little miss funeral

an average girl working at your not so average job

Category: lists

Five things that I do for me.

One of my favorite aspects of this job is also my least favorite thing about this job; the schedule. Or, should I say, lack thereof.

Since I’m not working 9-5’s I’m never looking at the clock mentally willing the hands to move faster. There is no ‘clock out’ time. This can work to my advantage because basically, I work when the funeral home in busy and when it’s not, I don’t. Because of this, I’m never bored. That’s a huge plus.

But you see, having no schedule can really be difficult sometimes. I just had a friend ask me when my next day off is so we can get together. I couldn’t answer her because I don’t have days off. I mean, I do have ‘days off’ but I never realize it until the day is over. I live by my phone. I can be out to eat with family and if the phone rings, I work. That’s a huge negative.

I try really hard to make time for me; I have to. If I don’t do things for myself and make it a priority, I begin to burn out very quickly. So below, I thought of five things that I do for me. These are not activities that I do with my husband, or girlfriends, although at times they may join me. These are things that I do because they are healthy and good for me. These are things that I enjoy doing. Things that help clear my mind and breathe.

None of these activities have anything to do with the funeral profession, but I think that’s the point. Sometimes, you need hobbies and activities to get your mind out of the death-filled life that you find yourself in. These activities remind me that I’m so much more than a funeral director, but they also refresh me so that I can be a better funeral director. Hope you enjoy!

5.) Go to the dog park.

I love taking my dog Lindy Ruff to the dog park. A lot of times, my brother will join me, but I go by myself a lot, too. Not only is it healthy for my pup, but it gets me out in fresh air. There is an awesome park, Knox Farms, that I go to all the time. There is a huge fenced in area where I can sit for hours…and I mean hours, and watch my dog play with others. I have no idea why but I find it so relaxing! There is also a pond and trails so I can walk Lindy, too. And one of my favorite things about this park is that there is a little library hidden among the trees on one of the trails! If I’m having a bad day or just need some nature this is a go to for me.

4.) Get my nails done.

I have  a horrible habit of biting my nails. I’ve done this since I was little. So, I will mentally tell myself that if I stop I can get rewarded by getting a manicure and let me tell you, that does the trick! There is also something about having fresh nails that makes you feel like you can take on the world! I get pampered a little and feel great about myself in the process. It’s a win/win!

3.) Sewing/Cosplay.

My husband has pop culture media website, The Geekiverse. I always described myself as a geek by association, because if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have gotten into most of this stuff. But the thing is, the more I learned about it the more into this stuff I became. Enter cosplaying. I was introduced to cosplaying through Nickel City Con and immediately became obsessed. My sister-in-law does help me with this activity, because I cannot sew nearly as well as she can, but it’s still something that I do because I enjoy it. It’s extremely relaxing actually making these outfits and it’s a blast to be able to wear them to events! It’s something that is so completely opposite the funeral profession and it’s a nice little break for me.

2.) Get a massage.

This is something new that my husband and I have gotten into. About four months ago, we both had gift cards for a massage, so we booked our appointments back to back. I’m very particular when it comes to massage because I’ve had a couple that weren’t that great. But I have recently found my massage therapist and I am hanging onto her tight! Not only does it relax me, but it is healthy for me. About once a month, I turn off my phone, close my eyes and just enjoy being in the moment and having my stress melt away.

1.) Ballet.

You guys saw this coming, right? I mean after my last post in the tutu outfit you had to see this coming!? Ballet is something that I’ve recently found. About a year ago, I had a girlfriend of mine introduce me to Classical Ballet of WNY, a legit studio that produces actual ballerinas. Lucky for us, they have an adult ballet program for those who came to the art late. I currently take class two times a week and not only is it exercise, it is simply something that I look forward to. I know that I’m not that great, but it’s discipline and something that I can actually track my progress of. I love it and I can’t imagine a time when I would not want to do it!

A list of sad songs that I love.

Not too long ago, ASD’s Public Relationship Specialist, Jess Fowler, wrote a post called 6 Songs That Help Me Grieve. In this post, she talks about the anniversary of her dad’s passing and how she uses music to grieve. The thing that I enjoyed about this post was the songs that she included. Jess truly has great taste in music. We actually bonded over a shared favorite band, Rilo Kiley a few years back, so I wasn’t surprised that I loved all the tracks she listed.

