a YouTube channel. I surrounded myself with people who I love. Two thousand and seventeen was also difficult. It started off with me burying a close family friend. It went on to include burying my cousin’s step-father. It was my first full year without Eddie. If I let these sad times consume me, I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning. But even when there is sadness, I’ve learned that goodness also grows. You just have to be open to recognize it.

I’m not going to sit here and promise different things for this new year. I’m not going to pretend that I’m going to write more, or vlog more, or anything like that. God knows that I won’t set foot in a gym. What I do promise to do, is always be honest with what I put out on Little Miss Funeral. I’m still a twenty-something-year-old woman on the other side of this screen, after all. I promise to do my best to share my journey with all of you. And you know what? I do believe that this new year is going to be an amazing journey.

8 Things In A Funeral Director’s Car

This video was so much fun to make! My friend Maggie called me one day telling me that she had this awesome idea for a video; the “what’s in my purse” videos on YouTube, but with a funeral director twist!

On another note, maybe I should do a what’s in my bag video? These lighthearted videos are fun for me to make. I hope that you all like it!

Make sure to comment below any other items that you keep in your car!

What Little Miss Funeral Wears (blue pants addition).

DSC_0280

Two outfit posts in a row?!

I know, but do you know what? I don’t care. When you’re surrounded by death every single day, it’s good to be able to focus on something that brings you joy. Even if it is clothes. This post is actually a little different for me, because in case you didn’t notice, I’m wearing color, but to go even further, I’m wearing PANTS. You see, I saw that Dia&Co had this initiative where you put together an outfit that is outside of your comfort zone. Dia&Co is a clothing brand for woman sizes 14 and up, and even though I do not fall into their sizing, I have become obsessed with their message. Being confident in yourself and your outfits.

I’ve said this before, but when I wear clothes that make me feel good, I truly believe that I can better serve families. So much of my job has to do with dealing with the community, and even if people don’t admit it, I am being judged.

I’ve known that people judge me based on my appearance from the very first time someone walked into the funeral home and asked if my dad was working. I still know this to be true today, when people come up to me and ask to speak with a funeral director. I know that I don’t look the part; that’s why clothes are such a big deal to me. When I feel good about how I look, I can confidently talk with others and be the best funeral director that I can be.

I love being a woman. I think this is why I feel so confident in skirts and dresses. So I wanted to prove to myself that I could feel just as good in a pair of pants. I love color, but hate how I look in it. I have a few beautiful and colorful pieces that I keep in my closet but rarely pull out, and I felt like these blue pants really helped  me shy away from my black/gray/white color scheme. Regardless, I loved how I felt in this outfit and wanted to share that with you all. We should share things that bring us joy, right?

Dia&Co has a hashtag #wearwhatscaresyou, and this outfit definitely falls into that category, but doing things that scare you makes life fun. And as we all know, life is short. (So wear the pants.)

DSC_0191DSC_0157DSC_0206

Shirt: Loft (similar style here)

Blazer: Banana Republic (similar style here)

Pants: Express (here)

Shoes: Kelly & Katie (here)

 

My husband Josiah LeRoy took these photos of me in St. Stanislaus Cemetery in Cheektowaga, NY.

What Little Miss Funeral Wears (when she goes to a wedding.)

I know that I have been lacking when it comes to blogging, and even though this is not a funeral related post, I loved this dress too much not to share it!

Yesterday I had a family wedding and I bought this dress specifically for this event. I fell in love with the cape first (which can come off, but I mean come on, look at it!) The thing that I love most about this is that I could (and will) wear this dress to work at the funeral home. It’s a great length, super comfortable and I could throw a blazer or cardigan over it. The shoes are one’s that I’ve had for over a year now and they’re super comfortable and I wear them to work all the time. The bows are just too cute!

DSC_0141

DSC_0140

Dress: Unique Vintage (here)

Shoes: Nine West (here)

 

My husband Josiah LeRoy took these photos of me in Ridge Lawn Cemetery in Cheektowaga, NY.

 

 

Almost a year later.

When I was in mortuary school, I had a professor who shared her story of how she embalmed her father when he died. At first, I was taken aback, but by the end of the story, I saw what a beautiful gift the experience had been for her. For she had said how no one else could have taken better care of her father than her. I always thought how wonderful it was that I was going into the death care industry. I would be the person who would be able to care for my own family and friends one day. I could make certain that everything was done correctly and that they received the love and respect in death that they deserved.

That is, until, Eddie died.

In just a little over a month, it will have been a year since he’s died. At times, it feels as if he’s been absent from my life for years, but in the same breath it is still so fresh. I still have a voicemail on my phone from him, 11 seconds long. It’s nothing special, him asking for me to call him. But when I push the play button, I can still hear him say my name.

When Eddie died, I did a lot for him. But there was still so much that I couldn’t do. At the hospital, once Keith unzipped the body bag, I couldn’t bring myself to look upon Eddie’s face. I couldn’t be there when he was embalmed. I couldn’t even bring myself to be present while he was dressed for the visitation. It all hurt too much.

There is a growing movement for getting family and friends involved in their loved one’s funeral. There are even people who are providing opportunities for home wakes; for you to wash and dress your own loved ones when they die. As a funeral director, I can see the positives to this. Acknowledging death helps with our grief. But as a girl who has lost someone who I love, I can understand why we have professionals.

