Reactions verses reasoning. The funeral home version.
Some days I wake up and can’t even grasp what the heck I’m doing with my life. Other days I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock and try to forget what I’m doing with my life so I can get a few more minutes of sleep.
One thing that I really wish I knew was what my grandfather would have thought about me becoming a funeral director. He was always working in my Uncle’s funeral parlor. Answering phones, parking cars or just hanging around. I wish I would have known if he would have been proud of his only granddaughter becoming a funeral director. Or if he would have looked me in my eyes and called me crazy.
I get so many mixed reactions. Some people are fascinated and ask me a million questions. Some people look at me like they’re disgusted. Some people think that I’m wasting my youth. And you know, every one of them hit the nail right on the head.
My job is fascinating. Everyday is different. Every case is different. There are so many learning opportunities. You can’t help but to learn and grow at every turn. And yes, there’s that whole ‘dead people’ aspect that just draws you in because it’s so foreign.
My job is disgusting. In my short time of working in a funeral home I have seen some causes of death that would have a normal person tossing their cookies in the nearest garbage can. There have been some homes that I have gone into that have been straight out of a horror film. There have even been some families that have caused me to question humankind because of their attitudes and actions.
I am wasting my youth. I’m not going out every night partying. Heck, I’m hardly going out at all. I’m not being selfish. I’m choosing other people over myself. I don’t have the responsibility of a ‘normal’ twenty-two year old.
It would have been really cool to sit down with my grandfather and talk about all of these things with him. I would have enjoyed to listen to his opinion on the business from a perspective of being ‘in’ the business without being consumed by it. And I would have been interested to hear his stand on female funeral directors. And young female funeral directors. Maybe I’m a funeral director because I’m fascinated with the work. Maybe I’m a funeral director because the job grosses other people out. And maybe I am wasting my youth. But when you do something for another person; I mean, really do something for them that you know in your heart to be true and good, well, that’s a feeling that no one can take away from you.
When my grandfather died I put a purple stuffed animal monkey in his casket that held a heart that said “I love you.” And it doesn’t matter if he would have been proud of me or thought that I was crazy. Because I loved my grandfather. And when you love people you want nothing more to honor and dignify them, especially in death. And that’s something that I can do for people. And that makes me turn over in the morning, look at my alarm clock and get up.