Category: Services

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…

Tasteless Requests

Another gang shooting and another high school kid is dead. He had just moved here two months ago. I’m climbing the stairs of the large apartment complex and a teenage boy dressed in gang colors shoves ahead of me, carrying two candles. When I reach the apartment, he is there. He’s the kid’s younger brother….

From the Cradle to the Grave

Or, in my case, from the removal/place of death to the grave. This is how I prefer to take care of my families. Rather than having someone to get the body, someone to meet with the family, someone to greet and seat them (before pitching pre-paid funeral plans), someone to embalm the body, someone to…

Immediate Family Only

Once again: embalming is not required for viewing. Funeral homes are required to tell you this, in writing and when you meet with them. However, each funeral home or other facility can set their own policies when it comes to viewing of an unembalmed body, and most will restrict viewing to immediate family only. Although…

Worse Than The Screams

The silence.

I Have Seen What Strength Is

John drowned at the age of 14, but was rescued in time to be taken to the hospital and kept alive on life support. I learned he did not want to be kept alive by artificial means, and I learned this because he told me so.   I talk to the dead all the time….

Sometimes They Fight

“All of you. Outside, now. This will not happen here. You won’t be the first family I’ve thrown out in the middle of a service for not knowing how to act.” I physically removed six fighting people from the funeral home, as in, I stood chest-to-chest with them and pushed them out the front door…

When To Break The Rules

I have a canned speech I give over the phone to people when they explain that what I’m doing isn’t right – usually regarding cremation arrangements. By law, if a person’s children are making the final arrangements, they need to be in agreement on choosing cremation, since of course it is irreversible. So, all surviving…