little miss funeral

an average girl working at your not so average job

Tag: funeral director

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!

tyler-fraser-small  little-miss-funeral-img

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

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.

___________________________________________________

 

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.

 

___________________________________________________

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?

What To Do On A Job Interview (At A Funeral Home)

Hi everyone! I’ve been so bad about sharing my YouTube videos on my blog, so I’m going to try to post a few of them every other day until I’m caught up. Or at least post them until I get busy with work and forget!

The next one that I want to share involves a little story of my first job interview (that kind of wasn’t a job interview) and some suggestions that I have for those who are looking to work in a funeral home. I hope you enjoy it.

On reminding myself to breathe.

It’s happening again.

I’m feeling myself tumble-down that rabbit hole just like Alice.

One thing, that I want to state before I go further, is that I love my job. I really and truly love being a funeral director. But I would be lying if I said it was easy.

The funeral home where I’m currently employed does quite a lot of calls every year. In fact, when I tell people the amount of calls we do, they’re often taken aback. It’s a small building with two funeral directors, one full-time assistant, a trade guy, and part-time help that I can count on one hand. It doesn’t make sense, how everything can get done. But it does, and we do a damn good job.

It’s a joke, it really is, that anytime the owner goes on vacation, everyone in my town dies. This past week and a half was no exception. Ten death calls in ten days. Seven full funerals (visitations, church services, burials). One cremation with a memorial service. Two direct cremations. And I was the only funeral director in the building.

I find myself conflicted emotionally during these times. In one way, I crave these challenges. I drown myself completely with work and the families that I serve because I love proving to myself that I can do it all and do it well. I get a high off of this. Instead of cracking under the pressure I push myself harder to be a better funeral director. My organization was so spot on and communication with my assistant so clear that these services could not have run smoother. I’m proud of myself.

But in the same breath, I only have so much inside of me that I can give. Today was the last burial. The phone hasn’t rung. And now that I’m coming down from my high, I’m tired.

Compassion fatigue is a real thing. And now, it’s almost eleven at night on a Saturday and I’m feeling the pull. I’m feeling myself slipping because I haven’t had a break and for a moment, I’ve forgotten how to take care of myself. I know the steps. I know what I have to do. But when you’ve fallen down that rabbit hole in the past, the route can be just a little too familiar.

So I wanted to write this down, to remind myself that I’m human. Sometimes, I do an exceptional job being a funeral director. And sometimes, I let all the bad stuff choke me. I have to talk about it, because it’s not bad that I’m feeling these emotions. It would be bad if I didn’t share these things and hid them away all to myself. There are resources to help me and people who care about me. This is just a little bump in my journey, not my destination.

Dogs In Funeral Homes

Hi everyone, remember me?

I know that I’ve been terrible at blogging this year. I’ve had a lot of personal things going on that I’ll be able to talk more about in a few months, but to say the least, I’ve been busy. I have been able to somewhat keep up with my YouTube channel (not completely, but much better than I have been with writing.) So below, you can watch a video where I talk about dogs in funeral homes, but more importantly, where my dog Lindy Ruff makes a special guest appearance.

Having a dog helps my mental state tremendously. Lindy is 45 pounds of pure snuggle and love when I come home from work and he immediately lifts my mood. I hope you like the video and don’t worry, I promise I’ll be posting more on here soon!

 

(Also if you want more videos on grief therapy dogs and their training you can check out this video from TalkDeath and The Modern Mortician)