Growing up, I enjoyed music that my husband describes as ’emo’. I mean, sure, I had Myspace back in the day. And yeah, I may have owned one or two pairs of black baggy pants from Hot Topic, and maybe I was obsessed with Benji from Good Charlotte, but…I’m not helping my case here am I?

The thing is, I’ve always enjoyed music that made me feel something. I’m drawn to music and artists that can make me feel all of their emotions, sadness included. My husband doesn’t get this. He doesn’t understand why I don’t listen to music that brings out more positive feelings. And the reason I don’t just listen to ‘happy’ music all the time is because I’m human. I experience it all, sadness included. And sometimes, you just need a good cry.

So getting back to Jess; her post inspired me to create a list of my own. Songs that I listen to when I want to cry. Or songs that I listen to when I’m in a bad mood. Heck, these are just songs that I listen to when I want to feel something. So, let’s get started.

Ray Lamontagne – Empty

God. What is it about Ray? I am in love with this man’s voice. My father introduced me to Ray Lamontagne a few years back when he picked up his CD from the library. My dad and I have similar taste in music (most of the time). I think his exact words were, “Lauren, do you know that commercial with the dogs and the bone? This is the guy who sings that song!” Of course, he was talking about his song Trouble. When I first heard Empty, I turned it as loud as I could, sat in my car and let it consume me. I love the violin. I love Ray’s raspy voice. I love it all.

Favorite lyrics: “Well, I looked my demons in the eyes
laid bare my chest, said “Do your best, destroy me.
You see, I’ve been to hell and back so many times,
I must admit you kind of bore me.”

Josh Groban and Kelly Clarkson – All I ask of You

I grew up in a house that listened to the soundtrack from The Phantom of the Opera every day while we ate dinner. My mother took me to see the show for the first time when I was eight years old. I lived and breathed Phantom as a child. I don’t know if I can put into words what Phantom actually means to me. So, when Josh Groban came out with his CD, Stages, I was ecstatic when I found this track included on it.

The moment my husband hears the first notes from this song, he will walk out of the room. Because soon after, I will be bawling my eyes out. And I’m not talking about a few tears rolling down my cheek. I’m talking about ugly crying. I listen to this when I had a bad day and just need to get my emotions out.

Favorite lyrics: “Share each day with me, each night, each morning
Say you love me
You know I do
Love me, that’s all I ask of you.”

Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On

Since we are on the topic of ugly crying.

GUYS, I CAN’T. I REALLY CAN’T.

This is one song that I have basically banned because it just makes me SOB. So many emotions. The words, Celine’s voice, the music video with scenes from the movie, so many feels. I need to stop, because I’m getting emotional just typing all of this.

I’LL NEVER LET GO JACK, I’LL NEVER LET GO.

Favorite lyrics: “Love can touch us one time
And last for a lifetime
And never let go ’til we’re gone”

Mumford & Sons – Where Are You Now

Another one of my favorite bands. I become obsessed with Mumford & Sons back in college. Once again, there is just something about Marcus’s voice and I cannot get enough of it. It was difficult for me to just pick one song, but Where Are You Now brings back memory of heartache and past relationships that so many people can identify with.

Favorite lyrics: “You said no one would ever know
The love that we had shared.
As I took my leave to go
It was clear you didn’t care.”

Rilo Kiley – A Man/Me/Then Jim

Jenny Lewis is my girl, hands down. This song is definitely one of my top five all time favorite songs. But beware, it is a sad song. I mean, it starts with a suicide and shows ‘the slow fade of love’ from three different perspectives; A Man, Me, and then Jim. This is another song that I like to turn all the way up and just breathe in. Does that make sense?  I’m writing a post about songs that make me sad, so does any of this really make any sense?

Favorite lyric: “Diana, Diana, Diana, I would die for you
I’m in love with you completely
I’m afraid that’s all I can do”
She said, “You can sleep upon my doorstep
You can promise me indifference, Jim
But my mind is made up
And I’ll never let you in again”

Gregory And The Hawk – A Wish

This is another one of my college songs. It was never about Gregory And The Hawk, but more about this particular song. This song is about being young, confused and caring for someone more than they care for you. It makes me feel vulnerable.

