little miss funeral

an average girl working at your not so average job

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).

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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.)

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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!

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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.

One word.

My brother travels a lot. Before he leaves on one of his trips, he does research so he is as prepared as he can be. One thing that he tries to do is learn certain phrases of these different languages so he’s not completely in the dark while traveling.

It was during a conversation that we were having as he described to me his journey to learn some basic Norwegian that I mentioned how I’d love to learn some Polish.

My ancestors came from Poland, and although I’ve never been, I’ve always been very interested with my heritage. So one day, my brother gave me Pimsleur Basic Polish. An interactive CD that is supposed to help you learn – you guessed it – Polish.

Yesterday I was driving and since it’s been a while, I decided to pop the CD in. It was going quite well until the voice on the CD asked, “How do you begin to ask a female a yes or no question?”

“Easy!” I thought to myself and out loud I began to say the phrase, “Czy pani”

Then it all went downhill.

All of a sudden, I started to freak out. I had to pull over to the side of the road because I could feel my eyes begin to swell with tears.

Pani is what Eddie used to call me.

“How are you doing today, pani?” he used to mumble as he walked through the door of the funeral home. I’d smile and he’d laugh as he took his normal place in the chair besides my desk. Eight months today he’s been gone. Eight. Months. And while I normally think I’m doing very well in coping with his death I was blindsided by this one little word while driving.

Grief is a sneaky little bastard. You begin to learn a new normal and then all of a sudden you’re wrapped right back into the hurt and pain like the death has just occurred.

I took a few moments. I shut off the CD and slowly breathed in and out. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Eddie. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish he was still here with me.

I will never pretend that I know everything about grief. I don’t know why I was affected like I was while listening to the CD. Maybe because I subconsciously realized I was coming upon the fourteenth. Maybe because there have been a few things happening in my life that I really wish I could talk to him about. Whatever, it doesn’t even matter. It still sucks.

I just miss him so much. It doesn’t matter how many months pass by, no amount of time can erase the love that I have for him. I will carry him with me for the rest of my life. And I will gladly take all of the sadness and pain; honest. Because grief wouldn’t hurt so much if I didn’t love Eddie so much. That’s what this life is about. That’s the only thing that makes sense. Love.

Maybe next time I pop in Pimsleur Basic Polish I won’t have to stop my car. Or maybe I will. But I do know, whenever I hear the word ‘pani’ I’ll think of Eddie and no matter what, I’ll remember how blessed I was to have him in my life.

 

 

My first home transfer.

I’ve been a little behind on my writing. My intention was to write a new post every week, but I’ve yet to maintain that schedule because I don’t want to force anything. I believe that I do my best writing when it comes naturally; when I have something on my mind that I would like to share. So in the meantime, I’m linking one of my YouTube videos below.

This one was apparently really controversial! Who would have thought? Watch below to hear the story of my first ever home transfer.  If there are any funeral professionals out there who have advice on doing a home transfer, please comment it below. I believe with my whole heart that the only way to grow and better serve the community is to share our knowledge and resources with others, especially young funeral professionals who are the future of this industry. Thanks in advance for all of your suggestions.

Little Miss Funeral is on YouTube!

So for those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you might not be aware that I recently started my own YouTube channel!

I thought that this could be another way for me to reach out to people and express my thoughts on the death care industry. Just another way to get people talking about death, ya know? I posted my first video below, 10 Things About Little Miss Funeral. If you like the video, give it a thumbs up and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss anything that I post! Oh, and I have another video coming out tomorrow so stay tuned!

 

 

Thanks for all the support, comments, likes and shares. They mean more to me than you all could ever know.