The family business

Day 30

From “Living and Dying” the book

Perhaps one of the most important elements the funeral professional brings to a grieving family’s world at the time of a death is “normalcy.” I live in a world where I am constantly reminded that we all die. In fact, I get that call every day. When it is your turn to call, you need that personal and emotional connection with normalcy. You need someone who has been there to listen and advise you as you navigate a journey you’ve possibly never experienced. You need someone who is comfortable with the death experience that brings a strong presence and calm to an otherwise anxious and often unfamiliar time. You need someone who has asked themselves the hard questions, and who sees death as a normal part of life.

What I mean by that is that with life comes death; it is a normal evolution of what happens to us. We have no control over the length of time we’re here, and we need to realize that there will come a time when what we know to be true today will be different tomorrow.

When that moment comes, you need us because we all need to feel safe, loved, and cared for. We need someone that can help coordinate the simpler daily activities you will be struggling with, someone who can help with logistics and scheduling. We need someone who has experience and knows what works and what does not work, and can communicate that. We need a trusted guide, someone who sincerely wants your family to experience a journey of healing, and we need someone who cares and wants to be there. When dealing with loss, there is an element of discomfort.

I see our role as one of responsibility first and empathy second. What I mean by that is that it is my responsibility to share with you my knowledge in the healing journey before you, and to help you craft an experience to your individual needs. I can only hope you don’t deny your feelings or abuse your connections with family and community. In addition to everything else I have mentioned here, it’s incumbent on me to be a good communicator and counselor. I need to be able to walk you down a path where you feel safe and secure, and I need to set that stage in a few hours.

The old way of funeral directing has changed. We are being called to perform superhuman functions in a time of distress and questioning. We are being required to develop new paradigms as the old ones no longer work. We are a profession reinventing itself, re-connecting to a new normal. Not an enviable task but one demanded of us. Those who are successful will remain in this time honored profession. Those who do not will be gone.

“Blessings on your journey”

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