little miss funeral

an average girl working at your not so average job

5 Ways For A Funeral Director To Relax

You all know from my past blogs that being a funeral director can be a very heavy and stressful career. I have to actively work every day to take care of my physical and mental health. I’m happy to share with all of you five things that I love to do to help me relax. You don’t have to be a funeral director to enjoy these pastimes, so pour yourself a glass of wine, run yourself a bubble bath, and watch my video below to see the other things that I do to unwind!

Funeral Q&A With My Husband

One of the reasons why I am able to be a funeral director is because of the support that I have from my husband, Josiah. This is a heavy career. The grief that you carry from the families you serve can be so overwhelming at times that it makes you question why you ever decided to embark on this death journey. It’s easy to take all of these emotions and stress home with you. It’s even easier to succumb to depression within the funeral industry because there is often little to no work-home balance.

I started dating my husband when I was a fifteen year old sophomore in high school. We went to a Catholic school, and at the beginning of every year we would have a walk-a-thon to raise money for one thing or another. It was September, I was tired, and I spotted him walking a little ways in front of me. I never had classes with Josiah during my freshman year, and I just remember looking at this boy and thinking he was so cute! So I ran up to him and asked him if he’d carry me. He said yes, I jumped on his back and we’ve been together ever since.

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I laugh to myself when I think about this encounter. We started off with Josiah physically carrying me, but he has been emotionally and spiritually carrying me ever since that day. I can be a very weak person at times. When my job can seem too much for me to handle he is there cheering me on and helping me to overcome any obstacles in my way. Our life isn’t always perfect, but he is my best friend and he knows me inside out. He constantly encourages me to follow my passions and for that I’m eternally grateful.

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I’ve been able to grow up with Josiah. I can only pray that we get to have the privilege of growing old together.

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If you’re interested, you can watch a video that we filmed together below. I had him answer questions about what it’s like to be married to a funeral director. Spolier alert: besides for being super handsome, he’s also super funny. (I’m still pondering how the hell I convinced him to marry me.)

Always Memorial Podcast

It’s always awesome to be able to connect with people in funeral service. Because this job can be a little, well, different… it’s refreshing to be able to have colleagues and allies cheering you on. That’s why I was so excited to be able to connect with Tyler Fraser and be a guest on his podcast Amazing Departures!

We sat down and talked about my experiences being a funeral director. This podcast was so easy and fun to participate in because we just had a casual conversation with one another. I wanted to say a big thank you to Tyler for letting me ramble on about my experiences and for inviting me to be a guest! Listen to the show below and make certain to check our Tyler and everything else Always Memorial has to offer!

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Always Memorial Podcast: What It’s Like To Be a Funeral Director

STORY TIME: Grieving My Grandmother

I feel like when we think of grandmothers, we think of those sweet little old ladies who silently slip us cookies when our parents aren’t watching. We think of warm hugs and safe places.

This is not who my grandmother was. Although she was little (my brother and I christened her ‘little grandma’).

I know, without a doubt, that my grandma loved me in her own way. To this day, there is still a part of my heart that grieves for the relationship we didn’t have. But I am thankful for what we did have. My grandmother loved crossword puzzles. I know this is where I received my love of words. She loved to do crafts. This helped to spark my own creativity.

And when she died and I did not cry, it didn’t mean that I didn’t love her.

It just meant that my grief was like our relationship; different.

 

For JR.

Yesterday, while scrolling through my Facebook page, I was notified that a person I used to work with had passed away.

It’s been a good four years since I had seen them, but the update of their death put me into shock. For a few years, they knew every aspect of my life. And then, one day, I got a new job and we lost touch.  People’s paths take them in different directions and on different journeys.

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I’m that person who tells others that we’ll stay in touch and that we’ll get together.

I’m that person who never picks up the phone to make plans because of the uncertainty with my job.

When you work in a funeral home, you understand the importance of putting your family and friends first.

When you work in a funeral home, you become very good at cancelling plans last minute and putting off scheduling again because there’s a chance you’ll have to work.

 

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Since I found out the news, I’ve been thinking of the difference that this person had made in my life. I was young when I had met them. I was often uncertain of myself and my choices; just growing into the woman I’d become. We would sit and talk about my life, my job, and my relationships. When I took my National Board Exams to become a funeral director, this person gave me an angel pin to wear for good luck. I passed those exams, the first time around. When I became engaged, we talked about the plans for the wedding. They spent that day celebrating with me. When I left my job, we talked about my depression and mental issues. They never once judge me for the decisions that I made. Instead, they would listen with an open heart and offer me gentle advice.

Death forces you to stop and take a look at yourself. I may have only worked with this person for a few years out of my entire life, but I am who I am today because I had known them. The conversations we shared helped to shape me into who I am today.

I am a better person, for having had the opportunities to know them.

The would will be a little darker without their light in it.

All About Death Certificates

There’s a lot of paperwork involved when a person passes away. More paperwork, I believe, than people realize. Below, I talk about one very important document, a certified death certificate. I explain the information funeral directors are required to fill in at the time of a passing and different things you may need a certified copy for.

Cremation Questions Answered!

A few months ago I sat down with my friend Matt Roberts from the Mount Calvary Cemetery Group to answer different questions regarding the cremation process.