I do not regret not being present for Eddie’s embalming. Although it was therapeutic for my professor, I know that this was not something I was capable of doing for Ed. But I was able to comb his hair back and tell him I loved him on my own terms. There are so many ways that we can care for our dead, the important part is to just be with them. There are times when I think of the deaths that I will have to bear in the years to come. My grandma, my parents, and who knows who else. I often wonder if things will be different for me, if I’ll be strong enough to care for my loved ones completely on my own. But then, I think how strength has nothing to do with it. The only strength that matters, is the strength of my love for them. And if my heart is so broken that I cannot care for them myself, my new strength will come from leaning on other professionals, who are my close friends, to carry me in a time when I can’t carry myself.

Almost a year later and not much has changed. Except, everything has changed, because you’re not here Eddie. I miss you.

Why I like my job.

I know. I KNOW.

I have been seriously lacking with my writing. I’m sorry. When it comes to Little Miss Funeral, I never want to write just to put content out there. I want what I’m sharing to mean something; so for the time being, I’ll share one of my YouTube videos.

Why I Like My Job.

5 ways to help when someone dies.

I read a lot of books. Since I’m a funeral director, I read a lot of books about death/dying and grief. In this video, I talk about 5 Ways to Help When Someone Dies; ideas that I got from “Sorry For Your Loss: What People Who Are Grieving Wish You Knew (Good Things To Know)” by Alicia King.

For the little ones.

I was standing near the front door of the funeral home when I saw their car pull in. Our doors have these little window panels so I quickly moved away. That’s all they needed right now, to see a person glaring through the funeral home at them. They shouldn’t even be here, I thought to myself, so try not to make them more uncomfortable than they already are.

My heart broke as they walked through the doors. I quickly introduced myself as I lead them to the lounge. I tried to not stare at her stomach as she sat down, still swollen, but now just a symbol of an empty tomb. I don’t pretend to know why things happen. Things like this shouldn’t happen.

How do you not cry with these families? At one moment, I had to catch my breath to stop my own tears from falling. The moment she just broke down as she laid her head on his shoulder. He had his arms around her and hugged her tight. I sometimes think that I don’t have the right to cry. I didn’t carry this life inside of me. How can I possibly be sad that a life has ended that I never even knew? But I still mourn with them. I said a prayer that they would always lean on each other.

In the hospital morgue, they have the little body rolled tight in a blanket. The mothers name identifies who this child is, but this child has a name. It always annoyed me that the hospitals don’t use the child’s name. If you wanted to, you could pick up this baby with one hand, but we don’t. We cradle this little body in both hands, the same as the mother would if she’d be whispering lullabies into their ear. None of this makes any sense.

The part that I hate the most comes when we arrive back at the funeral home. We unwrap this little body, and look upon this little face. It’s perfect. Tiny lips that are perfectly close, and the cutest little button nose. There is a little hat on the baby’s head. Something that the mother would have probably chosen as she took her child home. Instead, I took the child with me. This wasn’t supposed to happen.

When we arrive the next morning at the cemetery, I have everything all set up. The mother and father arrive with a teddy bear in hand. I give them time as they place the stuffed animal in the casket. I wonder if she’ll ask to hold her baby, but she doesn’t. When it’s time, I ask the father if he wants to carry the casket to the grave. He looks at me confused, saying he didn’t think he could do that. Of course he can, I assure him. He holds his baby’s casket as we walk over. He places his child into the freshly dug grave. The priest blesses the ground and speaks the most beautiful words to the family. I didn’t think it was possible, for someone to know what to say at a time like this. But he did. His words didn’t take the pain away, nor did they bring this child back, but somehow, his words brought a little comfort.

It was actually a beautiful day for a burial. It would have been perfect funeral weather, as I describe it, expect for the fact that we were burying someone who we shouldn’t have been.

In the seven years that I’ve been a funeral director, I’ve buried more babies that I should have. In mortuary school, they talk about these things. Suicides, car accidents, illnesses. They talk about how these deaths are the hard ones, and they are, but these little babies, I lose a little bit of my heart with each one that I care for.

I have no words of comfort for these families. No answers to their questions. All I have are open arms and ears. I care for these babies as if they’re my own. And I mourn each death. A fellow funeral director commented to me the other day how she remembers each baby she’s buried. I do as well. I carry these children with me.

I really love what I do, but on these days, I wish with my entire heart that I’d never became a funeral director. I wish that I never knew this life.


Every time I bury a baby, I think about my future. I don’t have any children. I want a baby, more than anything, but I am also terrified.

A baby is brought into this world by love and a baby symbolizes hope. With these precious little lives, we hope that they will know nothing but love and never have to feel any pain. We want these babies to grow into good people and live wonderful lives, so we place our own dreams and wishes into them. And when a baby dies, suddenly, the world doesn’t make any sense.

I have seen things that no one should have to see. I have cared for little ones when their mothers should have been instead. These deaths cannot be justified. This heartache has no words.

If there is one thing that I can tell to women out there who have lost a baby it is this – you are still a mother, even if your arms are empty. If you have carried life inside of you, not even death can take that title away. Your grief is real and I wish more than anything that I could fix it. But since I can’t, I will continue to do my job as best as I can. And I will pray that I never have to do a funeral for another little one. But if I do, I will take care of them and love them as if they are my own. Because these little babies deserve to be loved, even in death, even by a funeral director.