Category: Personal Stories

What Might Stop It

Every morning, my dad would drive me to the bus stop and we sat in silence, in the snow and the 22-hour darkness, waiting. I used to wonder why he couldn’t just drive me to school; the time would be the same. Maybe he hated the drive and was half-asleep every morning. We were listening…


It’s His Birthday

I don’t even have the case for sure and already I’m wondering about using that auditorium I used for my car wreck family that had 500 guests, because this one will have far, far more. Should I put all the kids in one casket or one of the babies with Mom? How many hearses? Last…


What $200 Got This Family

Teen motorcycle wreck found by his mom. He has to look perfect. I rebuilt features. There was a drill used. I sank fifteen hours into him, told the director if my fee was an issue I would donate my time, and he looks…well, you know, amazing. One for the personal pride log. I should be…


To See What It Felt Like

Yesterday started with me getting punched in the face, and ended with me doing a removal after sitting in dog pee. And with that, jaundiced bodies tend to be very difficult cases. Short version: jaundice is produced by a chemical known as bilirubin, which stains the skin a bright yellow. Formaldehyde + bilirubin = biliverdin…


What The Bullet Will Do

An athletic body, a bored look on her face, and a gaping hole in the very center of her chest where she shot herself with a handgun. No embalming, service was on a Saturday and the cemetery guys complained about it. I asked if she was Jewish because the family wanted the least expensive casket…


Three Teeth

Some people never realize, until they reach adulthood, just how poor they were as kids. When I was a kid I thought I got plain noodles every night because I was lucky. I didn’t know that was all we could afford. We sure couldn’t afford dentistry, so it was a huge deal when I chipped…


Our Own Personal Limitations

When I first started on the job, I practiced the way far too many interns do – handling the body too softly, as though it were a newborn baby. It is natural to work with great care when tasked with such an important job, but sometimes, you have to be forceful. Embalming is not a…


Have You Ever Seen A Ghost?

I have not. I used to feel cheated. So many people tell me of their experiences with the ghostly underworld, and they’re just regular people with regular lives. I see and touch death every day and the ghosts apparently don’t want to stop by. But one of those regular people said it best: do I…


Making Amends

I find myself yet again in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. I’m not really “like them” – we all say – I am more of a binge drinker than a chronic alcoholic. A couple of times a year, I might go on a big binge, and everything will go horribly wrong for some reason. Then…


101 Things

In the manner of another blogger I follow, Caleb Wilde, here are 101 things I have done as a funeral director. 1. Dressed a body in one of my own suits when she had no clothes 2. Put one of my own cashmere scarves on a body to cover an incision 3. Worked a whole…