I’ve noticed that I tend to not mention where I work when I meet new people. It’s not the I’m ashamed, because that’s hardly the case. I suppose that I just get tired of getting weird looks and answering a lot of questions. Because, you see, it’s always the same. I’ll throw into casual conversation that I happen to work with dead people and then I get the look. It’s a funny look really. It’s shock, mixed with the realization of knowing you looked shocked, followed by a failed attempt to cover it up with a smile. It doesn’t work. I already know you think I’m strange at this point. Next either comes fifty questions because you’re in a non threatening environment where you can ask me about the actual embalming process, the nervous “Well, at least you’ll always have a job!” line, or my favorite, “What ever made you want to do that?” question.
Well, what ever made me want to do this?
I’ve known what I’ve wanted to do ever since I was thirteen. Seriously. It wasn’t always funerals you know. At first I wanted to be a veterinarian but when my father told me it wasn’t about playing with puppies all day and if a dog was seriously sick I’d have to put it down I threw that out the window. After that I wanted to be a fourth grade teacher. Thank God I got over that. Sometime after I decided, “Hey, what about a funeral director!?” and it stuck. Thirteen years old. I must be crazy. Maybe, actually, probably.
I have family in the business you know. So maybe it’s not that weird. I know, it’s still weird, but at least since I told you that you feel a little better, right? I mean, it’s not like I was crawling around in graveyards when I was young. No, I started crawling around graveyards when I got into my late teens. They’re awesome places to take pictures but that’s not the point.
I want to help people. I want to make a difference. If I can make one of the worst possible events that will ever happen to someone a little less horrible, then I’m happy. That means more to me then you’ll ever know. Plus, I’m doing one of the corporal acts of mercy so I’m hoping to score some points with the Big Guy.
If you walk away with one thought after reading this I hope it’s this one. Funeral Directors have difficult jobs. Please don’t forget that. Have you ever lost someone? Probably. Do you remember how you felt? Sad, possibly angry. If you were angry who did you take it out on? Most likely someone who was convenient. Someone who you probably wouldn’t see again so it didn’t matter if you were rude and difficult to them. Perhaps, your Funeral Director? It’s not fair. I work twelve-hour days, sixty hour weeks sometimes for you. To serve your family. To make a difficult time a little bit easier on you. People have told me in the past that I give good hugs you know. Seriously, they have. If you want one all you have to do is ask. Maybe it will make you feel a little bit better, who knows.