I’ve been thinking lately. Just about my life and certain situations in it. Like how when I’m with my mom she always finds room in the conversation to tell people that I work in a funeral home. Or how when I was at my cousin’s wedding my Uncle called me over to him so he could introduce me to his friends as his Niece; The Undertaker. It seems as if I am always being followed by the shadow which is my career. Maybe it’s unique because I’m twenty-two years old. Or maybe it’s unique because I’m a girl. Or maybe it’s just unique because it’s just simply unique.
So here we are.
And here I again start to think. I think about being young, and being a girl, and working where I work. And it seems so natural. So me. And I think of how much I have learned in such a short amount of time. And how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time. And how I think that the funeral industry is an absolute perfect career choice for a woman. So I have somewhat of another list for you.
So here we go: Why working in a funeral home can be beneficial for a lady.
Ladies, you will discover the best birth control.
I bet you didn’t see this one coming. Let me explain myself. You see, sometimes it is very difficult to get a babysitter, especially if it is short notice and unexpected. I don’t know, let use the example that someone you know passed away. Yes, I think this will be a good example. Anyways, you read about your friend’s Aunt Jane passing away in the paper only yesterday. In between ordering flowers and baking a casserole you completely forgot that your husband is working late. Oops. Well, little Johnny can be such a good boy at times; I guess we’ll just bring him along to the wake. There must be a room he can sit in and besides, we won’t stay long! Oh good, when we arrive to the funeral home it does so happen that there are a couple of rooms where little Johnny can sit and wait quietly for Mama. In the mean time, we go on into the room for the wake and completely forget out motherly/disciplinary duties and sit and chat with people who we haven’t seen for ages. In the meanwhile, little Johnny becomes bored and restless and a little brave. So brave in fact, that he starts to run around and screams and play with the other forgotten children. Oh, but they’re not forgotten for long! You see, Miss Lauren happens to hear the little monst-…I mean children and proceeds to go over and ask them to quiet down, because you see, we’re at a wake which means we need to show respect. It works. For three minutes. And then Miss Lauren goes and asks them to be quiet again. This time it only works for about two minutes. After a while Miss Lauren let’s them run around because three different scenarios are available. 1. The children may fall down get hurt and decide it’s not a good idea to run around. 2. Mama may hear all the noise the children are making and come out and yell at them, or 3. Mama won’t care because this is a little break for her and Miss Lauren will decide that she will never, ever have little monst-… I mean, children, of her own. Well, this little ordeal keeps happening until Mama comes out of the room way past little Johnny’s bedtime and decides to take him home. Miss Lauren Finally arrives home, falls onto her own bed, and vows to never have children.
Your motherly nature will come in handy.
Since you’re never going to have any children of your own after all, all that motherly intuition needs to go somewhere. And you know the perfect place to put all that intuition? Into those who grieve. I’m telling you ladies, you have this built-in radar that goes off when someone needs a hug, some tissues, or just a friendly smile. Also, ladies have what I like to call their “phone voice”. And don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. I have one. I embrace it. It’s the voice you get when you pick up the phone and you don’t know who is on the other end. It almost has a “floating” quality if you will. Your voice get’s a little higher and a little sweeter. Well, that’s the perfect voice to speak to those who grieve. Your phone voice also has a caring quality in it. Subconsciously when you pick up the phone, you’re trying to make a good impression with your voice since you physically can’t bat those eyelashes or show that million dollar smile. So ladies, embrace it and use it. And give those hugs when your gut tells you to. You’re doing well. You’re doing what you know how to do.
You will learn very quickly that high heels can take you to high places.
Funeral service is a male dominated field. It has been since the beginning. And even though the industry is changing does not mean that you can’t use this testosterone dominated career to your advantage. I’ve learned this little fact very recently. You see, I was asked to go down to city hall and get a box of safety paper for a town hall. Being the thoughtful girl that I am I of course jumped on the opportunity to help out others. I just so happened to wear a lovely pair of shoes that day which showed off my very recent pedicure. And yeah, they were high heels. Even though I was very capable to carry this little old box I had a nice gentleman insist on escorting me down the thirteen stories and one block to my car, where he ever so neatly placed the box in the backseat of my car. If this wasn’t enough good fortune when I arrived at town hall a gentleman who had just left the building proceeded to turn around and walk briskly to the door he had just exited so he could hold the door open for me. And even though I’d like to think that my rather striking good looks and bubbly personality may have been the cause of these nice acts I have never had anything such as this happen when I wore my flats; which is kind of like everyday. So ladies, put on those high heels. Be proud. But please, there is a difference between CFM high heels and business sexy high heels. So if they look like you are going to attend a pole dancing class please put them back into the closet. If they look like an Audrey Hepburn mixed with modern-day Blair Waldorf you’re good to go.
You can do makeup like, all the time.
Come on ladies, you know you love playing with makeup. And get this; you get to put makeup on both women and men. No discrimination here. And if applying makeup to people who can’t talk back to you doesn’t make you excited maybe this will; you get to make a person look beautiful for their last party. Have you ever thought about a wake in that sense? As a party? Because it is. The invitation goes out, (the death notice), people respond to it, (send flowers, cards, condolences) and everyone gathers in that person’s honor (the deceased). It’s wonderful in a way, because you have all the power when it comes to the person’s final appearance. All eyes will be on them while their makeup was done by you. And since you have that motherly instinct in you, you’ll know exactly when to hug their family members. Probably around the time they see them for the first time since they were sick in the hospital. They’ll look at mom, and start to cry, saying how good she looks, almost ten years younger in fact. Yeah, you’ll hug them and they’ll say thank you. And that’s a pretty good feeling.
Ladies you will find out how strong you actually are.
And this goes both ways, physically and emotionally. Standing at a whole five feet two inches tall I never thought that I could lift much. But the thing was, I never knew how to lift. And sure, lifting one end of a casket that holds a 230lb man in it is still extremely difficult for me, but I mean, come on, that’s like half my weight. I can lift heavy boxes and empty caskets. I can move dead weight around more than I ever thought I could. You learn as you go. And you’re expected to lift just as anyone else would. Although if there is no way in heck you’re going to move someone or something just put on those high heel shoes like I said before and grab your nearest fella. He’ll help you. And now let’s talk about the emotional aspect of the job. If one more person asks me how I can work where I work because it’s “so sad” I’m going to scream. Yes, it’s sad okay. But it’s so much more than that. It’s unavoidable. It’s life. And I’m helping. I don’t know if there was a sadder sight that I ever saw then this 90 year old man saying his finally goodbye to his wife. Silently wiping the tears away from his eyes as he whispered to her just how much he loved her. I swear to you I feel like my heart is being ripped out every time I have to experience situations like that. But guess what? I am strong and even though it’s sad I can be a rock and offer them an ear to listen or arms to hug. I can offer them information that may help or some of my time so they don’t have to be alone. Again, what a great feeling.
If you sit back and think about it, being a Funeral Director is a role that women have been meant to play since the beginning. We have the necessary qualities. And we even have a few more that men don’t. Ladies are not ashamed to ask for help when they need it. Ladies are not afraid of going to people who know more than them on a certain topic. We don’t have that “manly” nature in which we feel as if we know everything. And please, this is not a shot at men. Because men are brought up to be strong and to be the best. Women have been seen as the weaker of the two sexes for some time. But this is not a negative aspect. In fact, this actually helps women in the funeral field. Because women are seen as less threatening, therefore a man could cry at the loss of his father, feeling less shame as he does so compared to if he were to cry in front of another man. All we need is an environment in which we can show off our wonderful qualities. An environment where we can help others and find our strengths. An environment, like a funeral home.