This was something we had wanted to do for a while, so it was fun for us to actually sit down and connect. We want to do another video together, so make certain that you watch the one below and leave your questions in the comment section!

Is Cremation A Problem?

The funeral industry is changing. There is no denying that.

If you’re a funeral home owner, I can guarantee that you’ve thought about the rise in cremation and how it’s impacting your business. Gone are the days of the three day wake, church service, and burial. While there is still plenty of room for tradition, families are walking away from funerals as their parents and grandparents have known them and redefining them to accommodate their lifestyle.

No matter my personal beliefs, it’s my job as a funeral professional to make certain the families I serve have all the information they need to make educated decisions. And even though I am a huge advocate for viewing and spending time with our dead, I personally do not see anything wrong with cremation as a final means of disposition. As a funeral professional, it’s my job to educate the families I serve and figure out how to give them the services they find value in while still educating about the importance of a funeral. It may be a different picture from what we are used to seeing, but there are still reasons certain traditions exist. (I’ll definitely revisit this and go more in detail as to my opinions, don’t worry!)

But I don’t want to stray too far away from the topic of this YouTube video. Watch it below and you be the judge for yourself if cremation is a problem.

Confessions of a Funeral Director Review

I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m a huge fan of Caleb Wilde. Is fan even the correct word to use when referring to a colleague within the same industry? Is colleague the correct word to use when you’ve never met the person in person? Am I being too technical in the introduction of this post? These questions may never have answers, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that I like Caleb and enjoy his blog Confessions of a Funeral Director.

I’m not even certain how I stumbled upon Caleb’s blog. I remember reading his post 10 Burdens Funeral Directors Carry, exchanging a few tweets back and forth, and before I knew it, he had asked me if he could feature my post, The Top 5 Things You Should Know About Funeral Directors, on his blog. By the time it went live on his blog, Little Miss Funeral experienced the most traffic, well, ever. (Thanks, Caleb!)

Why am I sharing all of this with you? Well, because I want you to know that I am biased. I can relate to Caleb. We both come from a Christian background. We both work for family funeral homes. We both have been burned out and depressed. So when I found out he was writing a book, I grabbed my credit card and preordered it right away.

Confessions of a Funeral Director: How the Business of Death Saved My Life was the first book that I ever “reviewed” on my YouTube channel. I put “reviewed” in quotations because I realized that I am horrible at actually reviewing things. I basically ramble on for five minutes and thirty four seconds about how much I enjoyed the book while trying to throw in some pros and cons about it because that’s what my husband told me to do (who actually reviews things over at his website, The Geekiverse, and knows how to do a proper review).

Regardless of your religious background and personal beliefs, or if you’re involved in the funeral industry or not, Caleb shares very personal experiences and details in his book. If you come from a similar background you’ll find yourself shaking your head in agreement at some things he says. If you don’t, you’re still invited to understand a little bit more about an unfamiliar world. His book deserves a place among your collection.

Still don’t believe me? Watch me ramble on about it for five minutes and thirty four seconds below.

Okay, but seriously, buy his book here.

I told you I was a fan.

On being present in the moment.

I was in elementary school when I asked my mother what her favorite day of the week was. I remember she was driving me to school. I don’t know why I asked her this; I don’t know why I did a lot of things when I was younger.

She told me her favorite day was Saturday, because it meant that she was off from work and could relax, but that she still had one more day to enjoy when it was over. She then asked me what my favorite day of the week was.

I told her it was Friday, because even though I had school and tests and homework, I looked forward to having the two following days off.

That was when I realized I lived for the future.

I’ve always looked forward to things. The anticipation of a vacation could sometimes be a bigger thrill for me than actually leaving that day for the vacation itself. I couldn’t wait till I was in high school so my life could begin. Once in high school, I couldn’t wait for college for my life to really begin. Once in college, I couldn’t wait till I graduated and actually started to work in a funeral home. The future was always better than the present. The future held so many opportunities.

It took working in a funeral home for me to understand that I was mentally living my life the wrong way. One funeral in particular when I was new to the industry shook me. A girl two years older than me  had died from cancer. I had to handle her arrangements. Looking down upon her face was like looking at myself. It could have so easily been me on that embalming table. Her tomorrow’s were over. Her future cut short.

Death doesn’t care how old you are. What kind of family or background you come from. What your future plans are. When death comes for you, there are no compromises.

“The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed.” – Eminem

Is it weird that a funeral blog just quoted Eminem? Maybe. But is what he said true? You bet. Honestly, it’s still a struggle for me to appreciate the time I have, right now. It’s something that I have to work at constantly. It’s so easy for me to slip into my natural thoughts of “tomorrow will be better”. Don’t get me wrong, I want to plan for the future. I just don’t want to always live for tomorrow. I want to appreciate how the flowers look outside my window right now. I want to feel the warmth of my dog as he lies near my legs and be content. I want this moment to be enough if this moment is all I have. I want all of my family and friends to know that I love them, and if tomorrow starts without me, I want them to know these things today.

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”  – Henry David Thoreau

Friday and Saturday are both great days. And contrary to popular belief, so are Mondays. Breath. Take a sip of your coffee. No matter what is happening right now, the fact that we are here to experience it means we are a lot more blessed than others. I mean, it’s called the present for a reason, right?