Favorite lyrics: “And it’s hard to find
What I want
When it’s buried beneath the biggest rock”

Ed Sheeran – Supermarket Flowers

When I bought Ed’s most recent album and listened to Supermarket Flowers, my first reaction was, “Wow.” I know that I’m very open when I write about my feelings and job, but this song just invited us all into a very personal time in his life.

But there is something else that makes this song special to me.

If you’ve read my blog before, you are aware that in December I lost Eddie. To this day, I still struggle with his passing. About a month ago, I was alone at the funeral home and decided to yell at Eddie, something that I do often when I miss him. I was in the middle of telling him the nerve he had for leaving me, when all of a sudden, this song came on my Pandora station. Immediate tears.

Now, every time I listen to this song, I think of him.

Favorite Lyrics “Oh, I’m in pieces. It’s tearing me up but I know
A heart that’s broke is a heart that’s been loved.”

I hope you all enjoyed this list of songs. And serious thanks to Jess from ASD. Thanks for being my inspiration to write this post and thank you for being so open about your own grief.

Top 5 thoughts when leading a funeral procession.

In my town, funeral processions are still a thing.

Now, I used to despise leading funeral processions, for the sole reason that I was unsure of myself. When you’re leading a large group of cars you want to make sure that you’re taking the easiest route and most importantly, that you don’t get lost. Being new to the business, I, of course, doubted my ability. But it’s like anything, and as time went on I became more comfortable and sure of myself. And today, leading a funeral is like second nature to me.

So last week as I was leading a procession from the funeral home to the cemetery, I took notice of some of the thoughts that went through my head during the journey. So now I’m going to share with you all the top 5 thoughts I have when I lead a funeral procession.

5. What Church/Cemetery am I going to again?

I swear, when I’m placing flags on cars and instructing people to turn on their headlights and flashers, I have my destination in mind. However, the moment I get into my car and turn on my lights, I have a slight panic attack. Where am I going again??? is often the first thought that comes to my mind before I drive away.

4. Can these cars leave any bigger gaps?

When you’re in a procession, you want every car to drive as closely to the car in front of them while still being safe. I am a close driver, always. So if anyone is more than five feet away from me at any given time I feel as if they are light years away. The thing is, that you really have to avoid leaving any large gaps. Otherwise, drivers may think the procession is over and weave in and out. Or cars may weave in and out anyways. Because people can sometimes be jerks.

3. Can I make this light?

I wish that I was a magic fairy procession leader who always made every green light and always got to the destination in the perfect way. Sadly, one of my most thought ‘thoughts’ is OH MY GOSH WILL I MAKE THIS GREEN LIGHT? And then proceeding to speed up so I can usher all my cars though an intersection.

2. Am I using my horn too much?

Whenever I come to an intersection, I always beep my horn two or three times to alert other cars that a procession is coming though. People don’t pay attention that much when their driving (music, talking, cell phones, etc.) so I want to make sure we’re seen. Even though this question runs through my mind, I always answer it; No, I am not using my horn too much, in fact, I’m not using it ENOUGH.

1. They did NOT just do that!

This thought is not just a thought, as I find myself yelling this out loud at least once every procession. Whether a car cuts me off, or weaves in and out of my procession, or is just plain rude (because everyone is always in a hurry) I find myself wanting to pull out my hair at times. So yeah, this is definitely my #1 thought.

With all of this being said, I just want to add that although for others, funeral processions can be annoying (I mean, waiting for fifty cars to go though a light when you have to get to work is definitely a pain in the butt) just remember that we’re carrying someone’s loved one to their final place of rest. It’s an inconvenience for others, but honestly, it only lasts a few minutes. Please, the next time you’re held up because of a procession, take a deep breath and have some patience and respect. After all, one day we might be carrying your loved one.

Bonus Thoughts!

Will the Priest or Minister be driving with me?

Will I make it to my destination on time?

I’m not going to make it to my destination on time…

and finally:

I AM SWEATING LIKE A MAN IN THIS HOT CAR. (appropriate thought for summer, only.)